At the counterculture festival, which has lured 65,000 revelers to the Nevada desert this week, there are rules. And pecking orders.

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Glitter is a no-no. Sequins are frowned upon. Feathers were verboten, though they have still infiltrated in trims and turbans, to gnashing controversy.

The rules for costumes at the Burning Man festival, which began Sunday in the scorching desert of northern Nevada, are complex. Governed by a quasi-spiritual principle to leave no trace behind, festival organizers are committed to cleaning up every speck of party detritus from the sand — “Matter Out of Place” or MOOP, to use the festival’s term.

Shedding feather boas and stray sequins are a scourge of the playa, or desert basin, where the revelers — known as Burners — strut and frolic for eight days, while anticipation builds for the giant man-shaped bonfire that is the raison d’être of Burning Man.

Such restrictions have not stopped Burning Man from being one of the biggest modern costume shows for adults outside Halloween. Unicorn masks, head-to-toe bird-of-prey outfits, Mylar spacesuits, glow-in-the-dark disco gear — as the scene has grown in psychedelic outrageousness, so has the need among Burners for evermore inventive costumes.

“You are part of the art — the whole playa is an art scene,” said Donna Kaupp, 67, who is known as Uti and sells custom Burner accouterments, like winged goggles and leopard-print dust masks, from her store here, the Piedmont Boutique in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. “And your participation in it is — you’re also art.”

This year, holographic spandex onesies for men are big. For women, sparkling booty-shorts worn with nothing else are a perennial favorite. The perfect Burning Man costume, experts say, will be lightweight enough to keep the wearer happy in the desert sun, showy enough to turn heads and accommodating of such essentials as heavy boots and sunglasses.

“It has to be comfortable to wear in either the heat or the cold,” said Mary Hogue, who makes custom costumes with details like mesh armpits for ventilation at Praxis, a shop in the Mission district here. “And it needs to be comfortable for when you’re high — when people are tripping, it can’t feel weird.”

At Burning Man, participants escape from society and most of its demands (including cellphone reception), building art in the desert only to burn much of it down. Once a remote counterculture party, the event, nearly 30 years old, long ago relocated from San Francisco to a remote spot about three hours north of Reno, Nevada, where 65,000 attendees are expected this year. The festival ends on Labor Day (Sept. 7).

It now includes the Silicon Valley set and their trappings, as well as a simmering sense that it has sold its soul. Yet for the cottage industry that supplies its outlandish costumes, the influx means one thing: a bumper year for retailers of spandex and faux fur.

“It’s a place where you can do whatever you want and not feel like, ‘Why is that woman’s side of her head shaved?’ Or, ‘Why is that person’s hair blue?’ ” said Joe Carter, 35, a musician and a longtime Burner who favors his custom leather suits in the style of Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. “None of that matters up there. The societal norms melt away, and inhibitions melt away.”

The costuming has gone international. On Etsy, the online craft marketplace, a search for Burning Man calls up more than 28,000 items, including several from Moscow, like a “postapocalyptic men’s leather bracelet for $183.51,” and from Spain, like a $1,200 chrome corset with a flared collar that Lady Gaga might covet.

Online shops like Playa Cracks sell glowing clothing, embroidered with thin strips of LED wire, that is fashionable and practical: In the pitch black night, it is easy to get hit by a passing Art Car, one of the festival’s extravagantly altered vehicles in the shapes of dogs or boats. At Decades of Fashion, a vintage store on Haight Street, attendants stand like bouncers at the entrance of a special backroom packed with Vegas showgirl gowns and extravagant fur coats, admitting only people who utter a passwordlike phrase: I’m going to Burning Man.

Daniel Zeller, 31, who works in information technology and flew from Melbourne, Australia, for Burning Man, spent several hundred dollars on a slew of glitter onesies from Sea Dragon Studio, a company that specializes in Burning Man costumes. Last week, he was almost out the door to catch his flight, carrying more than 60 pounds of outfits in his luggage, when he remembered he should probably bring some street clothes — at least for the airport.

“Tutus are huge for men,” Zeller said. They are worn like kilts, with nothing underneath. “You want to get noticed. All the conversations stop, and people are like, ‘Wow.’ ”

As in any small community, there is a pecking order. Die-hard Burners sneer at those buying ready-to-wear costumes rather than embracing the spirit of “radical self-reliance” that is part of the event’s ethos and making something on their own. Women in feathered headdresses and bras are derided in online forums as “playa chickens.” Outrage flies through the Internet about any item that will flutter away or fall apart, adding extra chores to the postparty cleanup, or “MOOPing.”