Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On the Road to Ouarzazate, Morocco

121713Pattern0162WebLet me direct your eye to a few key points.


Let’s start with the herringbone pants working off the checked sportscoat.


Let’s consider the knit beanie layered under the traditional Moroccan straw (cactus straw?) hat.


Let’s talk about the subtle black/white graphic patterned clothing contrasting with the boldly colored yellow shirt, green tie (hard to tell exactly), and orange knit.


Like yesterday’s gentleman, I have no idea how carefully these choices were made, but I don’t think this is just another happy accident.  After tomorrow’s post at 2pm you will have a tough time saying that the gentlemen in this random market, in a random town in Morocco aren’t capable of making their own stylistic choices.


Honestly, I was surprised at how many comments I got like this from Bogart:

“No Sart, he probably found that jacket on the same dump as where he found the rest of his outfit. Gimme a break will you! ”


But this was balanced by comments like this from Laura:

“I come from a developing country and I think it’s very silly to assume people who have less money or lead different lives from you live in tragedy every day of their lives. The Sartorialist is more respectful to the man by assuming that he is capable, like any human being, of enjoying what he wears and wanting to look nice even if he is going to work, than people claiming that a man who looks poorer than they is not only uninterested but almost incapable of enjoying beautiful things or of matching colours or looking at his clothes in the morning and deciding a particular combo looks nicer than another. Where do you think ethnic costumes or crafts come from then?? From a tragic life of having no time to have even a bit of fun? You show your ignorance by assuming that. People don’t have to lead your way of life to be happy sometimes. Go to a developing country and actually look at the people. I see nothing in this man’s face except seriousnesss and a bit of tiredness, which everybody feels sometimes.”


I think this blog is at its very best when we can all respectfully share our point of view and maybe learn something from one another. I think it’s very interesting to hear peoples’ view of what is poor and what is poverty.  To me, poor is just poor, but not sad or desperate. Everyone I shot in Morocco was just plain poor.  Poverty is different. I find poverty much harder to shoot so I don’t or rarely do.  Maybe when I go back to Morocco or other developing countries, I’ll ask the people I shoot if they consider themselves poor or suffering in poverty.  I think the gentleman in these images would say just plain poor and I find no shame in that.


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  1. Jose Reguera

    January 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Dear Sartorialist. In my opinion these gentlemen wear clothes from different origins: inherited clothes, some gifted, some purchased and others found anywhere. Given the context, my impression is that these men photographed have a natural talent for combining clothes, colors and patterns, but they probably do not consciously or for the same reasons that people usually do in other places as Paris, New York, etc. Why not try to ask them? :) Anyway these photographs are excellent and reflect dignity. Jose Reguera (Madrid, Spain)

    • andreea

      January 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      i don’t believe he spends a lot of time of styling his outfit. but that doesn’t make his choices less interesting than those of fashionable people. i like this focus on real people :)

    • Hannah

      January 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Surely this outfit wasn’t just thrown together, this chap looks smart, respectable, colourful and he makes Lacoste look WAY cool!

      • Wayde

        January 30, 2014 at 12:49 am

        My thoughts exactly. Never before has LACOSTE had such an intriguing, ethnic, take. LACOSTE creative team – take note!

    • Paula

      January 31, 2014 at 2:10 am

      Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if this man found his clothes is the ‘dump’ (as suggested in a previous post) where fashion labels deposit the faulty articles that come out of the lots produced by Maroccan people at very low wages…. Maybe they are faulty ‘authentics’ put together with lots of personality….I like to believe that.

    • jgs

      February 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      note, too that he has taken time to carefully shave and sculpt his mustache and side burns. His hands also look very gentle and less worn from hard labor than the man in the photo from an earlier post. His jacket arms also could have been shotened, as there appear to be only two buttons and one very close to the end of the sleeve. I think there is a sense of pride in this man, and also resourcefulness. I like how you pointed out the things. It makes for an interesting study of humanity.

  2. maria

    January 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Nice photo, and noble comment.

  3. Teddi K

    January 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you for that great comment. Poor does not mean people don’t have dignity and don’t care about how they look or how they dress. What it means is they, perhaps, can’t afford to go buy the latest style and or color so they put together their outfit with what they have. It is uncomfortable sometimes to interact with those less fortunate than ourselves but our being uncomfortable doesn’t diminish their intrinsic value as a person. Sometimes, poor is desperate and sad, but again, they still have value and dignity as a person.

    I do appreciate The Sartorialist treating everyone he photographs and choses to show on this blog with respect. Thank you Scott!

  4. Teddy

    January 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    inspirational post, love it

  5. Denisa

    January 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    That photo is amazing and from real life. And you wrote a nice post!!!

  6. Mary

    January 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    This is my first comment on your blog — I agree with you very strongly. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions about specific commenters, but I really dislike the attitude toward lower-income people that has become the norm in the US, in particular. Instead of choosing between pity and disparagement, how about just showing some respect?

  7. Katerina

    January 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Great comment from Laura! I come from a poor developed country / the poorest in the European union/. I think you are either born with a need and appreciation for visual beauty or not. If you are, you care about clothing, no matter how poor you are! There were years when we were waiting in lines for hours in order to buy milk and bread, and exactly at that time my mother was borrowing German magazines with models for sewing and was making her own suits! She was using old fabrics belonging to my grandmother!

  8. TrishR

    January 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I’m not going to lie – I look at your posts usually with some sense of detachment. Not because they aren’t beautiful, and of course incredibly artistic. But because oftentimes, at least from a ‘fashion’ perspective, they can feel a bit out of my league. I have recently been very moved by your photos, particularly the ones you’ve shown from Bali and Morocco. I realized I was being so closed minded – you aren’t simply showing fashion labels, but true Life Fashion.
    Yesterday I just stared and stared at that photo of the gentleman in the market. So touched by his presence and, like you, curious to see him on another day. I didn’t read the comments, expecting there might be some like you noted above.
    Then today to see this photo – the same reaction. But I have never been so moved by your words as I was today. Thank you.

  9. 33

    January 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    It is unfortunate that some people look down on others just because the clothes seem shabby. However, like you stated, it is balanced by people who see beauty in things/people/photos, etc..

    I really enjoy the two gentlemen you photoed. Their sense of style rivals the men showing up at men’s fashion week in my opinion, if not better.

    Working in downtown Los Angeles I see homeless people daily. Believe me when I say that your Moroccan subjects may (a big maybe) be poor but they are not down and out.

  10. irene laura

    January 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    This one is really great

  11. Elle

    January 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Look at the sharp cut of his sideburns, the trim of his mustache. The clothing are a conscious fashion decision for sure.

  12. Mafalda

    January 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    What a amazing picture. I didn’t notice how carefully all the pieces had been combined until I read you. This man is stylish and beautiful, and I think that beauty and grace coms in so many ways. I really appreciate your comments about respect and dignity, poor doesn’t mean being miserable.
    Mafalda ❤

  13. G R Stokes

    January 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Who cares where the clothes came from. This gentleman has put together a look that expresses who he is. And, has done a rather nice job of it. Nice capture Scott.

  14. ilona

    January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I think that the commenters who feel uncomfortable reading your and other people’s comments about stylishness do not question poor people’s sartorial sense, or artistic choices at all, it is obvious when one looks at the pictures, and it is obvious from what one can see in their on life. At the same time it feels painfully superficial to only think about how “put together” they look just because it is a fashion blog, and so on. They stylishly combine used charity clothes, and can of course be poor AND happy people, but I miss the real empathy and curiosity from your looking at these people when so strongly focusing on this only part of the picture.

    • The Sartorialist

      January 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      the fashion element is stronger in this photo but its also still a strong portrait. If you look at many of the other images from Morocco and Bali you’ll see that they are less fashion driven.

