Photos credit: Julie Zoney

This annual cultural event gets underway on August 30th, featuring large-form sculptures, performance pieces, decorative living spaces and of course – costumes.

Ornate outfits have become a huge part of the festival, with participants often lugging trunks full of fantastic items to mix and match. Bikini’s, body paint, tutus, masks, wigs, florals, fur and feathers are all represented. And while some pieces are purely aesthetic, others – like goggles – are a must have in the dusty desert.


Alternative shops stand out during music festival season as Vancouver residents descend in droves to get all the essentials. Deadly Couture is a hotbed for bright tutu skirts, strappy bodysuits and gothic getups. Neon wigs and pigmented makeup provide outlets for avant-garde expression. The boutique is a two-level playground of daring threads and costume adornments to entice, inspire and experiment with.

New World Designs caters to a similar aesthetic with pin-up dresses and plus-size boudoir lingerie. A spectrum of gothic, punk, fantasy and street fashion allows for many creative options for Burning Man and Halloween.

Free spirited personalities can rock bohemian staples embellished with tassels and cowrie shells. Anna Kosturova’s handmade crochet tops, bottoms and swimwear (left), and retro shades from Community Thrift & Vintage are coveted items for summer. Sturdy footwear is essential to toughing the sporadic dust storms. Step into playa terrain with cowboy, motorcycle or western boots, a range of styles are available at O.K. Boot Corral.

This year’s theme centers on a diverting spectacle of black magic that shifts into an old-fashioned carnival with masks, mazes and mirror illusions. A dividing line separating showmen from the public, the observed from the observers, will make a disappearing act.

The carnival theme encourages festivalgoers to recreate their own interpretations. Survive the desert heat by layering accessories over a multicolour monokini. Feather extensions and hair tattoos from Sugar Skull Studios completes the look with a flair of eccentricity. And, you can embrace the mirror of illusion theme with intricate masquerade masks found at New World Designs.


Photos credit: Julie Zoney

Close to 50,000 people are expected at this year’s event, and Gastown’s alternative boutiques will likely see an eager crowd pass through their doors.

Burning Man celebrates radical expression to the fullest. Each year highlights a new trend, but it’s all about showcasing your personality. Wear your spirit animal, play with colours & textures – the world of unconventional fashion is endless and Burning Man is just the beginning.