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Aum Shinrikyo are proper terrorist fanatics, the real deal. Not even the most looney of the lefties in a fit of relativism could explain their tactics as a product of globalisation, imperialism, or in any way legit. Grievences: The invention of LSD by evil westerners which drove us a bit barmy?

Thankfully, the group have been inhibited by their extreme incompetence. They set out to manufacture 1000 automatic rifles for the coming apocalypse, but only made one. Their leader, Shoko Asahara, warned authorities of an impending attack which “would make the Kobe Earthquake seem as minor as a fly landing on one’s cheek”, but in total their notorious Riacin gas attack on the Tokyo subway killed only twelve.

Ashara could have been a poster boy for American Apparel, a cult in its own right. Bright primary coloured one-sies are the order of the day:




Truly a man of the nation that gave us uniqlo.


When Saparmurat Niyazov died in 2006 he had spent a third of his life at the top of the Turkmen state. He dressed in undistinguished suits, particularly disappointing given the heritage of traditional dress he could draw on:

He did however make a notable contribution to architecture. Just look at all the trees and lampposts, rather like someone’s gone wild dragging and dropping on the Sims:

His gold statue, which adorns the Neutrality Arch in the capital, rotates twenty-four hours a day so as to always face the sun (at some point in the day Turkmenistan must be opposite the sun, so does he look down his oesophagus and out his own arsehole?)

He also added more than his share to the poetic canon, penning the immortal lines “You are a lion more than a lion, just find a battle field for you/Let your cream boil over always, never feel the lack of it/You are the Türkmen, with Garagum, so many minerals in its core”

Niyazov is credited with a list of absurd decrees, banning beards, lip-syncing, newsreaders from wearing make-up, gold teeth, owning more than one dog or cat, and, most bizarrely, smoking in public places!

It’s been hard to ignore Gaddafi lately, and, judging by such a performance, this is precisely his intention.

In the first couple of decades of his rule, Western commentators found it difficult to reconcile his support for apparantly contradictory ideologies, subversive groups and rebel movements. He remains a man of contrasts, neatly summarised by two polar looks, the tribal and the military.

With the former, the clothes are dynamite and the Africa lapel pin adds such class that even the stiff competition (togas over suits; have I just discovered the biggest trend of 2010 or what?) in the rest of the shot fades into the background. However, Gaddafi has, as ever, taken strong foundations and ruined it with a 19-year-old’s beard and a pair of Bono specs from which he alarmingly seems to be inseparable of late. Sharing another Bonoism, he also funds the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, on a par with Allen’s Zelda Fitzgerald Award for Emotional Maturity.

But while the tribal style is a mixed bag, the militaria is consistantly calamitous. The medals and sashes are so tacky and overstated that you end up with some nightmare combination of Michael Jackson at the Sultan of Brunei’s fiftieth birthday and David Lynch’s Dune.

Like all the most sartorially savvy leaders, Gaddafi has realised the need to stand out from his posse. He does so by only employing female bodyguards, who have lovely burgendy and gold berrets if unfortunately un-uniform uniforms. See if you can spot the differences below.

Found them? Well there’s plenty but most notable is that the one on our left is wearing a man’s uniform, see the buttons are on the wrong side, hence its stupid baggyness.

Where Gaddafi excels, and this may well excuse the aformentioned transgressions, is in interior design. Wherever he travels, Gaddafi does his best to bring along his Bedouin tent, pictured below, in which he holds diplomatic engagements.

While the outsie is no more impressive than Zippo’s big top, the interior is a mishmash of prints that puts Liberty to shame. Personally, I would avoid tramping around with heavy baroque furniture if following a nomadic code and I think this would stylistically, as well as practically, benefit the interior.

Curiously, there are few interior shots that don’t capture the man-size box of tissues on the table. Like a painting of the northern renaissance, dictators’ everyday objects are invested with a mysterious symbolism. In this case, I can’t quite work it out but perhaps its intended to suggest that he makes western statesmen cry like a baby at his demands and fellow socialists weep at the story of imperialist oppresion.

Anyway, he was clearly upset by the jarring shoddiness of a carbord tissue box centre stage on meeting Blair and had these classy little tissue chests made for a more recent meeting with Ukraine’s Tymoshenko.

Ramzan Kadyrov has to be one of the most casual presidents ever to exist, perhaps beating even Evo Morales. When he has had to where a suit, like at his father’s funeral, he blew convention, dropped the tie and went with a bright blue jacket that made Putin practically invisible.

He and his crew, the Kadyrovtsy, are alledged to have been involved in inestimable numbers of murders and disappearances, as well as the odd sex scandel. On that note, here he is below at the Chechnyan beauty contest after party; the one, as usual, who looks least like a politician and most like Avid Merrion.

Here’s a selection of some carefully selected and more wholesome day-to-day activities, which include a lot of dancing.

I’ve always been a fan of dancing presidents. From a PR perspective, its about the best possible distraction from your involvement in unsavory incidents like illegal wars and sexual scandals, but perhaps not alcoholism.

Kadyrov seems to have taken his style queues from James Bond villains. He owns a pet tiger and lion, which, he told the BBC, “will either kill me – or learn to be obedient”, and, it seems, a golden gun.

He’s also a personal friend of fellow boxer and tiger owner Mike Tyson. Perhaps they trade grooming tips.