      • dave

        January 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

        i agree with ilona.

        if you are trying to be the next steve mccury, stick to being a true photojournalist, not a fashion photographer who thinks its great to make comments like ‘more dries than dries himself’ and then try to make out this is some form of photojournalism. as i pointed out before you take great photos but your comments sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

        • Hans

          January 29, 2014 at 5:52 pm

          I agree with daves comment.
          I love your work no matter the location or subject, and whilst I also agree with your comments for theses particular photos, you might consider some of the remarks of your readers with more patience even if crude. Surely that is the point of having a comments section, which contributes discussion from both points of view?

          • da

            January 31, 2014 at 12:46 am

            I disagree. I don’t see him insulting anyone who is capable of having a respectful discussion. Idiots who have to be combative, ignorant, and rude don’t really earn any respect, do they?

          • Paula

            January 31, 2014 at 2:37 am

            Sorry, but I have to disagree with you guys. I think Scott’s response to the comments is where it should be. His blog and his photos – his work – have the purpose of sparking a discussion about how people dress. And when I say people, is People, not just, Paris, NY, Stockholm….So, he is the mediator of this discussion. We are commenting on his point of view…he can bring the conversion into line anytime he wants. Its is sooooo good when he dose it!

            Sometimes I also don’t connect with some of Scott’s comments. But that’s also fine. Don’t we all share less interesting comments sometimes? If the Sartorialist blog was absolutely perfect would almost be a contradiction! No?

  15. Jane R-D

    January 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    This dignified man’s stylish appearance is no happy accident – look at the care he has taken in shaping his moustache and the care he takes of his hands and fingernails.
    Appreciation of the colour and line and form and interesting details of daily-used items has not ever been, and is not, confined to a particular ethnisity or age or category of wealth.

  16. dario fattore

    January 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    bellissimo contrasto di tessuti e materiale

    new post s up click:

    dario fattore –

  17. DonnaRose

    January 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I grew in a developing country where my parents who were poor ministers received used clothing from missionaries. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs…but it didn’t make me feel less than. Rather, it helped me develop my sense of style. How could I wear a piece of clothing that would reflect who I was or what I felt? It forced to me look at me and get to know me. A lot of people in developing countries who are poor appreciate beautiful clothing donated to them. They may not know the labels…but they appreciate a good cut and fit, wonderful colors and great fabric.

    • Fernande Delacroix

      April 23, 2014 at 2:16 am

      You are so right, it is no “happy accident’. I didn’t grow up poor, but I didn’t grow up rich either. My parents came out of the depresion and everything counted for something. She sewed all of my clothes as well as my sister’s. I will never forget the two beautiful blue velvet dresses she sewed for us with satin bows and – lace trim from her wedding gown! I was appalled! My mother said, ‘Why not? I’ll never wear it again. Why not give it a second life on your beautiful dress? There were always flowers on the table, and thick white linen napkins, which she often let dry on the radiator, to give them that wonderful warmth. After dinner, my father played his violin for us and we’d drink home made limoncello, given to us by a neighbor. Is that being poor? Yes, if you mean did it cost anything and how much did it cost? It was attention to the moment, to the beauty of the moment, and to the senses. It had nothing to do with fashion, yet everything to do with style and “being”.

  18. Muhammad Fuad

    January 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    In Egypt, there is a Famous printed headscarf; known as the Maid’s or the cleaning lady headscarf (very strong & contrasted colored floral printed, like florescent colors sometimes).

    although it have been always there..suddenly; two years ago; young women from middle and upper middle classes started to sport these headscarves; on their heads or around their necks (and it has nothing to do with the Islamic Hijab/Veil).. it was really interesting.. it wasn’t just the young educated women manifesting equality; it was detaching beauty from their typical social stereotypes!

  19. Judith A. Ross

    January 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I think he did think about it and I love the combination. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, some of the young Moroccan men that I came into contact with while there were masters of mixing patterns.

    Also, just because someone doesn’t have much, doesn’t mean they don’t take pride in their appearance. In fact, in my life, I’ve observed just the opposite: it is one area that someone who doesn’t have a lot can take control of.

  20. Wayde

    January 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    As a creative consultant and stylist; all I can say is “does it matter?”
    I find these gentlemen incredibly inspiring and believe that the “Developed World” needs better exposure to photographs like these to inspire us. These men may never have set eyes on runway photographs in their lives before but I believe they have the capacity through their own style to influence future collections.

  21. juan cruz

    January 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Why the assumption than this individual is poor. For the little funny hat? Look at him he as been a hardworking outdoorsman man all his life, hands and face showed, but is he is very clean cut recent haircut, clean shaved and trimmed mustache. Let me tell you, there is not Goodwill will in Morocco and those closes are not stain or mended and expensive (anywhere in the world.) Morocco’s is a dazzling mosaic of Arab and Berber cultures—with a dash of African and European influence. Although Morocco is situated in the western corner of Africa. The north of the country has a Mediterranean coastline and a strong European influence, south of Spain is only a 10 miles ferry ride from the tip of Morocco. And it is cold in winter (snows) he looks like wearing layered clothing. He is a vivid personification of what Morocco is all about.

  22. sun kissed highways

    January 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    do you happen to have a shot of the gentleman standing up?
    herring bone and houndstooth, is such a great combination.

    this portrait has a particularly spanish baroque painting feel. like something murillo, zurbaran would have painted…the ones from bali had a more french/flemish feel like the le nain brother’s work, some chardin, even early watteau genre paintings

  23. Christine

    January 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I was very glad to read your post Scott, and I think it is a really important point. I have also been to Morrocco, and clearly, there like elsewhere, there are people with an aesthetic and sartorial nous and pride that is not the reserve of rich-country fashionistas.
    I love how this man is dressed, and it is clear that choices have been made with care.

  24. Luna

    January 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I think that it is also important to note that the western idea of wealth is sporting the latest fashions and not valuing what they own. Perhaps to some this man looks poor because his clothes weren’t from this season. Outside of the west people still value quality over quantity and if it’s still good why throw it away. It is very possible that these clothes and that of yesterday’s gentleman were at one point in time new and why assume that they weren’t the first and only owner. They in all probability have found no reason to throw them away, they’re functional pieces and probably they have had them forever and love them like a second skin and don’t feel them self without them. Isn’t that what personal style is all about.

  25. Ippai

    January 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Well, as a Moroccan person, I’m particularly touched by this post. I really like all the shots you took in Morocco, they reflect a part of the population quite well. As it has been said, Morocco has been influenced by many European countries and particularly during the Colonialism Era when the French and the Spanish occupied different parts of the countries. A lot of Moroccans got in touch with some European habits and fashion is one of them. Those people are now mostly old people and the young generation isn’t as subtle even though it may have access to the Internet. I’d thus believe that this man belongs to that amazing yet very scarce part of the population which got involved with the French giving him maybe a taste for fashion.

    • taj

      January 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Ippai – out of all the comments I read, I feel that your’s gave me the best insight. The cross-cultural influences in Morocco may have likely imparted a sense of love for design, but one only has to visit Morocco for a while to appreciate the vast design of the tile work, the spice markets, the inside of a riadh – to name only a few – that speak volumes about the people and perhaps the artistic traits that passed through generations. It brings great delight to see the gentlemen captured in these portraits exhibiting a genuine affinity and appreciation for color and pattern.

    • Clotilde

      January 30, 2014 at 1:07 am

      It is not at all a question of “french taste”, it may be a more general question of generation. I live in France and I can tell you that the youth, at 99%, has lost its french taste somewhere on the way! Blame it perhaps on the internet, as you suggest, but the vast majority of french young girls now dress up like Kardashian…
      Besides, explaining a sense of fashion of a given people by the fact they were a french colony is a bit rude, and not very respectful I think.

