The 29th annual Burning Man festival held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada has just concluded in spectacular fashion. This year there were an estimated 70,000 participants from across the globe, each wanting to experience this once-in-a-lifetime combination of culture and art.
In 2004, Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey proposed the ethos of the Burning Man festival. To achieve this, Harvey compiled the following 10 main principals which I’ve depicted via imagery. This possibly explains a rationale as to why the Burning Man festival continues to grow each year.
“Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.”
“Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.”
“In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.”
“Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.”
“Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.”
“Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.”
“We value civil society. Community members who organise events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.”
Leaving No Trace
“Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.”
“Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.”
“Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.”
For outsiders who have only seen imagery of amazing artwork and the happy faces of the temporary residents of Black Rock, who knew such a deep philosophy was at the heart of the festivities? I sure didn’t, but I can see the attraction. Obviously next year’s 30th annual Burning Man festival will certainly be something to keep an eye out for.
Images via businessinsider.com, allnewshd.tk, theatlantic.com, ignitechannel.com, eventerprise.com, alexinwanderland.com.
Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.
Names and roles
Marie Cruz and Sarah Gonsalves, owners of The Style Co.
Tell us about The Style Co. How did it come about and what makes it unique to others?
The Style Co. was born from Marie’s frustrations over the lack of unique options to customise the design and feel of her own wedding. This belief that every event whether it be an wedding or private event, should be customised to make people feel something, is the oxygen that fuels our super talented team of twelve to continuously show clients that thinking outside the box is the only way to execute an event.
When did you both discover your talent? Where you always creative bodies?
Marie: I’ve always been creative, from making jewellery right through to designing stationery, so event design was a natural progression and one that only become my serious career path after years of working as travel agent left me feeling uninspired and hungry to start my own business.
Sarah: I was lulled into the world of events whilst completing an internship at a creative agency. It was here that I fell in love how styling could significantly impact people’s experiences and I knew that finally I had found my calling.
You create beautiful custom events that continually push the boundaries, do you ever feel the pressure to continually design, create and impress?
We love the challenge of continuously thinking outside the box and designing something that is innovative, fresh and experiential. We don’t feel any pressure externally, it’s more so an internal drive within our team, that sees us always reaching for bigger and brighter ideas that we know will create lifelong memories for our clients and their guests.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from so many amazing places, particularly from this amazing city – Melbourne! We’re obsessed with architecture, interiors, fashion, travelling and soaking up the millions of beautiful images we see on blogs and Pinterest.
The Style Co is now in its fifth year of operation, congratulations! What were the initial stumbling blocks and how have you overcome them?
The finance side of the business. Day to day cashflow was difficult to manage at the beginning. It’s not something that comes easily to a lot of creatives and also something you don’t think about when starting a creative business. Not being able to pay myself an income the first few months also meant that I took a hit personally and had to juggle bills and a mortgage.
What are your goals for the future and the future of The Style Co.?
To continue pushing the boundaries and showing people the possibilities when designing events. We also have our eyes set on doing a few events overseas and workshops.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in the same career path as yourself?
Get as much experience as possible. If it means putting your hand up for free work, do it. And work hard! Call the people in the industry that inspire you and ask them what they look for when hiring. Each business is looking for something different.. but something we all have in common is that we’re all looking for the hardest working and most eager to learn.
Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. What does a work day for you involve? Particularly if you were planning or the day of an event!
The designing and planning of an event can sometimes be more hectic than event day itself.. but there really is no typical day..
6:45am: Hit snooze on the old alarm
7am: Wake up, get ready and pack Harrison’s things
8am: Wake Harrison up, feed him and get him ready (pray to God I don’t have a screaming baby on my hands)
8.45am: Head to work with baby on board
9am: Have breakfast and check my emails
9.30am: Daily team meeting to discuss the week ahead
10am-6pm: Is generally filled with site visits, concept meetings, supplier meetings, sourcing, workshop and marketing planning all while juggling Harrison feeding routine.
6pm to 7pm: Client meetings where the team present our latest concepts
7.30pm: Put Harrison to bed, have dinner and catch up on daily gossip with hubby or watch the next episode of whatever series I happen to be obsessed with at the time
10pm: Respond to emails and troll the Internet for design inspiration or check out and obsess over unrealistic holiday destinations that I can’t take a baby to (sad face).
11:30pm: Hit the sack and hope that bub sleeps through the night.
6am: Alarm goes off. Denial sets in…….snooze!
6:15am: Alarm goes off again!!! Get up & shower relunctantly. Throw on some (hopefully clean) gym gear, grab a change of clothes and head out the door.
