What you spot people wearing on the streets of Papua New Guinea (PNG) never fails to amaze me and make me smile. I can sense that this love may well become one of my photographic obsessions, but who can’t fail to have their heart warmed by seeing a man confidently carrying a bright pink backpack, or spying a burly highlands man wearing a dressing gown with a fluffy collar! But for the first installment of my PNG style series my focus is definitely on head wear…
Standard driving material
Casually driving down Modilion road and cheekily peaking out of a PMV is this smiley fellow, wearing a fabulous, fuzzy blue wig.
Lost in translation
The huge second hand shops are the place to go to get your fashion fix in PNG. Massive bundles of clothes and accessories are shipped in from Australia to fill the giant stores. Quite often what makes sense in the fashion stakes and the slogans that are branded across the clothes are completely lost in a Pacific context. I’m pretty certain that this lovely, helpful hospital cleaner isn’t really ‘getting on one’ but it is a very practical cap to keep the sun off of your head!
When I saw the fabulous, funky Mrs Binabina fusing her meri blaus and highlands bilum with such a strongly messaged slogan on her cap I had to capture the moment. Although perhaps another slogan lost in translation, with the expression meaning ‘calm down’, wearing it at the Madang Festival was probably quite fitting!
Morobe fashion fusion
Well what can I say about the strong look on this fellow? At first I thought that it was all about the fact that he was wearing safety goggles as sunglasses, but actually it is his whole look…the flourescent pink and yellow shirt with the cargo fishing jacket over the top, teamed with the stylish trilby hat and his classic leather strapped time piece. Priceless.
Back of the truck, Karkar style
Overtaking trucks on coconut tree inhabited Karkar, I spotted this young man wearing one of the fluffiest, tea cosy hats i’ve ever seen. These head covers are far more common in scorching PNG than you might expect!
One of the lovely VSO security guards, Henry, is always a man who cares about his style! On this day he’d customised his hat to give his head some breathing space…not surprised that he needed the ventilation as he manned the gate in scorching, sunny Madang!
The sunglasses question
Now this poses one of my favourite PNG questions. I am yet to get to the bottom of it, so PNG poros do assist with potential answers. A common trend that you frequently spot is people wearing sunglasses with the labels still stuck on them. Is it a style thing? I’m fairly sure that it is quite obstructing to your view everyday. This PMV driver has taken it to the next level with his sunnies. Not only does he have the sticker but he also has the tag still attached – surely this must get annoying when it is banging on his nose!
Just another Monday outfit
And to wrap up this first style installment, what better way than with this chap, casually headed off to work with his tuxedo t-shirt, screwdriver in hand.
Thank you PNG for being so wonderful! I’m sure that there will be more to follow for this PNG style series.