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Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Friday, 20 January 2006

'Evo Fashion' arrives in Bolivia

Model wears imitation Evo Morales knitwear

A Bolivian businessman is producing a range of woolly jumpers inspired by the casual dress sense of President-elect Evo Morales.

Since winning last year's presidential election Mr Morales has met a series of world leaders sporting a cosy-looking red, white and blue sweater.

Now knitwear company Punto Blanco says it will sell copies of the alpaca jumpers as "a symbol of the president".

The jumpers will be made from synthetic fibres and will cost just $8 (4.50).

Mr Morales will be sworn in on Sunday, with observers wondering if he will wear the jumper for the official ceremony.

An Aymara Indian, Mr Morales won 54% of the national vote, the biggest level of support for any presidential candidate since democracy was restored in the 1980s.

I don't see Evo Morales wearing a costume, or in clothes that he never wore before. That would be criticised much more
Gonzalo Mendieta
Social analyst
Since his win was confirmed Mr Morales has visited a host of countries but has steadfastly refused to adopt the staid, suited look favoured by most world leaders.

He greeted French President Jacques Chirac in shirtsleeves and stood open-necked next to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

And Chinese President Hu Jintao, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero were all met while comfortably clad in his now-trademark woolly top.

Looking good

Punto Blanco owner Raul Valda said he decided to manufacture imitation jumpers after being inundated with calls from fans of Mr Morales.

"This is going to become a line we call 'Evo Fashion' that we hope will appeal to young people.

"We did not want to do another sweater, a copy of the one that the president wears, but a symbol of the president and what he wants to do," Mr Valda added.

Mr Morales' attire may have raised eyebrows outside Bolivia, but it has been well-received back at home.

Bolivian social analyst Gonzalo Mendieta told the Reuters news agency that ordinary people were impressed that Mr Morales had not changed his famous casual style once he rose to power.

"I don't see Evo Morales wearing a costume, or in clothes that he never wore before.

"I also don't see him wearing Armani suits, something very common among Latin American presidents. That would be criticised much more."

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See Evo Morales following his election win



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