  26. Casey

    January 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    This post made me so happy! Not only do I love all of your posts on Morocco having lived there myself for a while, but, more importantly, I like your willingness to address this charged idea. In a world where too many fashion blogs are simply pretty pictures, I admire your will to dig deeper.

  27. Fiddlergene

    January 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Re: bogart comment

    There are very likely some extraordinarily shallow people who visit your site so that they can feed off the sartorial inspiration of others. We need to show them the compassion and respect for the dignity of others that they have in such short supply within themselves.

  28. moba

    January 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    actually, people in 3rd world countries pay attention to their clothes. they might be from a dump but they have tailors. In india for example , even the poor will try to wear a blue blazer, grey pants and a red tie. This is left over from the british days. Turkey for example, people love wear suits. Let me tell you this, people in the third world countries wear their suits with disdain, non chalance, sprezzatura. unlike dry cleaned, pressed suits, where one folds them with such care ( you can notice this on airplanes), actually made of cheap quality in china. This man in the picture had a traditional houndstooth, what a classic

  29. Agasuitcase

    January 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Here in Colombia poverty is really terrible, I hope the diffrence among the classes will change in future

    Check my last post: How to wear floral sweater?

  30. Susan

    January 29, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I always admire what this blog is trying to do. I’m an avid observer of the photos displayed here, but I can’t help but comment today because I am disheartened at the people who trivialize these men. Fashion is almost never about the clothes, it’s always about the people. It’s about us. It’s about the choices we make and what we value. Clothes are just the vehicle in how we want to perceive ourselves and how we want people to perceive us. Even people who aren’t “fashion” oriented choose the clothes they wear and it will always reflect some part of them. Clothes are a human experience beyond race, class, gender and age.

    The interesting question is why someone wears something rather than what they actually wear. And only someone of immense privilege can actually choose, dictate , and control how “intentional” their outfit can be. The assumption that these men have less creativity because of less choices of clothing comes from a place of pity and condescension. First off, why does that even matter? But that’s just it, it matters only to you. They probably don’t care about how much you have. Even if that were true that they had “less” choices, why does a lack of quantity make them less fashionable, less intentional, less unique? If you think about it, the clothes we touch and buy today are almost all designed for us, chosen for us, by other people. So really, how creative are you?And it’s actually more amazing that these men can curate a beautiful outfit with having less things, less intentional things that they may or may not have found.

    The most discomforting question is why do you think they can’t choose for themselves? The medium of art and photography says so much more about you than it does about the subject. And the question of wealth is really in the mind rather than the material possessions you think you own. Clothes come and go, but the way it makes us feel is the thing we actually have that no one else can take away.

    In a sense, the people who don’t appreciate these men might be poorer than them for the fact that they can’t appreciate beauty in all its forms. The sadness in our developed country is that we have so much that we can’t even see past ourselves or to think that what we have is never enough. Who then is really the poor one?

    • Cece

      January 31, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Susan, what a wonderful post! You read my mind and translated it into much better words that I could’ve found :)

  31. Aqaemanilia

    January 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Hello Scott,

    I have never commented on one of your posts before, though I have been looking with pleasure and fascination at The Sartorialist almost daily for years. I was so so moved by the comment from Laura that you quoted. Like almost everyone else I know, I am deeply troubled by the horrifyingly extreme disparities between rich people and poor people. But I feel just as strongly that every life has value and that people experience joy and exercise thoughtfulness in their lives — including in their self-presentation through clothes and style! — wherever they fall in our class-stratified world.

    Thank *you* for being such an attentive and generous artist.

    • gajettes

      January 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      AMEN! Aqaemanilia and many others. STYLE lives in the most humblest of locations/people. LOVE these past posts and the discussion!

    • Morna

      January 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      How lovely, I agree.Have been loving Scott (and Garance’s) blogs for years and only inspired _ I live in Glasgow and hope to shine every day against the se of black – because of the weather!

  32. crossing sweeper

    January 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    This is one of the most striking pictures I’ve seen on the Sartorialist. It has dignity and elegance. That the man’s clothes are old and that he looks – perhaps – poor seems to me irrelevant. His clothes, like him, look as though they have lived. And that’s how clothes should look.

  33. Jean Tom

    January 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Scott,If your blog has taught me one thing it is that we each have our own style. Sometimes it is dictated by what we can spend and sometimes by what we can can find. But rich or poor, how we choose to make up our “look”depends on the individuals sense of style.

  34. milexmilex

    January 29, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    What a character ♥

  35. Bruna

    January 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Once again, you prove that you are a photographer.

    Not only “the guy that created the street style concept” or something like that. You are a man that admires beauty, in all details, and everything: fashion is just one aspect of those beauties.

    Recommendation: Don’t know if you know this blog – found it randomly while browsing – Zoe don’t have a really good german, but is living and working in Berlin; Ali is speaks little english, and everyday he walks by the cafe Zoe works. One day she asks to take a picture of his outfit, and a different relationship starts…

  36. Oonagh

    January 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I love these pictures, they are inspiring. These men have such style and character.

  37. Claire

    January 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I just wanted to add that the Sartorialist finds beauty in everything. I love that more than I can put into words. His portraits never judge; they simply archive. The thoughtful light he presents his subjects in constantly turns my knowledge of fashion and style upside down and THAT is the very definition of an artist.

    It is easy for people on the internet to be unkind and judgmental. Something amazing happens on this blog and it would break my heart to see it disintegrate.

  38. Pippi Hepburn

    January 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I absolutely agree with Scott and also Laura who made a wonderful comment. Just because people have little money does not mean they do not have style. Some people aspire to a different life, designers do this. And they try to dress it if they cannot live it. It just brings you closer. I am sure he put that outfit together, not with a lot of thought, but just because that how he does it! Thank you, Scott, for the pic and your statement. You are a grand gentleman too.

  39. Athnony

    January 29, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    From the other photographs you posted, I would think that in Morocco mixing patterns and colors like that is nothing unusual to these men. Don’t think it has anything to do with his social status. Like here in Miami, we wear lot’s of bright colors, in New York people wear black.

  40. quincyscott

    January 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    A few comments, for what they are worth.

    I view this site occasionally, with mixed feelings. The photos are nearly always beautiful. I usually get a lot out of the photos of people on the street, going about their day. A second kind of photo is of people who I find rather pretentious: sour faces, trying very hard to be seen, invariably smoking and looking miserable in some overwrought pose. It’s not appealing to me, but to each his own. And then there are the runway photos, which I loathe.

    Fashion is indeed about expression and individuality. About conscious choices. This is all fine and good. Perhaps some folks take themselves more seriously than I find desirable, but still it’s pretty harmless. This site and the people photographed for it have helped me to rethink how I present myself to the world, which is nice.

    All that aside, I do generally see fashion of the street as a universal human phenomenon, regardless of culture, class, gender, etc. The other two kinds of fashion, those of the posers and the runway walkers, I think are much more first world and upper class preoccupations. And this is why I think there are a lot of different views about the photo of this gentleman, in Scott’s parlance. It’s a legitimate question, in my opinion, to wonder if a photograph of this man is fitting on the same site where there are photos of chiseled models wearing jackets with symmetrical holes and hair masks.

    I do agree that it boils down to respect for the subject. What I am thinking as I see this photo is how Scott’s handling of the photographic moment compares with a similar shot he might take on a street in Soho or Milan. When he takes a shot of a Paris pedestrian, does he ask permission? If so, did he extend the same courtesy to the man in this photo? Additionally, does this man have any familiarity with this site and the way his image might be used? He certainly doesn’t appear to be strutting or posing like many subjects on this site do.

