Remember the days when wearing T-shirts emblazoned with cheesy sayings was a cool thing? Though this trend has since become unfashionable in the United States, the corny garments reemerge in Pepe, a thought provoking photo series by Institute photographer Paolo Woods and Ben Depp. Capturing local Haitians dressed in shirts that read "Slob on my knob" and "Kiss me, I'm blonde," the two have created a funny series while also commenting on the effects of globalization.
The name of the photo series, "Pepe" is actually what Haitians call the secondhand T-shirts that travel to local markets from American thrift shops and collection centers. It seems ironic that it's only after American consumers dispose of the shirts that Haitians get a chance to wear them, which is a point the two photographers wanted to show in their images.
“A T-shirt produced for Wal-Mart in the sweatshops of Port au Prince will be sported by a Texan and then returned to the sender, who, at last, will be able to wear it," journalist Arnaud Robert wrote in a text for the photo series. “The worst T-shirts, those that would barely be sold in the cheap gift shops of Times Square, those with the dumbest slogans, reappear, thanks to a free-market miracle, in remote provinces of Haiti where nobody has taken the effort of translating such poetry into Creole.”