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Fashion | Brand Focus: etha ravewear

In this month's brand focus, DJ Mag speaks with Freddie Herring about his Leeds-based, club-inspired apparel line: etha ravewear

Every raver has a story about how they found their place on the dancefloor. Leeds-based Freddie Herring, who runs rave-inspired apparel brand Etha Ravewear, found his through a nostalgia-tinged lens, exploring the free parties and warehouse raves around the northern city. “I was introduced to jungle and drum & bass, and the free party scene, courtesy of my friends’ older brothers,” he says. “I started looking into it and was fascinated by rave flyers and fashion from the early ‘90s. I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era, and my vision for Etha was to pay homage to the beginnings of the UK rave scene.”

Herring jumped in at the deep end and founded Etha Ravewear in 2019, inspired simply by the rave scene he’d not only discovered first hand, but had spent time heavily researching. With no previous experience in the fashion industry, and informed solely by his own research, the first drops from Etha saw some production issues which, at the time, Herring says, “felt like a major setback”.

The trial and error of Etha’s first launch saw Herring make a huge change — and also an early investment — by bringing the production in-house. Taking inspiration from punk culture and a DIY approach to design, Herring started rebuilding Etha from scratch. “I invested in the screen printing and embroidery equipment and learnt how to do everything myself,” he says. “Taking that approach gave us the freedom to express ourselves with the brand, and I've found it so rewarding to be able to create a design and watch it come to life.”

The garments and accessories on offer at Etha are a wash of neon colours and bold prints, and designed with the practicality needed for a dancefloor. Inspired by everything from vintage rave flyers and sci-fi novels to club-nights and house records, Herring’s use of colour when designing is brought to life by imagining sounds and ideas as colour palettes. “It’s my favourite part of the whole process,” he says, “it’s the most essential part for me when I’m coming up with new concepts.

“If I hear a sample or a vocal chop and it gets stuck in my head, I see if I can depict it and turn it into a concept for a new product or collection. I enjoy pushing the boundaries and using bold colour choices to turn heads on the dancefloor.”

Another foundation embedded early in Etha’s brand core is community. After spending time volunteering for a number of community projects, Herring wanted to ensure that Etha would give back to the community it was inspired by and designed for. Etha has used its platforms to support up and coming artists, primarily hosting a guest mix series on the Etha Ravewear Soundcloud page that has over 20,000 listens to date. 

Continuing with support of its community at the forefront, Etha’s pipeline plans include launching a label, and planning a club event series with new talent alongside headline DJs. “The brand has remained ingrained in music culture since its inception,” Herring says. “It would be a dream to work with some of our favourite DJs and producers.”

In terms of developing Etha’s products and offerings, 2021 looks set to see a number of launches and new ideas brought to life. The brand will be exploring cut and sew, with an aim to deliver bespoke collections —  from full outfits right down to accessories — and customising garments, while striving to remain sustainable too. Etha’s packaging is fully recyclable, and Herring is keen to look into using organically-produced blanks and eco-friendly inks as the brand expands. 

“We’re currently planning our biggest drop to date for our Autumn collection,” Herring shares, “featuring new graphics, more embroidery pieces and some accessories we feel every DJ and raver will need. We’re also working on Etha’s first cut and sew item that we feel is going to take the brand to the next level.”

Shope here:

Want more? Check out our recent brand focus features with Scotland's Postal and Liverpool brand, No Mind Collective

Amy Fielding is DJ Mag's digital staff writer and fashion editor. Follow her on twitter here @amebbbb