#112 Creating their own Fashion
Submitted by AP
When the EAW first steps off the plane, he or she will usually be dressed as if going on a long hiking expedition, with items mostly found at REI. This fresh-off-the-plane look includes a large Northface backpack, hiking boots, t-shirts, droopy vests, and khaki cargo pants, inspired by Crocodile Dundee and Indiana Jones. It doesn’t matter if they are in cosmopolitan fashionable cities like Mumbai, Nairobi, or Bangkok, the EAW will always look like he or she is headed for the jungle.
Soon, the EAW will realize that this is ridiculous and impacts the blending in process. So the EAW will graduate to buying local clothing in order to fit in, bonus points if it comes from a local fair trade shop or street market (in the latter case, the EAW can also brag about what a bargain it was and tell a good story about how they haggled for it). In tropical heat, no EAW wants to wear business clothes to work like their local colleagues, so they aim for fabrics that “breathe” like linen and cotton.
EAWs in Africa will look to the film “Out of Africa” for inspiration, donning a large sun hat, khakis, and white linen shirt. In fact, EAWs will be so proud of their new creativity in their fashion that they will lament on how they can’t wear such cool and unique pieces at home.
Shawls (a.k.a. pashminas or scarves) are a favorite in any developing country as they can be bought locally and are multi-functional.
But what about clothing that is too different, like in South Asia? Surely an EAW can’t wear a sari daily like their maid or a dhoti like the driver? No problem, EAWs create their own fashion, wearing Ali baba pants, bindis, a shawl, and linen kurthas so they can kinda dress Indian.
Although the hiking clothing eventually manifests itself into some strange hybrid of east-west clothing, the one thing an EAW will never compromise on is footwear. You can always spot EAWs easily, even if they are dressed like the locals.
This is because EAWs will never wear local shoes. They maintain that only western shoes were designed with the right balance and comfort for unpaved roads, and will only wear Chacos, Timberlands, Tevas, or some other form of unflattering footwear.