Photographer Turns Dapper 83-Year-Old Into a One-Man Fashion Photo Blog


Zoe Spawton earns a living working as a waitress in Berlin. While setting up the restaurant’s sidewalk furniture at 9am, the 29-year-old Australian photographer regularly encounters Ali, an 83-year-old man who always seems to dress fashionably and obviously takes great pride in his appearance.

After a few weeks of befriending Ali, Spawton began to document the man’s outfits through portraits reminiscent of The Sartorialist. Soon, these portraits became a full blown project titled What Ali Wore.

It’s a fashion photo blog with Ali as its sole subject. The site’s tagline: “This is Ali. He walks past my work every morning wearing great clothes.”

The collection of photos isn’t an expansive one — there are just over 30 at the moment — and Spawton didn’t have an answer for us when we asked her how long she thinks the project can continue (something that’s probably limited by how many outfits Ali can assemble).

However, the website went viral this past week after the photographs were shared through Reddit. Commenters remarked on how smartly Ali dressed, the personality captured by the portraits, and his “gangsta lean.”

Spawton has since been busy responding to interview requests from media organizations all over the world that are interested in learning more about the photos and about Ali.




















On the technical side, the photographs are simple and consistent: they were all shot using a Canon 7D and a 50mm lens.

As the project progressed, Spawton learned more and more about Ali’s life and background. He’s a retired doctor who now works six days a week at a nearby tailoring shop — sometimes fashioning his own clothes. Originally from Turkey, Ali has now lived in Berlin for over 44 years. Oh, and he also has 18 children.

You can see more of Spawton’s portraits of Ali — and follow along with the project — over on the project’s website.

What Ali Wore by Zoe Spawton (via DPReview and CNN)

Image credits: Photographs by Zoe Spawton and used with permission

  • Norshan Nusi

    He is one of the coolest old man I ever see!~

  • Umair

    that’s the spirit to live your life. #respect

  • BeJay

    Wonderful! I bet it is a joy for that gentleman as well!

  • David Johnson

    This is how to dress properly. Fashionable, modern, and age-appropriate.

    Also, that lean is fantastic. Such charisma.

  • Max

    What’s under the hat?

  • Joseph Manayan


  • TheFrog

    Cool story. Her lens suffers from a pretty bad case of color fringing though …

  • junyo

    Well we all know it’s a documented scientific fact that every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man. 18 kids? That’s g’d up enough right there.

  • Tommy Sar

    That old cat’s got swagger that’ll make you stagger.

  • Sid Ceaser

    Look at that lean. LOOK AT IT! This guy is FULL of awesomesauce. Bravo! And Ali – keep being ass-kickingly-awesome!

  • Denn-Ice

    Gotta love stuff like this and he has so much style. Lots of respect to both of them.

  • Fanechka Bronson

    John. if you, thought Patricia`s artlclee is astonishing… on friday I got a great Audi Quattro when I got my check for $9019 this last month and-over, $10 thousand last month. it’s certainly the best work I’ve ever had. I started this six months/ago and almost straight away was bringin home minimum $72 per hour. I work through this website ………. BIT40. ℂom

  • Drazen B.

    Fantastic! And that camo suit with a man-bag combo in the second pic is to die for ;-)

  • dorabowers

    If you think Don`s story is neat…, 1 weak-ago my daughter in law also made the small fortune of $7919 working 10 hours a week from home and the’re neighbor’s sister`s neighbour did this for 7-months and earnt more than $7919 parttime from a mac. apply the instructions here, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

  • @posesakwardly

    With swagger like that it’s no surprise he has 18 children.

  • Helen Koba

    He is so cool.

  • Hawa Zen

    that could be easily adjusted in post though

  • Lois Bryan

    Very cool!!!!