Business Insider Edition

The wildest costumes at Burning Man over the years

Rachel Askinasi , Business Insider US
 Oct 27, 2019, 08:49 AM
Anything is possible when it comes to Burning Man fashion.
Getty Images
  • When it's nearly 100 degrees at Burning Man, an annual, nine-day art event and temporary community in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, clothing tends to be limited, and oftentimes even optional.
  • But for those who do choose to wear clothing, Burning Man is all about the costumes.
  • Bikinis, body paint, tutus, masks, headdresses, wigs, floral crowns, and feathers - it's all there and often worn all at once.
  • Burners, as the festival-goers are known, pay no mind to global fashion trends at the yearly festival - the only branded style they're concerned with is their own.
  • Take a look at some of the wildest Burning Man fashion over the years.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

With a festival that's all about art and self expression, it's only natural that costumes have become a huge part of the Burning Man culture.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

It's not uncommon to see burners — as festival-goers are called — riding bikes around The Playa — the festival grounds — dressed in bunches of tule ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... or lots of feathers.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Feathers have a fairly strong presence at the festival.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Whether they're attached to clothing as an accent feature ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... used as wings ...


... worn as a crucial part of a costume ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... or worn as part of an elaborate headdress, you can't go a day at the festival without seeing some feathers.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some burners wear them on their heads while others wear them around their waists.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Headdresses are a popular accessory unto themselves, though.


Some headwear comes in the form of unicorn horns ...


... or deep-sea-diving helmets ...

Spencer Weiner/Contributor/Getty Images

... while others take the form of different animals like these twin, bird-shaped hair accessories.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some headwear takes on more of an EDM — electric dance music — festival vibe with colourful, mesh tubes ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... while others have more of a DIY feel.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Wigs are also a popular choice for Burning Man headwear.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

People even match them to their outfits.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Colourful hair, in general, is a big trend on The Playa.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Check out this black and white mohawk.

Hector Mata/Getty Images

Sometimes headwear is part of a full look like this ethereal outfit fully-equipped with wings ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... this wearable crate with dalmatian-patterned accessories ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... this springtime look with a watermelon top and shorts and a floral headband ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... this carrot-themed costume ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... this praying mantis ...

Hector Mata/Getty Images

... and this genie-themed outfit.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

You'll likely spot couples coordinating their costumes.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And these two are wearing matching wrap-around sunglasses and metallic necklaces.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Groups of friends also tend to dress in themes ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... like this regal-looking group ...

Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

... and that means sporting similar accessories, too.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Popular accessories include beautiful umbrellas ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... backpacks for carrying around water, snacks, or offerings for fellow burners ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... scarves — both for the look of them and to help block the dust during a storm ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... tutus ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... seriously, so many tutus ...

Jim Rankin/Contributor/Getty Images

... wide-brimmed hats ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... goggles to protect against the dust ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... and possibly the most ubiquitous of all accessories, bicycles.


Some festival-goers make their bikes look as funky as their costumes.


This red, devilish bike and costume is a full theme.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

As is this bike and cart decked out like a horse and chariot.

David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

But some are stand-alone works of art like this scorpion-themed bike.

Hector Mata/Getty Images

Some accessories aren't as explicit. We're not sure what this was meant to be, but it looks like a mythical sea creature.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

As do these guys.

Hector Mata/Getty Images

This woman is sporting horns, forehead jewelry, some sort of wig, and a white tank top.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

One big style trend at the festival is the absence of clothing.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

It's pretty common to see people without shirts or pants ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... and sometimes without anything at all.

Jim Rankin/Contributor/Getty Images

Some people wear full-face masks.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Check out this person who made themselves look like a dog.

David McNew/Getty Images

Others just choose to cover parts of their face.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

It can get so hot that burners can be seen wearing simply bathing suits and bra tops.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Swimwear is everywhere.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some add flair to their swimwear, like the furry additions seen below.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

One-piece bathing suits and bikinis alike, it's funny to see so many people in swimwear with no body of water in sight.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Although it's typically hot during the day, weather in the desert can be unpredictable. Some people choose to bundle up and wrap up in thick scarves.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

It's not unheard of for someone to be in a bathing suit while it's cold out, or a sweater while it's hot — that's the beauty of Burning Man.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And some people wear warm-weather clothes with cold-weather accessories all at once.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Regardless of the actual clothing items worn it's clear that plenty of burners believe the more color, the better ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

... tye-dye and kaleidoscopic patterns included.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

But not everyone feels the same way about colour. Some burners keep it all-white.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Even all-white feathers make appearances.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Face and body paint is also a big part of some costumes.

Mike Nelson/Getty Images

It is just another form of beautiful artwork, after all.

Rick Loomis/Contributor/Getty Images

This dripping candle theme is a true masterpiece.

Hector Mata/Getty Images

Regardless of what burners are wearing, the point is that it's their own personal style.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And like everything else at Burning Man — from the bikes to the art — even the costumes light up at night ...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

keeping the festival illuminated, even when the fire's burned out.

David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Aly Weisman and Sarah Schmalbruch contributed reporting on an earlier version of this article.

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

  • Indicators
  • JSE Indexes
14.66
-0,24%
19.24
0,07%
16.21
0,26%
$1,460.22
-1,04%
55282.53
0,92%
DAILY BUSINESS INSIDER UPDATE

Get the best of our site delivered to your inbox every day.

Sign Up