Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Woman in Patchwork Dress.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Cadet in a Blue Hat.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Cadet in Cardboard Hat.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Woman in Pink Dress.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Cavalry Men.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Woman in Pink and Pattern Dress.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Man in Yellow Suit.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Man with Cow’s Head.

Herero Tribe in Namibia Photographed by Jim Naughten | Yellowtrace
Herero Cavalry Marching.

 

Namibia has had a tumultuous and violent past. One that might not at first seem synonymous with art or fashion. But that’s what London based photographer Jim Naughten has done – brought conflict and costume paradoxically together.

In the early 20th century the German’s colonised Namibia and with it, the nomadic tribes of Namibia started getting around in Victorian dresses and paramilitary costumes. When war broke out, tribal death rates climbed and identity became important. As did the very real issue of clothing. Garments were in short supply. As each Herero tribe member killed a German soldier, they’d strip the solder bare and wear the outfit themselves.

Whilst the wars are now over, the tradition of wearing German military outfits and Victorian dresses is not. Adaptation has been the key to this adopted fashion longevity. What is most notable is that lending from other cultures has become a source of pride. Looking at the subject’s in Naughten’s photographs you can see the self-respect and dignity in their eyes. Sure the outfits look crazy as hell and almost comical in their application. But there is nothing comical about the sincerity in which they wear them, or the crazy, artistic creativity they have used to modify them. And who doesn’t like a bit crazy? Especially when it’s carried off with dignity, honour and pride.

 

Related Post: Before They Pass Away by Jimmy Nelson.

 


[Images © Jim Naughten.]

 

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