The Yugoslavian conflicts bestowed little of value unto the world of fashion and should, rather, be taken as a warning that war and culture are not always complementary. Instead, those lost years gave us quite possibly the naffest and tackiest collection of gangsters imanginable with a penchant for the vicious animals and excessive vulgarity that have given the Balkans a bad name.

Our first villain is Kristijan Golubovic; not particularly successful, it seems, he spent pretty much his entire life in prisons around Europe. To his favour though, he eventually put such time to good use creating a very professional website from behind bars using a camera phone. Visit, click gallery and you’ll see a rare example of good taste, or, at least, such bad taste as to verge on goodness with a healthy dose of (dramatic?) irony.

The main man here is fellow Serb Željko Ražnatović. Both his noble parents were communist partisans who fought the Nazis during WW2 but, rather than inspiring their son, they beat him regularly and he ended up in prison at 14 years old.

Still, you could hardly call him a layabout and he ended up leading a paramilitary force, Arkan’s Tigers (hence the mascot), after a brief stint as a state-sponsored assassin.

Interestingly, his daughter had a fling with Golubovic, above, cementing a formidable union; this sites equivalents of Mr and Mrs Missoni.

Ismet Bajramovic, pictured with fierce dogs; I think of him as the Yang of Paris Hilton’s Ying.  Leaving the dogs to one side, the sunglasses and Tudor shirt combo give this guy a look of an “actor” from channel 5’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys relaxing between takes.  Worryingly he has four facebook fan pages.

It wasn’t just humanity these fellows were committing crimes against.

The Omo Valley, Ethiopia, is my Milan. Its a UNESCO world heritage sight, has twenty odd separate tribes and they are  pretty much always up for a tussle.
The Karo tribe keep up a monochrome look with some statement white make up. And omg, the guy in the middle is actually doing the smile-with-the-eyes. If you’ve ever seen more than 12 seconds of ANTM you know what I’m talking about. This could be because one of the major money spinners in the region is being paid to have photographs taken of you, and who’d haggle? Basically they’re wandering groups of professional models; I don’t know whether to cry or rejoice.

If you haven’t already noticed, the statement accessory in the Omo Valley is the AK-47, its more important than a pair of shoes. Some seriously customised clothing (I never knew Gok had made it so far) giving a layering effect completes the look of this Mursi soldier.


Another Mursi, with fucking amazing shell necklace, lip plate and, ipod?  I’m usually of the opinion that ipods make everyone look far less cool but, here, I am willing to make an exception.

People talk alot about the decline of Marxism and its evaporation from the contemporary Western political landscape, except for American Republicans, who talk about the decline into Marxism under Barack Obama.

People are so superficial, concentrating on mere political superscruture when it is obvious that the fundamental cause of this decline are changing relations of production at the base level, i.e. fashion.

The decline of Marxist chic is excrutiatingly obvious. Just compare the two photos above. The first is an early picture of the Bolshevik Red Guard. You can tell they are putting a bit of effort in and actually have faith in the whole revolution-thingy. You can see that in the variety and yet consistent quality of their headgear; the fact that they’re all wearing ties, probably red, my favourite tie-colour in case you ask, and suit jackets or overcoats. The posers with the pistols top-left are leading the pack, while those lying at front give the group a relaxed air that hints at communist liberation. They’ve even made a lovely little dynamic arrangement of small arms.

Moving onwards and downwards, you have the National People’s Army of the Philipinnes. They probably consider themselves the successors of the former, how deluded they are! They are nothing but Leftist-Casualist-Anarcho-Sartorialist deviants of the worst sort whose clothing should be confined to the charityshop binbag of history. Can you imagine someone proclaiming the age of revolution in blue wellies, tracksuits, a t-shirt and a bandana? Talk about Counter-Revolution, its the fashion equivilent of the Kornilov Affair. And no, there is no risk insulting them because I can tell they will never win.

Anyway, the origins of this rot are pretty obvious and can be ascribed to one man alone, Che Guevara. Here he is with comrade scruffbags above. While the experimental facial hair should be commended, and there was something challenging and radical about their disheveldness in the 50s, there’s really no excuse today.

If the following image is the face of future Marxism, then us proletariat may as well volunteer a wage cut and give ourselves a boot in the face while we’re at it.


Ok, so you can’t credit them with a great deal of innovative thinking – they just sowed names and symbols onto sleeveless jean jackets – but they do what they do so bloody well. The Ghetto Brothers’ ‘trash cans’ are a great symbol, combining boastfulness and modesty in a manner that brings to mind Socrates’ retort; “through the holes in your clothes I can see your vanity”. 


 Here are the seven immortals in a more relaxed setting, reflected in a slightly less uniformy style. Not sure where they got the name since there are obviously more than seven and I am sure they didn’t all make it through intacto. Just imagine how the effete Shoreditch Twats who have hijacked their style would look confronted by their fashionable forebears


The Dirty Ones are the real winners for me. Cowboys in Brooklyn, they would stand out a mile but you just wouldn’t dare, would you?


Ah Mobutu, most notable of course is the leopard skin hat, which is really without comparison. A lot of those featured herein will be noted for their headware, but in combination with the florals you have something unique, a kind of badboy William Morris. Add in the 60s obligatoire heavy frame specks and you have nothing short of a gem, well worthy of an opening post. By god did he know it though, tacking on to the refined ‘Mobutu’ ‘Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga’, meaning ‘the all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake’. The arrogance is his one flaw, he should know that the great dictators all went by one name and were happy to leave it that way.