    I’m sure all of us who read this site would be thrilled if we bumped into Scott on a photogenic street and struck a pose while he honored us by taking photos. We would love to have a little moment of confirmation about the way we present ourselves and the style choices we make. But nothing happening in this photo makes me think that this man would get that same thrill from this, and it bothers me.

    • ilona

      January 30, 2014 at 4:27 am

      yes, the connection, the mutual relationship -even if it is just for a moment- with your subjects that can be seen in almost all of your “first world” photos is missing for me in these pictures.

      • The Sartorialist

        January 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

        no, it’s not.
        I could show countless images that were shot the exact same way. if you want connection look at the young lady from Morocco I posted Monday morning. This way of shooting is no different than what I do at Pitti Uomo, take a look at those images and tell me how they’re different.

        • ilona

          January 30, 2014 at 9:38 am

          yes, you are right. I did not even count that photo to this conversation, because it is so different in so many ways of context, and so similar in that way to your usual fashion portraits. Why not building the same encounter with these gentlemen or the nomads of the Sahara? I am sorry, I do not mean to harrass you by my comments, I am an everyday visitor of your blog. I would like to call your attention to the work of a Hungarian photographer, sorry again for doing this. He is Peter Korniss. By looking at his pictures one can really feel that personal relationship that connects him to his subjects:

        • Marta

          January 31, 2014 at 6:10 am

          I think would be a good exercise to have a look at Vincent Van Gogh Potato eaters work …very moving picture Scott .

        • Tengu

          February 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

          I don’t get the “missing connection” hypothesis at all. I think this is an amazing, warm picture. Possibly more genuine than many photos of the very studied and deliberate fashionistas!

          I think work like this have really elevated your craftsmanship.

          A presto!

  41. Kaatje

    January 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Perhaps instead of asking them if they consider themselves poor or suffering in poverty, you could tell them what compelled you to take their photo.

  42. Kay

    January 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Last year, I was filming and photographing in Morocco. I had a wonderful time picking up on the fashion trends and attempting to capture them (you inspire!). Morocco has very high unemployment in men in their teens and 20s. They moved in packs through the souks and on the square, proudly hanging around, little work and little money. Their fashion trend, circa Winter 2012, was dark blue jeans with large faded patches on the thighs. Lucky for me, they all wanted to pose!

  43. R.

    January 29, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I really don’t know about this man in the photo.

    I do know that some people just have got the ability to always dress well. And as for poor people – often they make more effort while dressing. They have pride and they want to show, that they can dress well, too. Rich people often feel that they know their value anyway and they don’t have to prove anything with clothes.

    Coming from an ex Soviet Union country I know very well what it means to try to dress well when you don’t have the access to beautiful clothes. In the SU it wasn’t even due to poverty.
    But people can get really creative under such circumstances. When the shops where empty in those times, people just made their own clothes. Again sometimes from virtually nothing as it was also hard to get the materials for that.

    Actually, just yesterday I read the book “Fashion and the cold war”. It’s about fashion in Estonia (former Soviet Union republic) during the 1950s to 1970s. It’ amazing what effort was made for fashion in the circumstances that those times presented.
    The book is in two languages! In Estonian and English.
    There was also an exhibition on it, but that’s over already. Here’s some information about it:

  44. Sukie

    January 30, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Okay, maybe I am projecting because I have poor vision and bad eyes, but he looks like his eyes may be really hurting. If he has a glare problem, which can be painful and reduce everything to an opalescent field without details then trying to acquire shade for his eyes makes sense, even if the hat does not fit right. Additionally, if he has an acuity problem he might see the herringbone as a solid; I did until I read your text. This is not a young person so cataracts or other problems causing both visual difficulties are especially possible. I know I have at times had to use outlandish looking solutions just to be able to function. (Fortunately, I have only been laughed at once, by a good looking NYC woman of 30 give or take a few years in a booring business suit whose eyes probably worked right even if her spirit did not on that day.)

  45. Andrea Reynders

    January 30, 2014 at 12:47 am

    I totally agree with your comments, Scott, having been a long time visitor to South Africa, Losotho, and Swaziland where one can see the poorest of the poor dressed in a way that makes me envious of the style they inherently possess. We need to be respectful of cultures, heritage and variety as you so often remind us through your photos. The truth is the “real” people –your models–are not concerned with trivial things like dressing for the right occasion, but they do have a unique sensibility of style based on their culture and what is available. Sometimes it is masses of color and texture that we would not-could not-dream of putting together , yet when seen it is the envy of our dreams! We should look at each other all over the world as we continue to mirror the creativity of humankind. Thank you for making this visible to us and reminding us to look not only with our eyes, but also with our imagination.

  46. Gary Morris

    January 30, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I had the opportunity to spend some time working in southeast Asia in the mid-2000s. Arguably at best the people I worked amongst and associated with would be considered “emerging” by our western standards. However, not once did I ever get the sense (though I never asked because it didn’t occur to me to ask) that any of the people I worked amongst, ate out with or spent time with, felt that they were “poor”. They had very busy active lives and always looked well put together (stylish and appropriate for the climate). The clothes largely came from marketplaces (their equivalent to Macy’s and certainly NOT dumps) and the shoes and accessories were inexpensive local-sourced or Chinese, but in the context of their world, these people clearly showed much attention to detail and self respect and (gasp), style. One of the two biggest take-aways from my time over there is just how similar we all are and particularly so when removing local context.

  47. Elwira

    January 30, 2014 at 2:15 am

    It’s like assuming: no money = no sense of aesthetic. Nonsense.
    Something like another nonsense: no good photocamera = no good shots.
    The truth is ‘that if your eye is bad, if it is sick, then your whole world will be full of darkness’.
    People who follow your blog can see in your photos whatever they want, comment whatever they want, coz it shows what they carry in their hearts and minds.

  48. Principessa TiTi

    January 30, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Dear Readers and Sartorialist,
    As much as I find it sad and offensive how rich people look at the poor and unfortuante, but I believe that Fashion and style comes from within and has nothing to do with money ecc ecc…. the thing is: if you are rich you can easily go and buy the things that you like or see it is IN Fashion… but the intelligence is to digg in style , create your own, buy from markets and STILL look fashionable, respectful, stylish and feel good…. I buy many un-branded stuff and the same people who buy branded and pay thousands of dollars for silly things, come and ask me all the time, from where you buy your clothes or how stylish you are daily…. that’s the deal friends!!! To be stylish without the need to steal a bank…. okkkkk???? western people are losing their mind for silly stuff …. plus remember that 90% of the brands are now producing in China, India, Morocco, Turkey so get life people…. why do i need to buy the chinese stuff that costs zillons of dollars just because it’s branded, when i can have something similar and good quality without the brand on it????? it really bothers me to look at the poor as if they are useless in this world…. You rich people, go and buy from vintage shops used staff, and wooooooooow it becomes fashionable and acceptable as it’s under ‘vintage’ woooowww….

  49. Olige

    January 30, 2014 at 2:53 am

    One of your previous post was about Dar Ahlam Morrocco:

    Double rooms from ÂŁ717.61 (inc tax)!

    And here you elaborate on a stupid concept: “plain poor”

    It is so shameful.

    • The Sartorialist

      January 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

      how are the two connected?

  50. Fresh

    January 30, 2014 at 3:11 am

    The difference between poor people and rich people is that they never look ridiculous as it’s often happens when you have too much money!

  51. Wageedah.s

    January 30, 2014 at 3:44 am

    I am a fashion designer but i do not obsessively follow fashion media. (my best friend does so she keeps me updated on what Miley wore yesterday etc, with her ranting) I find fashion to be deeper than clothing and labels. I see an art and artists, in combinations, expressions and uniqueness. I love this blog because it captures that aspect so perfectly and this picture is just one of those ways. Thank you

  52. M.

    January 30, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Lovely colours and pattern. I am struck by the combo straw hat and wool hat. Here in Venice in winter, the gondoliers wear black wool hats with straw boaters with trailing ribbons atop. This should definitely not look cool, but it does.

