55-year-old Slavik, a homeless man from the Ukrainian city of Lviv, is making waves online with his outrageous fashion choices. Although he appears disheveled, he puts together stylish outfits using the various articles of clothing that he picks up from the city’s trash bins and homeless aid centers. He changes clothes at least twice a day and never wears the same outfits. He also styles his hair and beard to match each ensemble, and even shaves his armpits!
Slavik’s unique grooming routine was introduced to the world by Ukrainian photographer Yurko Dyachyshyn. Yurko was drawn to Slavik while working on a project in the city center; he noticed Slavik approaching strangers asking for spare change. Soon, he began photographing the homeless man’s sartorial choices, paying him roughly $1 per meeting.
“Slavik is the most fashionable homeless in the world. He is a homeless gypsy but not an ordinary one,” Yurko explained. “His way of life is different that of other homeless. He does not carry lots of bags, nor does he rummage in the trash cans. He has a hiding place and nobody knows about it. He keeps the secret of his home.”
As he spent more time with Slavik, Yurko realized that the man’s topmost priority was to maintain a sense of inner calm amidst the chaos of the city. He seemed to suffer from some kind of mental imbalance, making it difficult for him to accurately describe his life story.
But Yurko persisted – he kept visiting Slavik every few months over the course of two years. Although it was difficult for him to know exactly where to find his muse in the crowd, he always managed to spot Slavik eventually. The two became friends – Slavik also began to seek Yurko out to show off his latest outfit. He would vanish for a while, only to return to the city and ask around for Yurko.
Unfortunately, Slavik was last spotted in January 2013. The photographer has not seen him since, but holds on to the hope that they will reunite someday.
Photos © Yurko Dyachyshyn
via Feature Shoot