6:30am: Drive to Pilates listening to Triple J.On the way I’m brainwashing myself by repeating the mantra ‘exercise is a good thing’
7am: Pilates with some of my fellow Style Co. team members
7:45am: Pull my broken body off the reformer bed and hit the showers.
8:30am: Back in the car heading to the studio.
8:45am: Arrive at studio, make brekky whilst gossiping about the night before’s Bachelor episode. #welovebachie
9am: Sit down and map out my day and prioritising my tasks.
9:30am: Daily Meeting with the team to get a run down of everyone’s top priorities.
10:00am – 6:00pm: A standard ‘work’ day consists of lengthy phone calls with overwhelmed brides, site inspections, new client appointments, management meetings, design presentations, catching up on my fav blogs and daydreaming on Pinterest.
6:30pm: Switch into girlfriend mode (Damien my boyfriend also works at The Style Co.) and we head out for a bite to eat choosing from a Broadsheet wishlist he’s enthusiastically created over the weekend.
9:30pm: Get home, shower, read a chapter of whatever happens to be resting on my bedside table.
10:30pm: Bedtime. *High-five* Damien for remembering to turn the electric blankets on!
Images via The Style Co.
Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and Role
Sharon Melhem, director and founder of Kouture Productions
Tell us a bit about what you do? What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?
I am an experienced strategist within the events and marketing profession, with extensive global/local experience in medium sized businesses and large corporates. This background has created the foundation of my current role as the Director and Founder of Kouture Productions. I am heavily involved within every aspect of the business and therefore no two days are alike. I could be in a boardroom meeting discussing sponsorship opportunities and how they can increase their brand awareness within the event space to a trendy café environment discussing the PR strategy with my PR agency. This dynamic and multi-tasking approach to my working life is what I love the most about what I do.
When did you realise this was what you wanted to do as a career?
I have always had an interest in marketing and events. I developed a passion for it within my 3 unit business studies class back in high school. This deadline and results driven environment is extremely rewarding esp. when you witness positive growth and you are able to help others achieve their business goals. I truly believe you need to love and enjoy what you do then you won’t work another day in your life.
As well as being the director and founder of Kouture Productions you also have started some wonderful initiatives including for the Make-A-Wish Foundation their annual Shine and Dine Gala. What drove you to carry out such an enormous task?
I had an opportunity to work with a client who is a notable multinational personality within the not for profit sector, that is when I realised that my experience and skills could be utilised to add value and benefit not only corporates/businesses but to charitable organisations. This had opened my eyes to the power of being able to make a difference to people’s lives and that the gift of giving back is the most rewarding. Reading the Make A Wish children’s journeys and their wishes just melted my heart. I felt instantly that I needed to help support Make A Wish Australia grant more of these wishes more frequently.
At The Annual Shine and Dine we have a wish child attend and we announce that their wish will be granted. This magical moment when you witness the happiness and joy of this child’s reaction to the news is extremely moving and makes all the stress, pressure and financial risks involved of this enormous task worthwhile.
How do you plan to continue, grow and improve initiatives such as this?
Make a Wish Australia and Shine and Dine have achieved so much together already. Not only with raising much needed funds but the awareness of their magical wish granting cause. I plan to continue this through growing the awareness dramatically and corporate partnerships involved year on year. This would see the Annual Shine and Dine grow interstate and/or internationally. I am currently within the planning stage of a second event to occur in the second half of the year which won’t be in a gala setting but will still have the same level of extravagance and positive impact.
What were the initial stumbling blocks and how did you overcome these?
The initial stumbling block was fear. The fear of making the wrong decisions, not achieving what I set out to achieve and most of all the fear of failure. Fear is a major contributing factor why some great business ideas don’t get off the ground or why some women don’t set out to make their dreams into reality which is extremely unfortunate. The only way I pushed past this stumbling block was to do conduct my research, put a business plan together and minimise costs as much as possible. There is so much truth behind the famous quote; if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Did you have a mentor or somebody who drove you to excel in your career?
My parents. They were migrants back in the 70’s with only a suitcase to their name and I grew up watching them both owning numerous small businesses and working extremely hard to ensure we were given a better start in life than they did. At first, I hated the fact that I was unlike any of the other kids within my year, my school holidays, every weekend – as well as when I came back home from school – involved helping my parents with odd jobs within the business. But now, I cannot thank them enough for giving me a good work ethic and I don’t fear hard work but actually thrive off it. They have been so supportive of my career from the get go and always reminding me that I am capable of achieving beyond my own expectations.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My parents of course but I also find it from the people I meet and who have supported me on this journey. For example, Tarick and Zena Kaddour from House of K’dor have been The Annual Shine and Dine sponsors from the initial event in 2013. Their drive, unconditional encouragement and support, generosity towards charity and even their own successes is not only an inspiration to myself but moves me that there are people in the world that possess such admirable qualities. I have to say I am blessed to have the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most amazing people.
