Friday, 25 January 2013

Dress Code

When does ethnic attire or traditional dress become standard everyday wear? The lawyer in his western grey pin stripe, pink tie and patent glossy leather shoes, leaving the ‘palace de justice’, is as traditionally dressed as his blue jeaned, bomber jacketed client, who’s now handcuffed to a traditionally uniformed policeman. Both awaiting some transportation: the paddy wagon. Or is it his distraught, extended family who’re watching from across the street? She, red eyed, in her bright, multicoloured shawls, brown bowler hat and suckling son. 

The kilt is portrayed as quintessential Scot’s traditional, but there’s not many tramline layers in Edinburgh’s Princes Street wearing one. There the ethnic code is the butt cleft and hard hat, the sectarian clash of green and maroon, of steelies and hoodies. Yet do the overseas visitors stop to photograph them as piece of local colour, in much the same way that I want to capture each Bolivian image with a normally attired local? Maybe it’s because here they, and it’s the women in the main, have clung to their culture and dared to be different. Where we now pander to the boredom of a pan global clothing ethic that’s epitomised by football colours and the baseball cap.