  53. Chat Robinson

    January 30, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Well said Scott. The negative comments probably come from folks who are fashionable rather than stylish. The two are absolutely unconnected. Style means being yourself, fashion means following the herd. There’s also the idea that if you pay a lot of money for something with a designer label on it you are automatically stylish, also not true. It just means that you are wealthy. Most of my clothes come from markets, vide greniers and sales. I refuse to wear anything with a logo on it, you’re actually paying a company to advertise their product. That relationship is usually the other way round. What we can learn from your Morocco pix is that people all over the world think about their appearance and make interesting decisions about what to wear. True, these can be about practicality and necessity, but even then decisions are made about how things look and how they are worn.

  54. koksi

    January 30, 2014 at 3:58 am

    His style represents freedom. He does not follow anyone, he dont care obaut what thinks others, he just feels and dresses, not fashion, not following trends, only basic sanse of people for beautifull colors and textiles…..Freedom, The word that we have forgotten

  55. Brown

    January 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I was born in Uganda, and like most kids my age the clothes I got were hand-me-downs from my elder cousins. This didn’t mean that they were bad quality, on the contrary it meant that the quality was better, because seamsters put a lot into clothes in those days. Brands like Osh Kosh B’gosh, Sesame Street & Levi Strauss & Co were a regular find.

    I returned to Uganda about a month ago & was intrigued by the different relationship people had with clothes. Especially in places like the local fruit & veg markets. What impressed me was their ability to mix old & new, traditional & western without trying too hard. The result was an array of “on trend” looks that would’ve sparked envy among some of the young bloggers I know.

    Yes, in developing countries like Uganda people shop at second-hand stores not for fashion but for necessity, the result is beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  56. L'Oliphant

    January 30, 2014 at 4:48 am

    great portrait!

  57. zaena

    January 30, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Inspirational as always. I had a lot of fun testing out my new SLR travelling in South Korea , Japan and Dubai ;

  58. Rasheed

    January 30, 2014 at 5:23 am

    As a morocan man I can tell you this. Majority of morrocon people realy love clothes. They think a lot about what to wear and how to do it, the poor ones, middle class and the rich. You can almost compare it with sapeur (congo) in central africa. The ones you took Mr. Schuman are people who receive clothes from european family or shop at fleamarkets. These are no accidents, especially the one who matched his bag with the sweater.

  59. susanne schweiger

    January 30, 2014 at 6:04 am

    wonderful human sentences …

  60. Mihaela

    January 30, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Hi! In my opinion, from what I saw in my country (Romania), this is how people look in the countryside or in small cities. They don’t necessarily have a taste in fashion, but are very conscious of what they wear and men always need to put on a shirt, a jacket, “elegant” pants and shoes and women almost always wear a skirt or a dress. This is how they were used to and what they consider fit for their lives. Most of the time, however, they give no importance to prints, colors, shapes, sizes, they just put together an outfit from the clothes that they have gathered for a lifetime, since it is not like they have new clothes all the time. Most often these persons have had these clothes from their young years and still wear them as they get old.

  61. Mustafa K. ErgĂĽn

    January 30, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Just perfect..

    Istanbul Style Report

  62. Kerry

    January 30, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I find it interesting that in presenting both sides of the argument with respect to the last “On the Road to Ouarzazate” picture The Sartorialist chose the comment which least well expresses what his critics were saying! (The comment which he chooses to defend himself with, on the other hand, is pretty articulate.)

    What were they saying? I think it is this: that where it is unclear (as in the last shot) whether the subject is genuinely in poverty or not, it seems wrong to take a picture, present it as a mere fashion image (remember this is in the context of a street style blog) and then make some comments speculating about whether this person is currently influenced by some current trend.

    I would say that the same criticisms are unlikely to be made of the current photo, as this man seems to be, as The Sartorialist says, “poor” rather than “in poverty”. That doesn’t mean the criticisms don’t still apply to the other image.

  63. Clym Evernden

    January 30, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I absolutely love this photo. So inspiring in terms of a natural style, and I’m enjoying how your shooting outside fashion week much more now.

  64. Hanna

    January 30, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Dear Scott and Laura,

    I agree with both of you, but the term “developing country” is old and should stay in the past, because who says that the Western countries have now fully developed and the others are still do we decide who is more developed anyway? It is a kind of denial of coevalness and people use such terms without thinking what they really mean. Anyway it is understandable, because I was an avid used or if myself before someone brought my attention to it. Great picture and an even better dicussion!

    • sb

      January 31, 2014 at 12:45 am

      Actually no, it’s not outdated.” Developing country” refers to countries with high poverty and unemployment; low quality of life; limited access to fresh water, health care, and education; and where most people live in rural areas. High infant mortality rates and short lifespans factor in as well. Yes, it’s seen through the eyes of capitalist countries and no, the US sure does not have everything right (I would argue we don’t have most things right), but the term “developing country” is not outdated. You should pay more attention to world news.

      • jett

        January 31, 2014 at 10:45 am

        I think most people in third world countries with unsafe or no drinking water, feuding warlords, illteracy and other problems would not be so first-world dismissive of the United States as you are. Compared to some places, it is heaven here and you dont even know it.

        • Newman

          February 1, 2014 at 8:14 am

          USA or Morocco…..I know which place I would rather live in and that is Morocco.

      • Hanna

        February 3, 2014 at 7:13 am

        I don’t really know why you brought the US into this, when I didn’t mention it. I just assume you are from there and hence imagine what I called the Western world, to be the USA. I am from North East Europe myself so I don’t want to dwell too much on the US as I don’t know it very well. I am also an Africanist and an anthropologist so I am well aware of the countries you described and of course they exist. I was only saying that the word “developing” carries negative connotations in itself, just like the term “3rd world country”. We should come up with a better term, that is all I was trying to say.

        PS maybe you should be a bit more critical of world news and what they say about these “developing” countries.

  65. almu

    January 30, 2014 at 7:21 am

  66. Katherine

    January 30, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Perhaps it’s not always possible but maybe with portraits taken in obscure environments (or one’s that will clearly evoke strong comment), ask the sitter what they were thinking or if they were thinking at all, in addition to commenting on their lives… The answers would probably squelch all the speculation if only we could hear it from the horse’s mouth.

  67. Vt

    January 30, 2014 at 7:55 am

    You people, including the Sartorialist, are so out of touch you have not even the remotest idea of how disrespectful all this is. Without these captions and comments, these would be just beautiful shots, instead you have to blab about bullshit.

    • The Sartorialist

      January 30, 2014 at 8:33 am

      thanks for adding something useful?? to the conversation??

      • M.

        January 31, 2014 at 4:56 am

        Well, she’s right. Most if it is bullshit. This blog is called The Sartorialist. And this gentleman obviously is one. It’s a lovely photo.

        This gentleman would not enjoy being patronized as he has been here.

    • rubysun

      February 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Heh heh!

      Well, that about sums it up I think.

      Good day all!

  68. CBC

    January 30, 2014 at 8:13 am

    U found him a interesting subject….it’s is a fashion blog…He not going to be invited to one of your dinner…

  69. Tracey

    January 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I once knew a man that dressed exactly like this all the time, he owned 19 hotels along the coast of California and lived in Marin County on the water, can’t judge a book, as they say….

  70. Najad

    January 30, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Well said, Scott.

  71. style rower

    January 30, 2014 at 8:44 am

    There is not doubt about it in my mind. This gentleman absolutely went through his closet that morning and picked the herringbone and checks set off by the colorful colors of the ascot. Making a fashion statement is a universal concept.

