In honour of Palace's rave-ready Umbro collab, we take a deep dive into how electronic music continues to influence Britain's foremost streetwear brand.

Palace reigniting their collaboration with Umbro? Streetwear is so back. Joining the dots between sportswear and rave culture, the collection evokes all that we’re nostalgic for about the ‘90s. From Beckham’s curtained bangs to early Barclays Premier League and field parties to pumping house music. Look a bit closer, and the range of footy jerseys rework a flyer from the now defunct club night, DREAMSCAPE, which took place at legendary Milton Keynes venue Sanctuary and helped solidify hardcore’s place on British dancefloors.  


For someone like me, who was born years after these moments of hedonistic history, Palace’s collections are a frequent reminder of the indelible mark electronic subgenres and their havens have left on our country’s musical landscape. Tapping scenes that straddle between jungle, acid house, UKG and grime, the brand’s infatuation with the dancefloor is what sets it apart from others. You can keep your baseball caps, Aimé Leon Dore, and as for those Supreme Jordan collabs you have on your feet? We don’t want anything to do with them. We’ll take a truly authentic, superbly English link-up like this one any day of the week. Palace and Umbro go together like tea and biscuits, and this certainly won’t be the last time the London skaters dunk their garms in rave references. 

Some of Palace’s earliest work nods to the moment house music reached Britain’s shores in the late ’80s. DJs originally relied on imports from Chicago, Detroit and NYC to hold down their four-to-the-floor sets and create the profound moments of euphoria we hear about so often. Paying homage to Rockin’ House Records, an early Chicago house label led by dance music pioneer, Rodney Bakerr, a now incredibly rare piece flipped their logo into the ‘Rockin’ Palace’ t-shirt: an early sign of the tongue-in-cheek spirit we’ve seen throughout skate company’s reign. Anyone who tapped into the Lev Tanju-founded label early on won’t have seen this as such a surprise. Their VHS-informed skate videos were already littered with deep cuts from Detroit icons like Theo Parrish, and Omar S.

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that OG Palace Pro skater Rory Milanes is an absolute vinyl head. With a reputation that precedes him on the board, he’s not too bad behind the decks either, playing out in clubs across London. Mixing classics from Moodymann and Marcellus Pittman, his 30-minute mix for Benji B’s radio show a few years back meanders through the origins of Detroit house and techno, cherry-picking tracks from his extensive record collection. You may have even caught him cutting shapes at Houghton last year, hitting up the festival as a punter in a full Palace look. 


Roll back the years, to simpler times when a box logo or tri-ferg hoodie were the markers of streetwear status, and one of the first major collaborations Palace scored was with Umbro. Inspired by Italia ‘90, the collection featured reworkings of a truly iconic England football top. A boozy pub video accompanied the release, rounding up skaters like Rory, Lucien Clarke and Chewy Canon to sink lagers, play darts and have it off to London DJ/producer Joy Orbison while his genre-spanning single, ‘Ellipsis’ rings around the room. 

Chasing the highs of that collab, Palace’s preceding collections have incorporated psychedelic prints, trippy motifs and baggy fits aplenty. Tees covered in Mitsubishi ecstasy pills, smiley faces and slogans like ‘Can You Feel It?’, which references Mr. Fingers’ pioneering house single of the same name, feel like just the tip of the iceberg when you consider lookbook styles of the past. Moschino and Versace-inspired two-pieces and loafers akin to Gucci are a mainstay in their collections, celebrating all that came with UK garage music in the early ’00s. Meanwhile, the brand’s Summer ‘21 collection evoked the beatnik and hippie movement that impassioned the Second Summer of Love: a late-’80s phenomenon where acid house catalysed unlicensed rave parties across the country. Knitted striped bucket hats and peace sign hoodies? You can almost hear the whistles, thumping 4/4 and feint cries of ‘Mad fer it’ ringing throughout the warmer months of ‘88. 

It’s fitting then that Palace went on to collaborate with Happy Mondays, bringing Bez and Sean Rider on board for a capsule collection. The Salford baggy band were a fixture of Manchester’s rave scene as punters before they’d even started to make their funk-house and psychedelic-influenced indie rock. Evoking the pills, thrills and belly aches of the famous Hacienda night club, Madchester’s most loved personified Palace’s knack for leftfield collabs.

Few brands personify the logo-obsessed nature of ‘90s clubbing than Evisu. The Japanese jeanswear brand was adopted by garage and DnB scenes of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, its seagull print becoming a striking status symbol among fashion-savvy youth. The more denim pockets and scrawled logos, the better. Palace have paid homage to the era through numerous collabs, recruiting legends like the late, great MC Skibadee and grime pioneer D Double E as well as rising DJs like Anz for a series of irony-filled promotional videos. And who could forget the Moschino capsule? The print-heavy garms paid homage to the Italian brand and its place in the hearts of champagne bottle-popping Britons and UKG lovers alike. 


While free parties and underground raves may seem like a fleeting moment of British culture, their influence on the festival landscape appears to be everlasting. The community-like ethos that emerged during the ‘90s is effervescent in the legalised events of today, where people pull together, suspend real life and bond for a weekend of unhinged musical hedonism. Enduring four days of unpredictable weather forecasts and natural terrain calls for some seriously practical gear. Yes, you’ll find fairies, cowboys or people wearing nothing at all, but hidden in the shrubs of Britain’s forestland are a whole army of Gorpcore lovers aligning with the trend’s outerwear ethos.  

Arc’teryx jackets, Salomon trail runners, Oakley shades and head-to-toe Gore-Tex defines the look, which has been the takeaway of festival season for many years now. Palace have collaborated with all the aforementioned brands, putting their skater spin on hi-tech weatherproof wear.

Palace’s gear has become a fixture of festivals and clubland; the Tri-Ferg stands as a badge of honour for anyone engaged in electronic subcultures of present and past. From the petrol-powered house music of Detroit right through to the heady hysteria of acid house parties and the licensed events of today, you’ll find it hard to avoid the italicised Helvetica logos that have adorned their pieces since 2009 in any space playing pumping electronic music today.


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