Ethiopian tribes repurposing Western goods for fashion

The world of international consumerism has slowly made its way to the Daasanach region, home to traditional Ethiopian tribes. Mass produced products, particularly those made in China have made their way to the tribes, changing the traditional attires in Ethiopia.

While the tribes all continue to use the same techniques as their ancestors, there is a new interest in western fashion items. Their natural inquisitiveness to use foreign and modern styles with traditional tribal attire has given them a unique look. The men in this region are just as interested in fashion as women, routinely wearing both clips and flowers, purely for aesthetics. Many Daasanach tribes will use old watches and other discarded pieces of technology to decorate headdresses.

Recycling is an important principle in the region and among the most striking sets of images is a woman who’d created exuberant wigs from bottle caps and other FMCG packaged products. When asked, members of the Daasanach tribe said that the strong presence of football jerseys had nothing to do with an interest in football itself, but rather the colours just blended well with their traditional aesthetic, complementing beads, necklaces and headdresses.

These images were taken by the phenomenal photographer Eric Lafforgue, who’s travelled the world, living among people in many hard-to-reach places and telling their stories with his camera. and you can follow him on twitter here: @ericlafforgue