Last year I bought a lovely piece of Valentino fabric in Florence to make a skirt. It is similar to this, possibly without the broad white bit, but same green and pale grey. (I had never thought of this green with pale grey before but it is a great combination.)
I am uneasy about such pictures in a fashion blog. I believe this boy did not think about fashion when choosing to wear this sarong. It’s more likely he did not have many clothes to choose from. It’s a bit weird to discuss his fashion sense. We shouldn’t be praising a “stunning shade of orange” of, say, prisoners’ uniforms, either.
I disagree. Poor, wealthy, it does not matter. We as human beings have always adorned our bodies, whether it be through jewellry (which this gentleman is clearly wearing, and I believe was a conscious choice to wear one singular bracelet on one hand, and two on the other that in turn match the pattern of his necklace), the painting of our faces, the piercings of the skin, to the decorated cloth we choose to wear on a daily basis even if our choice is few and far between, there is a silent dignity no matter what class you belong to in the way your present yourself to the world. That is the beauty of these photographs they connect us by our similarities not our differences. And it is up to you what you choose to take from this particular photograph, but there is no shame in appreciating the beauty of colour and form in this gentleman’s choice or lack of choice in attire this particular day. And personally I do think he has put thought into the way he has adorned his body. Poverty does not mean turning a blind eye to style.
Everyone has a story. But does it evoke an emotional response? This is an everyday life in India. Sure you don’t see it here in the USA, but nothing out of the ordinary. Is it worth a photograph posting? Anyway, I love your work , and my 2c
I am uneasy about such pictures as well. Not only is the scene common in India, but the choice of the boy’s clothing is telling as to the circumstances in which he was photographed. The sarong that he is wearing is a towel made of indigenous fabric. He is wearing it because he is headed for a bath (possibly a public bath or a toilet). The location says that he might have been passing through a camping space which depending upon the time of your visit could have been the legendary camel fair of Pushkar. Whatever the background, there is no escaping the fact that his living conditions are extremely wretched and his sartorial choice is not a choice at all.
And that is the problem with this image, compared to all the beautiful pictures you post every day of men and women who make amazing choices in everyday fashion, whether in Florence, Paris, Mumbai or New York.
I disagree with you. This man may be on his way to a public bath, but that does not mean that his living conditions are wretched or that he has no choice in his dressing. Even assuming that he can not afford much more than a towel to clothe himself, he still has a choice of towel, right? Besides the towel there are the choice of shoes and jewelry and grooming. I think it is unfair to proclaim that people who do not have access to the “amazing choices” you refer to, have no say in the manner in which they dress themselves.
Besides, part of the appeal of this blog is that it also documents the grooming and dressing of people who don’t hang out outside fashion shows.
As a weaver, the first thing that caught my eye was the fabric. But what gives fabric life is the individual wearing it and this capture is of a young man who looks like he has stories worth a listen. Thanks! I like it.
I’m amused at all the discussion on the fabric that this man is wearing. It is a towel! In India, many people do not use fluffy terry cloth towels. The kind of towel in this photo is used by people from all classes, it is not restricted to the economically disadvantaged. My parents still prefer these to terry cloth towels although we have both kinds at home. These are cotton and woven (by hand loom or machine loom) and are available in a variety of patterns and colours. Many are the checks pattern as seen in this photo. But these are also available in stripes, woven geometric patterns and prints.
I think this is a lovely photograph, I do not mean to degrade the discussion on the style/fabric. Just thought I’d inform fellow readers around the world :)
I love this website, but photos of “everyday” life in a poor(er) country always make me uncomfortable. I’ve been struggling with why exactly, and I think it’s because the vast majority of photos that Scott posts from NY, Milan, Paris, London (wealthy cities) are not of everyday people but of highly stylized fashion conscious people. People who are on the cutting edge of fashion in their respective cities, attending fashion shows etc. He rarely posts photos of the everyday person from these places, i.e the middle aged store clerk, or garbage man or suburban mom. And that is fine of course. But when he visits “exotic” places it is predominantly pictures of these everyday and frankly impoverished people that he seems to find photogenic, not the urban fashionistas and it feels a bit voyeuristic. There is also something very naive about us saying that everyone has a choice of what to wear. Technically yes but in reality the “fashion choice” that this boy made can in no way be compared to the choice that a fashion editor makes when they wake up each morning or when they’re attending NY fashion week. And these are the pictures that are more commonly seen when Scott photographs in NAmerica/Europe.