As men’s Fashion Week is upon us and once again the fashion capitals fill up with the well-dressed elite, I would like to remind everyone that style isn’t synonymous with snobbery by introducing you to a homeless man so creative, the whole world is his runway.
Meet Slavik, Ukraine’s most fashionable citizen. He once wandered around the city of Lviv in a different outfit every day, occasionally asking for change but never harassing anyone. Slavik’s wardrobe is comprised of what he finds in the trash and donations at homeless shelters. Discovered in 2011 by photographer Yuko Dyachyshyn, the project “Slavik’s Fashion” was born. For two years, Dyachyshyn photographed Slavik, who was delighted to be his model and the two would search public places until they had found one another.
He carried no bags with personal belongings as many homeless people do, but rather sported a cigarette or a bottle of beer (although he is not an alcoholic). Despite the fact that he considered Dyachyshyn a friend, Slavik never revealed his personal history. No one knows where he came from but reading Dyachyshyn’s website, it seems that Slavik may have a mental handicap.
“Slavik says that you should care about health and keep away from those who could ruin your peace of mind… Slavik still has a sense of beauty, style and fashion and his suits are not random. It is not accidental that he changes them every day, adjusting them carefully to weather and season.” – Dyachyshyn
In January 2013 Slavik disappeared, and Dyachyshyn’s “attempts to search for him failed.” The photographer then began a second project, called “Slavik Super Star.” Reflecting on the fact that, “in order to appear on the cover of a magazine (even if you are a celebrity) you have to get into trouble or die. Immediately everybody recalls all your merit, achievements or sins and for a few days, weeks or months you are a star.”
Dyachyshyn began creating collages, pasting Slavik’s portaits on the cover of Vogue, Glamour, GQ. Here are a few examples of his “what if” magazine covers…
I hope that Slavik turns up one day and lands a modeling job. For now, he’ll rest an inspiration and a testament to the fact that money can’t buy ingenuity.
For more information and photos of Slavik, visit Yurko Dyachyshan’s webpage.
About this contributor:
Rozena Crossman moved to Paris on a whim in July 2011. A professional adventurer, she is relentlessly improving her linguistics in both English and French at the Graduate School of Life.