The village of Saraguro, just off the Panamericana Highway between Loja and Cuenca, is known for the distinctive traditional dress of the indiginous folk, who bear the same name as the village. Throughout Bolivia and Peru, I got used to the brightly-coloured ponchos, shawls and skirts of the mamitas. But the Saraguro people (despite their roots being in the Lake Titicaca area of Bolivia before they were forcibly resettled by the Inca) wear black and white.
Perhaps most striking are the wide-brimmed white felt hats worn by the women, with bold, black polka-dots on the underside of the brim. But I was also struck by the numerous men and boys in traditional dress – shin-length black pants, and a white shirt, and all wearing their hair long in a ponytail or braid. In Bolivia and Peru, and most of the other countries I’ve visited around the world for that matter, most men seemed to have moved away from traditional dress, leaving the womenfolk to carry that particaular strand of history forward.