Ethiopian Tribes Are Using Western Cast-Offs to Make Some Amazing Style Statements

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Ethiopian boy wearing bottle capsImage: Eric Lafforgue

For better or worse, there’s no denying that the relentless march of globalization has transformed the world in which many of us live – and, as a result, modern man has become somewhat of a sophisticated master of technology. Yet on the frontiers of global development, where ancient ways endure and the roots of modernization run shallow, the merging of tribal and global influences is producing some eye-catching results, not least in the realm of fashion.

Omo Valley Tribe
Image: Eric Lafforgue

The Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia is home to around 200,000 indigenous people, split across eight tribes, who have inhabited the region since time immemorial. French photographer Eric Lafforgue has spent several years documenting how these people have changed under the influence of modern manufactured goods, some of which have bizarrely become must-have fashion accessories.

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Omo Valley Tribe
Image: Eric Lafforgue

In fact, when speaking to lifestyle and subculture blog The Other, Lafforgue explained how a person’s style and their attire are important symbols of status among the Bana, Dassanech and Mursi tribes of the Omo Valley.

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