What are your goals for the future and the future of Kouture Productions?
Kouture Productions plans to grow its portfolio and its team over the next 3-5 years. We are also looking into diversify across other industries within the event space.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
I would tell them that it is imperative that they conduction their research and develop a plan. That they need to surround themselves both personally and professionally with people who have the same if not more work ethics, strengths in areas that you lack and a positivity outlook in life.
The Annual Shine and Dine Gala in support of the Make a Wish Foundation will be held 5th June. For more information or to purchase tickets to the evening head to: www.shineanddine.com.au
Stance Socks recently held an exclusive preview of their new collection at Bondi Harvest last week, with a live art installation from one of their muses, Rose Ashton and showcased the entire new range, paying homage to Punks and Poets in style.
Bloggers and celebrities on the day included Mimi Elashiry, Kate Peck, Dena Kaplan, Joelle and Prinnie Stevens.
Punks and Poets are our free thinkers, our innovators, our models, designers, artists and rebels from all walks of life. They inspire us with their quirks, style, evolving passions, motivating us to think with a more inventive state of mind.
They don’t just push the boundary between ordinary and extraordinary, exceptional and conventional, bold and been done, they obliterate it. We are united by our unique vision, and tied together by The UNCOMMON Thread.
Guests were treated to goodie bags featuring unique sock designs, nail-art by exclusive designers, and even some delicious drinks and nibbles by the boys at Bondi Harvest.
Images via Life Without Andy
From the cool to the questionable – the ARIAs red carpet saw some dramatic hits and misses this year.
Back in black, Delta Goodrem scored a definite hit with her stunning Steven Khalil gown. Cutting a killer figure in her fitted bodice with cascading train, Delta stylishly led the trend of the night in mixing sheer with bold body-con elements.
Lisa and Jess Origlasso aka the Veronicas looked striking in J’Aton Couture. With all of the beautiful beading and intricate detailing to their outfits, the twins looked sexy yet sophisticated.
Monty Cox looked flawless wearing the vibrant Souls in Motion dress by Alice McCall. The interesting print was so well styled with slicked down locks and elegant drop down earrings.
Renowned for her fun red carpet choices, Katy Perry’s arrival was eagerly anticipated. To her credit she opted to support an Australian designer, Jaime Lee Major. The heavily embellished cropped top and skirt reportedly took over 400 hours to make! I’m digging the dark lip, but I’m not wild about the retro headscarf.
I was left feeling underwhelmed (and disorientated) by Kate Peck’s and Charli XCX’s red carpet form.
But who could compare with dynamic duo Alex Dyson and Matt Okine channeling SIA and Chet Faker?! Best dressed every time!
With a background in publishing, Allison Voight has written for numerous local and international fashion magazines. She also has her own style blog, StylistaSister. She is Creative Director at Voight Photography and Design, which she co-owns with her photographer husband. Their work has appeared in publications including Vogue Australia, Cielo, Elle, En Vie and Fashion TV. Catch her on Instagram at @stylistasister
Coffee, flowers and subtle romantic gestures hold a special place in the hearts of Australian women, a new survey has revealed. It also highlighted the fact that four out of five females actually preferred these ‘everyday’ romantic gestures compared to big, one-off acts of affection.
The results also confirmed that European men still hold the lead in the romance stakes, with 68 per cent of Australian women rating them the most romantic nationality.
With subtle romance the order of the day, Australian men may find themselves looking to their European counterparts for advice. Hailing from Europe and in Australia to share his expert advice on romance and fantasy is Marco, the hero of the new Moccona campaign, “Wake Up To Something Special”.
“Being romantic doesn’t have to mean big acts, what’s more important are smaller, everyday gestures. Showing you know your partner, like how they take their coffee in the morning, and actually making it for them is a small thing, but it’s personal and thoughtful so it makes it more meaningful,” he said.
Coffee may not seem like the most romantic of drinks, especially when compared to a vodka martini, but a fifth of the women surveyed rated their partner bringing them their coffee to drink in bed as highly romantic, as it allowed them to savour the moment.
“The link between coffee and romance is in the idea of knowing just how your partner likes their coffee, and delivering them their perfect cup to start the day,” Marco said.
When it comes to the epitome of the modern-day fairytale, Australian women who voted in a poll on the Moccona Facebook page said that given the choice, Hugh Jackman and Simon Baker would top their list of Aussie men that they would love to serve their morning Moccona coffee.