From being an anonymous homeless man to becoming a fashion icon for his internationally recognised style, this is the story of Slavik that emerges as a true tale of transformation.
Roaming the streets of Lviv (Ukraine), Slavik was, is and will be a revelation in the fashion world. It all started when photographer Yurko Dyachyshyn was wandering the streets of Ukraine and met Slavik, a man of the street who stood out for his great fashion sense. This made Yurko decide to get to know Slavik better, capturing his different looks for two years.
The photographer commented that the clothes the homeless man wore were found in the rubbish and in shelters where people donated them; Slavik almost never wore the same clothes, which drew attention to the preconceived idea we have of the aesthetics of a homeless man. In addition to daily changes of clothes, Slavik also changed his hairstyle and the shape of his beard on a regular basis.
After Slavik posed for more than 100 portraits, the photographer created the project ‘Slavik’s Fashion’, available at dyachyshyn.com and an Instagram profile with the different looks. “Slavik has a great sense of beauty, style and fashion, and his looks are not random. It’s no coincidence that she changes them every day and carefully adjusts them to match the weather and the season.”
What started as a celebration of her originality quickly turned into exploitation. By sharing her looks on Instagram, her style quickly began to be trivially copied by big brands and internationally known designers. They appropriated her image and her creations without her consent and, worst of all, without credit or compensation.
World-renowned experts took an interest in the vagabond. Hundreds of magazines and blogs wrote about Slavik, among the best known Vogue Paris and Esquire. Venerable couturiers wanted to meet the tramp. Unfortunately, this story did not have a happy ending. In 2013, Slavik disappeared. No one knows where he went, but he was never seen again on the streets of Lviv.
Almost 10 years later, Slavik’s story is still alive. The fashion house Vetements launched a collection whose images have been literally copied from the homeless man. Yurko Dyachyshyn, author of the project “Slavik’s Fashion”, specially published on his profile a comparison of Vetements trends with photos of the missing homeless man. The resemblance is striking.
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