Is it a festival? Not exactly. Burning Man is a community, it is a movement. Held in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, it’s a global cultural movement where a temporary city is built around this concept. There are no entertainments, no corporate sponsorship, nothing of the sort. It’s a ‘de-commodified’ space that values who you are and not what you have. It’s a place where you can collaborate, be inclusive, be creative and clean up after yourself. First held in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco as a small function organised by Larry Harvey and Jerry James who built the first “Man” (an 8-ft high wooden model), it is held annually spanning a period from last Sunday in August to first Monday in September. The event takes its name from its culmination, the symbolic ritual burning of a large wooden effigy of the Man, which traditionally takes place on the Saturday evening of the event.
This concept is based on the following principles. Radical inclusion, meaning welcoming and respecting any stranger. Gifting and de-commodification, wherein the spirit of gifting is kept up by creating social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorship, transactions or advertisement. Radical self-reliance and radical self-expression that encourages the individual to discover their inner resources
and express the unique gifts of an individual. Communal effort, by way of creative cooperation and collaboration. Civil responsibilities for public welfare, by cleaning up after themselves as a tribute to the environment. Participation, where it is deeply personal. And last, immediacy, where one seeks to overcome barriers that stand between humans.
If you have to dress up for this event, best go extravagant. It’s an experimental festival with radical self-expression being one of the key principles. Be it neon wigs, big bird wigs or even understated clothing for that matter (as that’s also a statement) can be a good way to start. Or, you can go the sundress and faux fur jackets way. Plus, don’t forget the basics like sunglasses, sunscreen and water bottle. Don’t forget the Native American throws as cover-ups, as its necessary. As for the accessories, carry your hat and a shawl or poncho (as it gets cold in the night) and whatever outrageous jewelry you have in your wardrobe. Speaking of celeb style, Cara Delevingne wore a slouchy Tracy bottom and a crop top with Timberland boots. Katy Perry
went for a bug-meets batwing costume and Poppy Delevingne was snapped in statement silver. But there are a few no-no’s regarding the costumes. Glitter and sequins are frowned upon. Also, feathers are a matter of controversy, best avoid it.
Whatever be your clothes don’t forget to be yourself and express yourself and your freedom in a responsible manner. Go to beverlyheels.com to select your costume for the Burning Man.