A visit to the old bazaar and the public markets was like a journey back in time—I felt I had traveled back 500 years. These cross-roads of trade on the ancient Silk Road had virtually been unchanged for centuries and were still bustling with business. In early morning, vapors of steam rose from big urns in front of the many tea shops, for tea was ubiquitous in that part of the world.
Many Afghan men wore traditional clothing of loosely-draped pants and long embroidered shirts, topped with a jauntily tied turban, pakol, or karakul cap. Each had his own personal style. I was amused and curious, as I often saw Afghans wearing a western-style suit jacket over their traditional, long billowing shirts and pants, creating a very unique style still worn today. One day I saw a half-dozen or more enterprising free-lancers I called “jacketeers,” all in one area. Each had four or five of the Western suit jackets ready to show and sell. The popularity of that jacket began when European-educated Afghans returned from years at school, wearing Western suits and unwittingly became style influencers. These jackets can be seen on men even back in the 60’s when freer styles came in from the west. A cross-cultural design was born and is still worn today.