The African Tribe That Still Wears Victorian Clothing

Layers of petticoats, puffy sleeves, and a headpiece made to look like cow horns: this is the Victorian-style fashion that’s been in vogue for more than 100 years among Namibia’s Herero people. For over a century, these women have fiercely protected their dress as a crucial part of their cultural identity. Called ohorokova, the dresses — which are handmade — are seen as a rite of passage into womanhood for the Herero. By wearing the long dress, a newly-married woman shows her in-laws that she’s willing to take up the responsibilities of a Herero home and will raise her children to respect their heritage and their father’s family. Each stitch weaves Herero past and present, making sure that even after more than 100 years, the strength of their ancestors is never forgotten.