What to Pack for Transformational Festivals: *Burning Man Survival List*

I've abandoned this blog while designing and putting into our next range, the Zingara Gang collection (Zingara - a traveling gypsy + Gang - a Balinese word for alley)  as I tried to convey the spirit of a new generation of travelers. Those who have abandoned the societal expectation of climbing the career ladder in pursuit of discovery - of the world, of themselves, of new tastes, sites, sounds, and borders.  Now that production is rolling, I'm packing up my bags in Bali and looking forward to the next cataclysmic experience - reuniting with my brilliant heart tribe on the powdered sugar sands of the Playa: Black Rock City, Nevada. Burning Man, break me open, light my ego in flames, and lets dance under the stars together. 

What to pack you ask?

Well, this is not a style guide, or a list of gear that might actually help you physically survive. . . Sorry (not sorry). This is my humble offering of an essential guide to squeezing the juice out of the Playa's lemons. 


1. A clean body: And I don't mean do a 14 day Master Cleanse and then head to the dessert! Cleanse, yes, but build strength and stamina. If you're flying in from another climate, take a couple days to acclimate, (I learned this the hard way). 

2. An open mind: And I don't just mean open eyes willing to watch anything. Like an open eyed meditation, try to prepare yourself to be completely present in the NOW without trying to assimilate anything into your preconceived notions or your future goals (i.e., What would my Mom think of this?! or I'm totally going to #hastag this moment when I find cell service).

3. Full Throttle Attitude: I'm bringing my Carpe-Every-Freaking-Moment attitude, which leaves me exhauuuusted at the end of the week but with a very full heart and cheeks that hurt from smiling so much. This may not be for everyone, but I do universally recommend the practice of intentional trajectory, setting intentions. Do you want to: experiment trying on new characters? Connect deeply with new people? Follow your intuition? Find inspiring art cars and art installations? Find Peace? Get really high?! Ha! As Joseph Campbell said, "Follow Your Bliss."

4. Gifts: Gifting used to be customary in every culture when arriving to a gathering, but in my opinion the economic oppression of our capitalist societies (especially in the Western world) have stomped this custom out for most younger generations. Your gift doesn't have to be material, it could be an experience like a song, a poem, a reflection. . . the most powerful moment of last year's Burn for me was a "transmission" a young woman had for me one morning on the dancefloor. Presence can be the best present of all. 

5. Things and Stuff: Oh ya... Am I supposed to be 'Fashion Blogging'? Sustainability. Sunrise to Sunset . . . to Sunrise again! (I like Organic Bamboo Cotton for the daytime to absorb sweat and stay fresh + Lambskin leather at night for a warm second skin). As if you couldn't tell. . . 



Leather is Forever

 Tales from Thrift Shopping

I was walking through Pasar Kodok, better known to Westerners as the Frog Market in Bali, the other day, one of the biggest second-hand markets I’ve ever seen. Macklemore came out on stage with a full length fur coat and sang his hit, Thrift Shop and it seems secondhand shopping became 'cool' again. Finally a pop-star singing about Re-using rather than continuing the consumerism of the fashion culture worldwide. Digging through barrels of old clothes may not be for every shopper, certainly not the ones allergic to dust or prone to heat stroke, but for the thrill-seekers there may be a slight adrenaline rush when you find that precious gem.

Ah, the rush of up-cycling! Screams my inner bohemian.

As I’m routing through bins of old motorcycle jackets, denim jeans, and flower printed dresses, I found my self slightly swooning over these well-loved pieces. Especially the leather, I held in my hands a leather jacket from 1954 and it still had the sexy leather smell and the shine of many memories well-lived. While my drive to design and create is often in conflict with my ethical conscience “Do we really need more STUFF on this planet?” – I had a righteous moment at this market. Leather IS forever! I’m holding in my hands this 61-year-old jacket that is still as good, or better in my opinion, as the day it was created. . . I see a young woman holding my pieces in her hands in some eccentric secondhand market in the future, wondering what fantastic memories took place within those seams.

This is the reason I've created Carpe Noctem with the highest quality lambskin leather, even though many business consultants have tried to convince me to use cheaper leather.

I don’t want you to buy into the insatiable culture of consumerism that screams, “More, More, More!” Instead,

I want you to have these pants, this jacket, or these gloves, forever. They will probably outlive you, and end up in a place like Bali at the Frog Market, the same way a message in a bottle washes up on the shore it was meant to all along.



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