  72. Sharron

    January 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Taking this photo just at face value (which is all I can do since I don’t know this man or his circumstances), I’d say this is one dapper guy who on this particular day felt very good about himself and made careful choices about what to wear and he had a great artists’ eye for combining colors and fabrics. I love his choices!

  73. 3rd Worlder

    January 30, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I have never commented on your blog, but I loved all the people on the streets that you captured- they may not have worn the latest fashions, but they portrayed their unique sense of style. But all those regular fashion photos masquerading as ‘street style’, it’s easy to see that the fashions are deliberate.

    This man’s look truly depicts how street fashions are adapted by fashion pundits and then they become The Look of The Year- to be copied blindly, without thought.

    Fashion is nothing without a unique sense of style, simply aping the ape leader.

  74. Johan

    January 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I’m glad you brought this up. I love the picture and I can not in any way understand why this beautiful Moroccan man would not fit in. The people who think so really need to open their minds and broaden their horizons.

  75. maria t

    January 30, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Some people make it sound almost criminal to post a fashion photo of a person labeled as ‘poor’. I perceive this photo as celebrating the beautiful dress sense of this man regardless of his economic status. Celebrated in the sense that it is posted on a popular blog as an example to learn from. In this blog there have been several photos of well dressed people with expensive or non-expensive clothes. It’s about recognizing the beauty in the world around us which Scott with his well trained eye captures so well. This photo inspired me and challenged me to be more creative and make the most of what I have in my closet. I loved it and even more the man with the yellow jumper and yellow bag! I often notice as well how people from different cultures dress, some have such a great sense of colour in their DNA!

  76. Cyrus Pavel

    January 30, 2014 at 10:17 am

    It’s the same people that believe their own hype enough not to give humanity in general, and nature, the credit it deserves when it comes to symmetry, patterns, and colors, that buy the most expensive designer clothing and accessories to still look like hot messes.

    Style is inherited, fashion is just the shit the commercial markets push onto you, which nearly 99% of you believe.

    We are the 1%.

  77. uptowngirl

    January 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

    This gentleman instantly reminds me of “Brother Sharp”, the handsome Chinese vagrant who drew fans of ‘homeless chic’ in 2012 in China.
    Though Bro Sharp’s begger images are somewhat different from your shots, i totally agree that poor people, or even people in poverty, still have great styles,which can be amazingly inspiring.

  78. claudiajeann

    January 30, 2014 at 10:36 am

    What a kerfuffle!! Scott is asking us to *speculate* about how/why these gentlemen dress the way they do, to use our imaginations and give them a context (or more than one, I can usually come up with two or three). No different from his other street shots in NYC or Paris. The bonus is, they gain humanity in our eyes, and we can relate to them on some level. Never forget, tho, that we don’t really know their stories. A furrowed brow could mean a mountain of worries or years of exposure to the sun; a stoop in the walk could mean physical infirmity or a feeling of defeat in the face of personal problems.

    I remember a similar kerfuffle a few years ago over a more prosperous subject. While some liked it a lot, many commenters dismissed it as totally bizarre, and I agreed at first. But Scott waded into the discussion to say he had been hoping we would at least consider texture and color combinations (or something to that effect). That taught me to look for details that I could relate to and appreciate if I didn’t care for the overall look.

    As I sit in my high-tech office typing this online comment, I must insist that poverty is something we all need to be reminded of regularly. Arresting, beautiful photos of impoverished circumstances are thought provoking – and well they should be! Tidying things up so it’s never noticed is just plain wrong. The indignity of it is that we have the resources to get rid of it. But don’t.

    Finally, it’s a bit of culture shock!! Everybody likes to look good, and they do it within the context of their *culture and financial ability*. In the US, we insist homes won’t sell if they aren’t painted in “earth tones”, but there are countries where exuberant color is preferred. The same goes with fashion – in the US we would expect such a teal and yellow combination on a man would suggest he is homeless, whereas other cultures celebrate vibrant colors.

  79. Sarah_H.

    January 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Just the fact that he is wearing a knotted tie tells me that he cares about how he looks and is making an effort to look good. I love that accent of intense colors!

  80. Azalie

    January 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Seriously classy, that is it.

  81. Daniela

    January 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Thank you Scott Schuman for the pictures and the comments.
    My parents were born in Portugal in the 1940′s and were very, very poor, really starving for food.
    But My mom tells me how happy her childhood was, and full of dignity : everyone was caring for each other, the little house (two beds made out of straw, all the 7 children together).
    They had very little, girls went to school from 7 to 11, and then stayed home working with their mother before leaving for a real job at age 14.
    What strikes me in the pictures she has left (whenever their rich uncle visited them he brought a camera along) is how well they are dressed, not with rich fabrics, but carefully : my grand mother made the clothes, she was caring, because their few clothes were all they had to show themselves under the best light, as humans full of dignity.
    Si I just agree. The man on the picture probably cares, despite being maybe jobless. People with traditional habits keep on carying that kind of values.
    Funny how western wealthy people often view poor as necessarily dirty and smelly – like anyone who tries to look good probably is not as poor as that. That’s sad.

  82. Graydon

    January 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Years ago, a dear French Canadian friend took great offence when I commented on how lovely she looked in the dress that she was wearing. Immediately she retorted back, ” I make the dress, the dress doesn’t make me.” It made me stop and think, how true!
    The most interesting subjects that you have shot that have compelled me visually, emulate exactly that. They have nothing to do with having means or not. As commented previously, true style is innate and not manufactured.
    P.S. All of these comments resemble being in the midst of an art critique…….. which is good. Dialogue which seems to be missing in our world these days is always a good thing. We definitely need more. Thank-you Sartorialist.

  83. fierywoman

    January 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    What I have always — and still — love about this blog is that you have the “audacity” to photograph human beings with a sense of style outside the skinny rich young girl spectrum. I sense a sort of even more joy in your photos of people NOT in the Prada-mixed-with-Dries-with-high-tops-and-a-$400-scarf-tied-JUST-SO-outside-the-Fortezza-before-the-Valentino-show. So, viewing your photographs makes my life more joyful; THANK YOU dear one!

  84. j.

    January 30, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    It is a true pity that fashion = money these days. The true sense of fashion, the true sense of artistry is not in money; the price tag does not determine the value of a clothing’s worth. That being said, only ignorant and unstylish people would view a piece of clothing valuable only because it has some expensive label and costs a lot.

    It is also important to note that the whole ensemble is what makes an outfit so great- combining the individual pieces of clothing to make a masterpiece like this gentleman’s. That is where true artistry and creativity can be found.

  85. Anonymous

    January 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I really loved this photo. He’s wearing very traditional fabrics (herringbone and tweed) with bright modern colors. Wow.

  86. hajar.A

    January 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you for your work and photos in this very interesting fashionblog where I find so much discoveries and inspiration. I live in Paris and was born in Morocco. I knew a few things about my birth country. Among those things, you may probably know that Morocco is a centuries-old country of great history, traditions, cultural mix, arts and crafts… This beautiful country is worldwide well-known for its breathtaking landscapes, geography, sophisticates cookery ( it’s one of the 3 best cooking in the world, along with french cooking and chinese cooking) , refined craft industry, architecture, traditional fashion design, jewelry, stoneware, … and many great artists came there to find their inspiration. In the 19th century, the Orientalist painters like Delacroix, Ingres, Majorelle among others… In the 20th century, it was Henri Matisse, and then famous writers and poets like Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Marguerite Yourcenar, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs… Fashionwise, great fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent found inspiration there.
    All that being said, I just want to point that it’s a great country for style and elegance and whenever I come back there, I’m so amazed by all the fashion, style and beauty inspiration I can see everywhere, in rich cities like Casablanca or in the tiniest and poorest countryside village.
    That’s why I’m not suprised by you being more and more interested in Morocco and the stylish Moroccans!
    Thank you, good luck, salam!

