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83-year-old accidentally becomes style icon

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BERLIN — An 83-year-old man has gained an international following after a photographer started a blog dedicated to what he wears to work every day.

Zoe Spawton, a Berlin-based photographer and cafe owner, said she noticed Ali walking past her cafe at 9:05 sharp every morning. He usually wore tailored suits with quirky accessories, and Spawton could tell he took pride in his appearance.

After a few weeks of polite acknowledgment, Spawton got up the nerve to ask Ali if she could photograph him. He said yes, and Spawton began to ask him more often, posting the photos to her "What Ali Wore" blog.

Spawton has only posted a few dozen photos since August, but all show Ali in a thoughtfully chosen outfit and in what has become his trademark pose.

She told CNN Ali sometimes declines to be photographed, especially if he has worn the same outfit twice in one week. On Dec. 2, she posted what is the only repeat: Ali seems to remember if I have already taken a photo of a particular outfit, and doesn't usually let me do repeats," she wrote. "This is the first appearance of this brown velour jacket."

As the attention for the blog has grown, so has Spawton's friendship with Ali, despite the language barrier. She learned he has 18 children and works as a tailor six days a week, although he is a retired doctor.

See all of Ali's outfits at

wrote on March 8.

She told CNN the friendship is what the blog has been about, more than the fashion.

"It feels so simple, just a friendship where we enjoy seeing each other," she said. "He seems to enjoy having his photographs taken. It must be nice to have it acknowledged that he's a stylish man."

Top image credit: Zoe Spawton

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Stephanie Grimes


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