Man About Town – “Chale Mate” Fashion Editorial on the Tro Tro Boys of Accra

Inspired by the hustle and bustle of Ghana’s capital city, Accra, James Pearson-Howes considers Chale Mate, a vibrant fashion editorial for Man About Town, one of his favorite projects to date.

The shoot came to life as a collaboration with his friend, Kusi Kubi, a creative director and stylist based in Ghana. If you’re not familiar with Accra, its growing fashion scene has attracted a variety of visionaries as it has been experiencing quite the creative renaissance over these past five years.

Hiring local models, the duo teamed up to bring fashion-forward looks to a concept that pays homage the Tro Tro boys. If you’re not familiar with Tro Tro, it is a local term for any minibus in Ghana – a shared taxi service that runs between specific destinations with passengers alighting at designated or assumed bus stops, while others get on board.

As with any editorial, it was important to get a sense of the vibe and energy of the locations and pin-point specific areas where they planned to shoot. To capture the Tro Tro in their truest light meant photographing them at one of the busiest thoroughfares in Accra, the bus depot or “the circle.” James used the environment to his advantage, capturing slivers of the busy artery at the interchange of commerce and fashion.

To evoke a sense of nostalgia, James shot stills using film on his Mamiya RV and Mamiya 7. The incredible light also lent itself well for capturing motion content using Super 8mm. The electricity of the bus depot was undeniable whether talent was proudly standing atop a bus in ruffled, pink pants or balancing mid-way out the open door of a taxi surfing through traffic.

The heartbeat of Ghana is strong and we look forward to seeing how the culturally rich and diverse West African nation continues to influence the world around us with their fashion, beauty, and vital energy.