  87. JP

    January 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Scott, you always say London street fashion is way over the top, but when a Moroccan mixes bright colours and patterns he is cool. Come on man, be consistent!

  88. Bruce D. MacMillan

    January 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    This gentleman has given much thought (experience) to what he is wearing and looks great. At a point intuitive emotional and the rational logic tendencies combine effortlessly to equal personal style.

  89. Jane Laver

    January 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I absolutely agree with what you are saying, but there is no shame in poverty either – only the shame that it exists in a world where there is plenty. And I think this man is completely styling.

  90. Maria Vittoria P.

    January 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    You’ve just sublimated what is the true and deep essence of fashion, art, the art that directly flows from everyone’s soul as creative expression of oneself. A shiver ran down my spike.
    Wonderful job as always.


  91. Abigail

    January 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Dear Scott,
    I have been checking your blog every day for quite a few years now. You are an amazing photographer and I have seen the changes over the years as you incorporate more human stories in your photos than JUST fashion. Where you sometimes create controversy is when you make comments such as “chunky” legs, or refer to the person’s religion, or make assumptions such as caused the dialogue re these pics. Please let your beautiful shots tell their own story. They will.

    • LĂ©onore

      January 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      I agree 100% with Abigail. You are an amazing photographer and your pictures represent your interrogations on the world of today a lot better than many words. It’s only my humble opinion, but I think your talent and success come from that power your images have on their own and maybe some of your followers are a bit puzzled by all this talk recently.

  92. jett

    January 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I refer yo to my mom: “you cant buy class.” The man yesterday, loved the yellow and blue; this guy, of course he cares about how he looks. Snobbish is as snobbish does–anyone been to Ecuador\They dress great there.

  93. Thea

    January 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Fashion has existed since the first cavewoman decided to match the blue of her eyes to a blue feather in her long brown hair, since man has decided to part his hair sideways instead of down the middle, since someone picked up a shell from the beach and hanged it around their neck. To say that someone considered “poor” in the 21th century cannot be glamorized for his fashion sense because he is poor is to forget that for eons, humanity has been living in what we, today, consider abject poverty, and yet somehow still managed to beautify themselves. To marginalize someone’s creativity because they don’t have as much stuff as you do is to make fashion an elitist fetish only accessible to a privileged few. The real appropriators here are those who assume fashion is only for the rich. They have been brainwashed by their subconscious materialism and innate low self esteem into thinking that only designers and/or the rich can create fashion. Designers of course are geniuses of fashion, some more than others, but what they really provide us with is a shorthand language of fashion, a wellspring of options, the creation of an instantly recognizable “look”. You start thinking, this looks like Dries, Pucci, Dolce&Gabanna. Or if you look far enough in the past of this language, you can even say this is the Roman gladiator sandal, or the Grecian gown as reinvented by Givenchy. If you don’t have a true understanding of fashion, you may start thinking that something is fashionable because you have seen it on a runway somewhere. And while it’s true that it is, that is not the reason why it’s fashionable. It is because it is. To say that this man’s sense of fashion reminds you of Dries, is to use your fashion lexicon in a shorthand of identification easily recognized by readers of this blog as “fashion”. But really, what we are trying to say here is that look at this man, he came up with the Dries look all by himself, dirtied and poor in a far off corner (to Westerners) of the world. How wonderful! Fashion is not elitist. In fact, it’s probably the most democratic and easily accessible form of art in the world. It’s creativity that you literally wear on your sleeve, and just because someone does not know the “language” of fashion does not make him any less able to generate it.

  94. Zoe

    January 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    My mother could have been one of Lange’s subjects. She grew up the second oldest of 10 in the years before and during the Great Depression in the US. Nonetheless she had great style and spoke often of piecing together (to work around huge holes, sweat stains, and rips) dresses cast off by more affluent residents of her small town. I treasure the black and white photos I have of her wearing these dresses. A person can have style and dignity even though weighed down by gut wrenching poverty.

  95. Jenny

    January 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    This man reminds me of my grandfather. Who lived almost his whole 96 years in a suburb of Philadelphia! He was not poor but not wealthy either. His relationship with clothes may have been like this man’s. He owned a quarter of the clothes I own, if that. Probably fewer. If you buy something and wear it every day or every other day until it wears through, you’ll select carefully. Maybe theses images are an invitation to have fewer things we love to wear frequently. I know it is for me. The layers and texture keep it from boring me. (And they deal with dirt well.)

  96. Martine

    January 31, 2014 at 12:19 am

    What is it about the man that makes people think he needs to be hidden from the eyes of the world for his own good? And how dare anyone make the decision of wether he should be in a photo besides him? Whats the matter; You don’t think he can figure it out for himself?
    Actually his look is cool, wherever his stuff came from.

    Just goes to show; A well meaning idiot is way worse then an evil genius.


    January 31, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Respect to all you wrote.

  98. yolanda

    January 31, 2014 at 5:20 am


  99. Sara

    January 31, 2014 at 6:47 am

    OMG. BRAVO. Just please ignore people who seem to absolutely have no sensibility for things that are outside of their little box of “Chanel hand bags and Dior jackets”.

    If one has actually travelled the world and seen other cultures, it is obvious and completely unquestionable that style and a sense for color, shapes, design has NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING to do with money. And if you haven’t traveled, then just get a copy or two of some old National Geographic.

    Keep these pictures coming. They are awesome! They put you in a different class from those paparazzi-like fashion-show hunters.


  100. KandidaIris

    January 31, 2014 at 9:59 am

    My reaction to this is: Why don’t you just ask your subjects / objects how mush thought they put into their outfits and find out?!!!!! (they are capable of speaking for themselves y’know).

  101. Suzanne Nelson

    January 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Sart for opening up debate . I think too that we need to look at what is ‘poor’. Is this man poor in money terms, relative to other people in other parts of the world? I’m sure that’s a reasonable assumption. But is he ‘poor’ in spirit, in friends, family, the quality of his personal relationships? Is he ‘poor’ in intelligence, both intellectual and emotional? Is his he ‘poor’ in life experience and wisdom? Is he ‘poor’ in the contribution he makes to his society? Is he ‘poor’ in his love and enjoyment of life? We don’t know, it’s impossible to tell from a photograph, but ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ are not terms exclusively applied the amount of money in your bank account or the extent of your credit lines nor are those things only what matters, life and people have many, many dimensions.

  102. Lulu

    January 31, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Ah, these last series of Morocco posts + comments have reignited my interest in this blog again. I confess the luxury hotel shots and the prevalence of insider, haute couture scenes was starting to get me down. But the reason, really, that I keep coming back to this site are the stunning, inspiring shots of human individuals. The ingenuity, creativity and aesthetic inclination of humans — a broad swathe — are what this is about. Your photos are among the most exciting I’ve seen. Thank you!

  103. Lucinda Keller

    January 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Great shot! I love him and he is fabulous.
    No accident there. Even traveling nomads in Pakistan
    choose their garments for specific reasons, even when little
    is available- same for the embellishments, they create.

  104. Maija

    January 31, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Loving pictures that awake this much conversation. When I read Laura’s comment, I felt that something I wanted to tell my roommate once was expressed there in a way I wish to have been able to express back then. I have visited places were life and living differs a lot from what is referred to as “quality living” in the Western world, but I have always been mesmerized by the ways people dress. There are stylish and less stylish people everywhere, those who care deeply about what they are wearing and those who don’t. Style has NOTHING to do with money.

