Sunday, January 06, 2008


As with so many things in the playa frame, what starts as a goof ultimately with practice grows into a conscious gesture.

Just as fire-art at Burning Man has evolved over the years from an anarchist hobby into a real discipline, so has fashion-art evolved as well.

The many glittery clothes creatures that skitter across the ginger-colored playa surface continue to undergo radical mutations.

Imitation plays no small part in the evolution of any art form. It was no coincidence say, that Paris of the 1880's produced such an abundance of "impressionists." In retrospect, we label it a "school," but in its time, it was a group of awake and talented individuals who upon seeing each other's work, couldn't help but compare what they saw to what they themselves were doing.

There is a rapid and subliminal conversation that goes on around art which makes it difficult to escape the influence of the milieu in which it exists. Burning Man gives artists a chance to view each other's work in the disordering and deep single-point perspective of the isolated Dali-esque frame, and to reflect upon what it is, how it was made and what "messages" it conveys. In the course of our annual visits, we learn not only to carry plenty of water, but also what kind of fabrics and building materials best hold up in the desert's rapidly changing micro-climates.

In the desert, everyone is a fashionista. It is after all something of an inalienable right, reducible to the power of one, to express and represent your self however you like.

But even beyond this broadly democratic cross-section of individuals, there stands the ever-evolving body of work of our "serious" clothing and costume designers who continually press hard against the boundaries of the possible.

It is rare to find any dedicated fashion designer who does not deserve to be called an "artist." That said, there exists quite a spectrum of variation along which that "body as art medium" might be displayed. 

Some of our local treasures are captured below in a compilation video (produced by Satsi & Mouse) of several 2007 BM-sponsored "Trashion Shows" that featured the entirely recycled (thus "trashion") designs of Bay Area designers Miss Velvet Cream and Estar, Bad Unkl Sista, Lucid Dawn, Domini and Patchwerk Press (Field Day & Remade In America)


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