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Fashion | Brand Focus: Acid87

In our penultimate brand focus of 2022, DJ Mag sits down with Liverpool-born Acid87 — the clothing brand paying homage to the UK’s gilded rave age

In 2019, Liverpool nightclub Garlands closed its doors for the final time, after 25 years as a clubbing mainstay in the city. It was here in the early ‘00s that Adam Wilson, one of the founders of clothing brand Acid87, and part of the team at Hï Ibiza and Ushuaïa’s The Night League group, experienced a cultural movement that would spur the launch of Acid87. “The police were on a crusade in the city at the time, putting crazy sanctions on clubs that had been there for generations,” Wilson says. “One of those sanctions was a drug amnesty box, which included a sign asking people to put anything they should have in the box.

"The sign above the box read ‘Put Drugs Here’ with an arrow pointing down, and while talking to the designer of the club, Nathan Parker, we decided it would be funny to change the direction on the arrow to pointing up, and add it to a T-shirt. We didn’t do that design in the end… but this led to the inception of Acid87.” 

Officially launched by Wilson and Parker in 2015, they’ve since brought in two new members to the team, Nick Ferguson and Craig Marston. The name of the brand, of course, takes inspiration from Phuture’s seminal ‘Acid Tracks’, released via Trax Records in 1987, and Acid87 has developed its connection with the rave ever since. “We have to give a lot of credit to Mark Archer of Altern8, who championed the brand early, even wearing our logo tee in his Boiler Room set,” Wilson says. “We’ve collaborated with Mark on a few more sell-out designs, and have also worked with Camelphat, Gorgon City and Denney.”

ACID87

The artwork and designs on the Acid87 garments, which are ethically sourced and produced with organic cotton, feature everything from simple logos printed on neutral colours, to bold, bright tees emblazoned with odes to LSD tab artwork and classic rave flyers. The brand also recently launched a collaboration with artist Pez, who was responsible for some of the best designs in the early ’90s for UK parties like Helter Skelter, World Dance and Biology. Acid87, like the movement it nods to, is also keen to make political statements. [Text Wrapping Break]“Our favourite designs are the ‘Hate Divides Music Unites’ or ‘F*ck Politics Just Dance’,” Wilson says. “Both were released at a time when things in the world made it feel like the messages needed to be said. And when you see people uniting as one on the dancefloor, where all hate and prejudice is left behind, it’s a beautiful thing.” 

Often spotted on ravers on the dancefloors of clubs from Ibiza to Berlin, Acid87 has also found fans among DJs, with the likes of Fatboy Slim, Richy Ahmed, Maya Jane Coles, Dubfire and Heidi all spotted in the brand. “All of our influences come from the early rave movement: the DJs, what people actually wore, lyrics, songs,” Wilson says, affirming the importance of the brand’s connection and influence within the music scene. “For Acid87, that was one of the most creative times in history. The rave scene helped shape so many aspects we enjoy today. There’s so much inspiration to draw from.”

As the Ibiza and global festival seasons wind to a close, and dark nights in the club draw in, Acid87 is readying to launch its winter collection in the coming weeks. Incoming at the start of November, the range will include a limited-edition piece, only available for five days via the Acid87 website. “There’s no grand vision with this,” Wilson says. “Just friends having fun.”

Amy Fielding is DJ Mag's digital staff writer and fashion editor