WATCH: The Sierra Leoneans Turning Your Vinnies Threads Into Street Style

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, fashion is serious business. Locals get most of their clothes at ‘the junks’, a clothing market where all the unwanted thrift shop and donated clothes from Australia, the United States, and Europe end up (‘junks’ is a local term for used clothes). They then take them to one of over 8,000 tailors in the city – there’s practically one on every street corner – to give them a proper fit. 

A new series exploring the unique style and sub-cultures in Freetown launches on ABC iView tomorrow night. Fashion is a way for locals to rise above the realities of day-to-day life, and with a civil war and the Ebola crisis behind them – the latter of which claimed 4,000 lives – you could say that Freetown residents have dealt with a lot of shit. 

It’s called ‘Fashpack: Freetown‘, and it’s the work of Sydney girl Jo Dunlop, who travelled to Sierra Lone in the midst of the Ebola crisis to volunteer. She started documenting the incredible street style and stories of those working on the frontline of the Ebola crisis on her blog ‘Freetown Fashpack‘ (clearly the doco got the old name switcheroo), which is now crossing over into a web series.
It launches tomorrow night – check out the sneak peeks below:

Introducing part-time sprinter, full-time lover, and resident of Freetown’s biggest slum, I-B Love. He’s one of the many fashion-focused characters of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown who have created their identity through what they wear. For I-B Love, it’s all about bluffing – dressing with swag like you’re worth a million dollars. Catch him in ABC iview Arts’ new series Fashpack: Freetown which peels back the colourful layers of the unlikely fashion hot spot. Launching Tuesday!

Posted by ABC ARTS on Thursday, 10 March 2016

“The best way we can show that we are strong is with what we wear. You have to feel good every single day when you go out because every day is a struggle.” Marry-Ann of brand Madame WokieMary-Anne is one of the few Sierra Leone designers who has made international success with her Africana inspired designs. She’s also one of the many characters in the ABC iview Arts channel’s new web series Fashpack: Freetown which follows the self-created fashionistas of the African city. Launching this Tuesday!GLOBAL FASHPACK

Posted by ABC ARTS on Thursday, 10 March 2016

“You need to make yourself very decent, and extraordinary.”Introducing Great Hero – delivery driver, street preacher and philosopher who is testament to the art of self-belief and killer threads. Great Hero is one of the many charismatic, fashion-focused characters in ABC iview Arts’ new six-part web series Fashpack: Freetown. Follow the vibrant personalities of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown; a civil war battleground, Ebola epicenter, poverty-stricken community, and fashion hot spot. Fashpack: Freetown – on ABC Arts iview next Tuesday March 15.

Posted by ABC ARTS on Monday, 7 March 2016

[PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke to Jo about the Ebola crisis it in November 2014, read her interview HERE.]  

Photo: ABC Arts / Facebook.