  105. Trinity

    January 31, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    And there is a grey t-shirt underneath. Looks like he is dressing for warmth! He is so great looking! He reminds me of the weathered faced Mexican farmers, who live up the street from me, who wear suits and straw hats.

    I am curious how one defines the difference between what is poor and what is poverty. That is very thought provoking, indeed and just begs the question. I am not sure what the difference is, because years ago when I was poor, I was technically at the poverty level, but no one who knew me would ever have known.

  106. Trinity

    January 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    “…but they probably do not consciously or for the same reasons that people usually do in other places as Paris, New York, etc.”

    Why not? Wouldn’t anyone want to be sharp for the people they want to impress in their own hometown?
    Wait a minute, are you saying that the fashionable people in those places might not care so much about looking good for themselves or to impress friends so much as they’d rather be considered relevant, in the “in crowd” or be on a “hot list”?

  107. Shari

    February 1, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Hey Scott, I like your approach and adore the pics but I think it is very ignorant to assume these people are poor. I don’t know where you shot these images exactly but I can tell you as a person who comes from a developing country and still has a lot of family there it is not easy to recognize wealth so easy.
    Look once we used to dress in ethnic wear but then cultural and political changes came and everybody was obstructed to wear some kind of western clothes. Very often in grayish, brownish colors… I like to call them dust colors. For the foreigners eye the clothes in your pictures may seem shabby but at the same time they are day clothing, working clothing. In daytime my grandfather dresses the very same way as the men pictured, of course with some changes, and he is faaaar from poor. Actually all men of his age at my home city Tabriz in Iran do that. You can see those around the bazaar going after their business or at public places chilling. And they care a lot about their appearance. Especially cleanliness and color coordination. A little bit of bright color is ok but nothing screaming. Wearing too much color is not considered age age approbate.

  108. Kate

    February 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Why is the assumption that someone who has less money than you is therefore uninterested in style, art, etc.? Truly, I’m shocked to read the patronizing and belittling comments on this thread. Human beings are defined by culture — by art, by fashion, by music, by poetry, etc. Culture is what makes us human and it is therefore universal. Scott’s blog celebrates the culture of fashion around the world. Open your eyes and minds to it and leave your classism behind. Please!

  109. Metatron

    February 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    One thing that may have been overlooked is that this gentleman is old enough to remember the 1940s and 1950s when it was common to combine a sports coat with patterned knitwear. I think that is a big part of the equation.

    Michaela’s post is spot on. He is dressed like a typical old gentleman with a few regional pieces thrown in.

  110. jane

    February 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    i too love these shots of people that do not deliberately walk the style path, they just have it, natural style, no effort required

  111. jose carlos

    February 1, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Hellooooo.I ve been in Maroco a lot of times,maybe 10,12 and i can assure you that of course,people,poor or lees poor,they try to make his day always a better day,and even trying to match their clothes without forget they on traditions.Jelaba yes,on top of very colorful clothes,they also mist a lot of american and european brands,friends or tourists give then has a present for being so sweet and so autistic.Very good posts…

  112. jose carlos

    February 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Friends,go to Peru and Guatemala and you will be a lot more surprised.

  113. Thomas Johnson

    February 2, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Very inspiring gentleman, great style. Someone who has lived life. Respect

  114. karolina

    February 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Scott,with a lot of respect what You have contributed to the fashion photography, please keep on doing your fantastic job and don’t theorize the photography, the others have done this before (look: Susan Sontag). The poverty cames out from some of the coments. The commentators writing: …”yes I think this is more Dries then Dries”…are more poor then poor.

  115. Dean

    February 2, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Anyone can see that this is a pic of Tom Waits.

  116. jay

    February 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I think if you asked he may not even consider himself ‘poor’. Wealth is relative.

  117. Ana

    February 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I really like this photograph because in an essence you have captured the etiquette of an older generation. This man reminds me a little of my own grandfather who always wore his best to go anywhere, even the park. When I was younger, I hated his old clothes and wondered why he wouldn’t modernize. Now reflecting back, I realize that the older generations were taught to always sport their best and it was an embarrassment to appear in any other way (like raggedy jeans and a torn t-shirt for example). I imagine that the man above is one who feels social responsibility to dress well in public. While he might not have studied fashion- let us remember that we can differentiate between style and fashion. Indeed without the everyday life styles of various cultures and people there would be no fashion. Clothes are a minuscule part of how we present our selves in our entire style.

  118. cloglo

    February 3, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    I am just thinking that if Sart similarly randomly shot my aged father…who has his sartorial moments, in rural Jamaica…as he often will just sit by the roadside in quiet contemplation or recovering his breath from maybe too far a stroll…after having worked hard all his life as an educated professional…who semi-retired to run the extensive family farm which helped school his 5 children and extended family members into all kinds of middle class professionals ourselves scattered across the globe living lives of relative privilege…with his pension, savings and ongoing income from the still actively staffed land allowing want for very little…he too maybe being cast as poor or in poverty…by the gaze from “westerners” with a single story about everywhere else, everyone else not fitting neatly in their stereotyped idea of class, wealth, fashion, style…and more importantly the taste and agency to determine sartorial choices… so thankfully like many commenting, having a father like him down to the worn, aged hands and tired face, I imagine so many scenarios for this man that could be in dire poverty, poor, working poor, lower middle class, upper middle class, upper class/wealthy…but regardless he made or had made for him some wicked stylistic choices (cos many of us shop for and dress our relatively poorer parents or sartorially challenged parents)…which really isn’t that far from style any and everywhere else in the world…

  119. tengu

    February 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I find it a bit distressing to see so may assumptions being made about this man.

    We know what we know from Scott’s amazing and loving picture.

    We know this man takes care of himself. His clothes, his hands his hair, nothing is shabby, nothing is frayed, nothing is dirty.

    We know two things, he can dress AND he has a favorite hat, other than that , it’s all a wonderful mystery presented to us by the genius of Scott’s eye.

    Dario said it simply and best:
    “bellissimo contrasto di tessuti e materiale”

    See you in the Fortezza!

  120. Simone Fraser

    February 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

    These comments have been very interesting, as things do when go a bit socio-political.
    I simply enjoy the man’s outfit.

  121. Chelsea Xu

    February 10, 2014 at 4:00 am

    I was reflecting what was fashion and whether fashion had comparative degree, who is more fashionable or who is not when I first saw your pic. Then I read your comment below. Though I haven’t find the anwser, I come to realise that at least everyone has a right to appreciate and wear with care. Thanks.

  122. linda

    February 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    think about the colours in the national flag!
    Thats why moroccan men like greens and reds… and Gucci :-)

  123. Maria

    February 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Interesting argument.

    Nevertheless, this is an amazing protrait.
    I cant explain why.


  124. Marc

    February 14, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    I went to Marocco two hundred years ago,or was it 1985 with the British Army in the Atlas mountains,I loved the place.Great photo and very interesting.

  125. Fernande Delacroix

    April 23, 2014 at 1:57 am

    About the gentleman whose thought was that these clothes came from a dump… I’ve been trying, of late, to balance my wardrobe so that some of it comes from the Salvation Army and other thrift shops. I like the idea of repurposing. I still buy upscale but my heart is more and more turning away from consumption and towards a “quieter” approach to fashion. Anna Wintour may not like that idea so much but now that I’m less of a consumer and less driven by what she and other people tell me to wear, I feel much happier, less controlled by advertising. It’s like breaking a fever. My bank account feels happier too.

  126. Calvin Klein 365

    July 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I take pleasure in, lead to I discovered exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  127. MLD15514226

    October 7, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Wonderful post. I really enjoy and appreciate your work and your blog.

  128. Txeimon

    March 17, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Nice picture!!! I’m sure that this man is happier than people with much money or better clothes. Thanks.

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