Street Cult Fashion Photography
The fashion industry is known to be ever growing and ever dynamic; in the few past years, we have seen a growth of interest in a new trend that has been very influential on the industry: street-style fashion photography through blogs.
After years of watching fashion on runways, special events and magazines where people and models are meticulously made-up by stylists and designers, people are now headed towards more practical and everyday influences. Recognizing that increased interest in every-day fashion, Vogue UK was the first ever to rush to the streets and take pictures of well-dressed people merely walking down the street. Still, it was not enough or satisfying.
A few years later, there was sparked interest in a blog created by Scott Schuman, an ex-director of men’s fashion who is now called by Newsweek, “The most powerful man in fashion — without being a designer, model or formally trained photographer.” Schuman or “The Sartorialist” (his blogger alias) started his blog because he wanted to “merge his love of fashion and photography;” as well as look for inspiration in the streets while documenting what everyday ordinary people wore around the world. His main interest was capturing the romantic moments in our daily lives when we are intrigued with people’s looks whether they are crossing the street, riding their bikes, or simply people watching. He was and still is the main man behind the cult of street-style bloggers raiding the streets nowadays.
Next on the list of famous street-style bloggers is a female Parisian version of the Sartorialist; Garance Dore. Dore started her blog to publish fashion illustrations, which is what she is mainly famous for (most recently she signed a contract with Gap for limited edition tees that carried special illustrations she drew exclusively for them.) She then started to scour the chic streets of Paris to capture a perspective on daily fashion inspirations for her illustrations and posted them on her blog with small texts describing those encounters. Her spontaneous style of posts and keen eye for capturing the most fashion forward trends earned her tons of fashion-obsessed followers.
The subjects in the images featured by The Sartorialist and Garance Dore-whether fashion professionals or everyday civilians-reflect a certain imperfection to them; where the people captured by the camera are real people showcasing their individuality, and how they dress themselves up depending on their moods, as well as personal tastes as opposed to by stylists and what the fashion industry imposes on them.
It is impossible to talk about street-style blogging without mentioning a witty and amusing site dedicated to highlight tastefully chosen shoes, accessories, and fine details worn by fashion professionals, stylists and fashion editors, which is the “Jak and Jill” blog which Tommy Ton heads. Known to have a keen eye when scouring the streets, Ton’s posts keep his fans coming back for more. Characterized by
a single picture with a short descriptive caption, Ton’s posts are daily snippets of what’s taking the fashionable street crowd by storm.
Street-style blogging just comes to prove an untapped inspirational niche that was yet to be discovered by the fashion industry and fashion enthusiasts worldwide. Nowadays, we see more and more blogs popping up in the fashion blogosphere dedicated just to that particular kind of street-style photography; websites such as Altamira NYC, which focuses on model’s street style in New York; Fashiontoast, in which a young girl named Rumi posts personal pictures in a street-style way modeling her recent buys; or Facehunter, where the blogger travels through Europe photographing the eccentric and the unique styles found on the European streets. These bloggers now have immense influence over the fashion industry in such a way that in return gives their blogging credibility and builds their status with the savoir-faire of fashion.
For example, in the case of the Sartorialist, fashion houses such as Lanvin, Ralph Lauren and Gap have used his image archives in order to find inspiration for their upcoming collections. Schuman also recently published his first ever book, which he describes as “simple, beautiful and filled with his favorite work and photography. [Schuman] always dreamt that one day he would come across a young fashion student with his book in hand, dog-eared and tattered pages, notes in the margins, lots of ideas and lots of life.” Colette, the exquisite French concept store, was one of the first to order the book and offered Schuman a book signing opportunity, followed by Barneys New York who offered him his own pop-up store to decorate in order to help advertise for his book. The Sartorialist also worked on campaign ads for DKNY and has special sections dedicated for his work on American Vogue, GQ, and Style.com.
It is evident that in today’s fashion industry most of the influence does not come from the high-end fashion delivered every season on runways and magazine, but comes from the everyday street style of people whether working, walking, socializing, shopping or just hanging around. All of us have been inspired by people we spot in our daily lives somehow; you might have found a new way of wearing the simple tee and jeans combo just by seeing someone in the grocery store and being inspired to take a different approach to that casual ensemble. When you feel like being inspired, you can always access the Internet for international street-styles that will definitely help add to or modify your tastes in fashion. Some will make you realize that even fashion professionals do not get it right; for they are only human after all, although I have to admit it is quite a guilty pleasure to search for their missteps. One person’s faux pas is another person’s daring take on fashion. Nowadays, it is less about the head-to-toe designer look and more about realness and particular differences in taste. In fact, I believe that we are all each other’s style icons. So next time, when we are looking for inspiration or a new outlook on fashion trends, as Garance Dore would say, “How about we do it on the street?”