- Max Lieber
This Local Artist is Annihilating the Homeless With a New Fashion Trend: Meet "Homelesscore"
A man shambles across an abandoned parking lot, dragging along an assortment of various labeled and unlabeled bags; some are from Price Chopper and Dollar Tree, others are just plain black trash bags, heavily bulging with their copious contents. In his arms he carries a cardboard sign, scrawled upon in bad handwriting with a black sharpie: “Need money, bad. Please buy my clothes.”
At first sight, this might seem like just a normal scene in Downtown Binghamton. Most sensible students would dismiss the man as “just another crackhead” and cross the street in order to get away from him. However, things are not always what they seem. This individual (who under normal circumstances, might be a smelly townie who’s out to get your hard-earned cash) is actually Stupit Dumas, a Slovenian student pursuing a Bachelor in Fine Arts at BU. If you couldn’t already tell, he desires to cure a deeply irritating condition that infests the concrete jungle of the Greater Binghamton Area: Chronic Sidewalk Nomadism.
Dumas is using his fashion sense to make students and Binghamton’s generously home-endowed residents aware of the issue at hand. He does so by taking advantage of styles flaunted on Binghamton’s streets by its quirky pavement pioneers. Though he himself lives Downtown and has his own place to call home, Stupit believes that if he dresses the part, he can at least partially experience the reality that home deprived folx face on a daily basis.
The Slovenian student first adopted his style as a part of his BFA thesis that examined the challenges of life in a post-pandemic economy for Binghamton locals. However, his unique fashion choices quickly garnered attention from his roommates and Harpur faculty, who started to think he was actually without residence. Dumas’s thesis advisor, Professor Marianne Dubchek, thought that her student had fallen on tough times: “One day he just came into my office in a tank top with one of the arm straps ripped off, a New York Yankees baseball cap, and a pair of dirty underwear. He was completely barefoot. I asked him if there was any way I could help him, because it looked like he needed it. All he said to me was ‘This is me. I must go through this.’ and left the room.”
Before long, what originally started as a personal choice for Dumas became something much greater. Popularly known as "homelesscore," Dumas has pioneered an aesthetic that has taken Binghamton by storm. Exhibits displaying Dumas’s work have already popped up on campus at the Binghamton University Art Museum, the West Side at the Bundy Museum, and at the Johnson City Walmart. Many students have also adopted the homelesscore aesthetic. Just look around on your way to class and you’ll notice just how many students have decided to embrace the niche fashion trend started by Stupit. We asked Ciara Sobogovich, a Freshman currently living in College-in-the-Woods. It appeared to us that when interviewed, she was a bit shy about her fashion choices: “I’m honestly not sure what you’re talking about. This is just, like, what I wear. Are you saying I look homeless?” While we respect your opinion, Ciara, your “vintage” Blockbuster t-shirt and “distressed” jeans say otherwise.
While homelesscore has become a widely celebrated phenomenon by the campus population, many off-campus organizations that are committed to tackling the disease of unenhomement have called out Stupit and homelesscore-ness itself. These organizations say that homelesscore does more to “trendify” the lack of housing opportunities for street-adjacent individuals than to actually help them concretely escape their concrete abodes. Stupit has responded to these objections by making several public statements that attack these organizations for their ineffective handling of the homelessness crisis in Binghamton. According to Stupit, “The reason these ‘people’ are on the streets is that we continue to allow them to take free handouts. Instead of enabling these poor, poor souls (who are poor in a literal sense, as they are all broke as hell), we should be directly handling the problem by eliminating the source of the issue: the homeless themselves.”
In order to find out what homelesscore was really about, we decided that it would be beneficial to interview Dumas about his work. The following is a chat we had with the artist in Binghamton’s Confluence Park. At the time, Dumas was wearing an Adidas tracksuit, Adidas sweatpants, and carrying an empty bottle of Tito’s vodka, most likely as part of his new “Russocore” series.
BUTT Reporter: Stupit Dumas.
Stupit Dumas: Who the fuck are you and why are you shoving that microphone in my face? Please stop.
BUTT: We’re the BUTT and because we won’t stop until you talk to us. Is there anything you can tell us about the outfit you’re wearing now?
SD: Hm. What is there to say?
BUTT: Well, you look like you belong in a playground in Chernobyl dancing to hard bass.
SD: Ha! You think so? … Yes, I suppose I do.
BUTT: So, what is homlesscore really about? Is it about the outfit?
SD: It’s not about the outfit. It’s just how you can ontologize it. In essence, you must “become” homeless. Transients possess a true wisdom that is inaccessible to the average homed person. Learn from them. Unpack the intriguing things they say. “I need money to buy a slice of pizza from Oakdale Pizza because otherwise I will starve” does not mean what you think it does at face value. A common misconception is that people are homeless because they are somehow “economically disadvantaged” and “unable to get a job.” No. If that was true, then they wouldn’t embody that state in the first place. They are philosophers of the modern day. Tramps and ramblers who see that life isn’t about being tied down to one place. If you can understand that, you can understand homelesscore.
BUTT: What makes an outfit “homelesscore”? Is it wearing things that you think a… “street person” might wear?
SD: You people astound me sometimes. You just don’t get it. It’s not about what you “think” a residence-deprived individual might wear. It's a vibe. A leopard-print fleece that says “World’s Biggest Slut!” on the back, sneakers with Bolt from Bolt on them, ragged jorts that reveal a beautiful patch of exposed tush - these are all homelesscore. Anything else would be inadequate.
BUTT: So… Is it about snagging the least tasteful, most repulsive, and overall trashiest item you see on the racks at Goodwill?
SD: Hm… Yes, it is exactly about that.
BUTT: Final question. We’ve heard you talking about various ways you hope to ameliorate financial stress for ho- "park bench enthusiasts" in the Binghamton area, such as giving them sweets and treats that will make them smile. As students, is there anything we can do to address the roots of this deeply problematic issue?
SD: Is that even a question? Nothing! I hate the homeless just as much as the average student! They can go live under that rusty bridge downtown and drink the nasty piss-water from the river for all I care. If they didn’t want to be homeless, then they shouldn’t have become so in the first place!
BUTT: So you’re saying there’s nothing we can or should do? The crackhead epidemic will continue to grow until the streets are completely infested with a smelly, heaving mass of quivering bodies? Will our city, one that the majority of us will only spend a miniscule fraction of our lives residing within, become the equivalent of a public GTA lobby?
SD: No. There is still hope.
Go to “stupitsellshomelesspeoplesclothes.com”. Buy things. All profits go to helping me end homelessness, once and for all.
BUTT: Really, it’s that easy? What will you use the money for?
SD: Let’s just say your financial support will help me acquire the tools I need to get the job done. You won’t be seeing anyone on park benches around here anytime soon. I can assure you of that.
BUTT: Thank you, Stupit. You’re really out here doing the work that none of us are brave or smart enough to do.
SD: Of course. Stay homeless, y’all.