Namibia's Herero: amazing fashion derived from early 20th century German colonizers


16 Responses to “Namibia's Herero: amazing fashion derived from early 20th century German colonizers”

  1. et50 says:

    Unfortunate that Jim Naughten didn’t bother to record the names of his subjects. He gets a “gorgeous gallery of photos” published in Wired and bb – the Herero tribe gets what?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:


    • OliveGreenapple says:

      Are you sure he didn’t record them at all, or that they just aren’t included? Maybe they weren’t introduced, and he wasn’t given much option of interaction? I don’t see this as concern trolling, so much as difference of interests. When I take pictures of people it’s because I find *them* interesting. So I get it. In a way though, that can be MORE dehumanizing.

      At the same time, this isn’t me, and it’s specifically about the clothes. The word “supermodel” just means “model whose name you actually know” after all. That’s not an accident. The rest are human clothes hangers (said without contempt… I actually was one.)

      No, there are things here that smack of “look at the funny natives” but I don’t know that it is really the photographer’s fault. Once an image is taken people can use it in a lot of ways. If you look at the pictures *only* as pictures, and just don’t read any text… do you feel like they are disrespectful of the people?

      I think that is a better measure of the artist than what captions various journalists included or didn’t include.

  2. Boundegar says:

    So instead of worshiping the Bringers of Cargo, these guys kicked their asses? You gotta respect that.

  3. voiceinthedistance says:

    Love the photos; don’t love the tone of the Wired article.  I appreciate the fact that Cory’s headline seems  more sympathetic, and does not have the takeaway of “look at the funny black people”, as the Wired headline does.  Somehow, the way Wired labels their garb as costumes seems particularly smug and dismissive to me.  Perhaps Wired just needs to hone their skills a bit in the ethnographic reporting genre.

    • Emily Bond says:

      Saying these are “costume”, i.e. a recognizable style/culture of clothing, is not at all the same as saying these
      are “costumes”, i.e. clothes put on to appear as someone/something else.

      “Costume”, in this context, is actually entirely respectful and appropriate. You’ll see books intended for fashion/costume/textile professionals and historians with names like “A History of English Fashion and Costume 1000-1900″, and museum departments named things like “Costume and Textiles”. Also the book linked above, which this article is based on.

      “Fashion” is an industry that involves publications and named couturiers, or at the very least rapidly changing styles – a fairly recent development, historically speaking. “Costume” is used for historical garments (the Roman toga is “costume”, not “fashion”), and for the traditional ethnic garb of a people, especially in the context of ‘national costume’ or ‘folk costume’, which tends to remain quite stable, not follow trends (see:

      So the kimono is the national costume of Japan, the kilt is the (men’s) national costume of Scotland, and this is the tribal costume of the Herero. It’s no less respectful to go “check out the Herero tribe’s amazing costume culture” than it is to go “check out these amazing kimono”.

  4. Doctor Device says:

    the man in yellow has panache. I’ve never had occasion to use that word before, but I think it applies here.

  5. Jake0748 says:

    So. Looking like some cop with blood on his shirt is a fashion now?  FTW. 

  6. Boris Bartlog says:

    There’s still a few Germans in Namibia: . Some of them are kind of nutty though.

  7. Manny says:

    “Women are expected to sashay in the style of a slow moving cow.” VINE!

  8. kartwaffles says:

    “They are a people now. Zone-Hereros in exile for two generations.” -

  9. bombblastlightningwaltz says:

    The history of German influence upon this country is disturbing. Surviving and claiming incorporation the oppressor’s insigna shows continued resolve if not grit. 

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