Friday, May 9, 2014

Can we really call it Street Style anymore?

Here's a thought that I've been mulling over in my head for some time (and I think probably many other fashion bloggers have, too)...

How genuine is street style, really?

I mean, I used to romanticize that the people I'd see on the street style blogs really had a chance meeting with the street style photographer in a oh, you want to take my photo? innocent kind of way.  But, now I've come to certain realization that more often than not, it's staged.

Call me naive, but I am.  I really wanted to believe that people just happened to stumble into having their photo taken.  My sister in NYC was the one who first alerted me to the reality.  She told me she often sees The Sartorialist on the her street taking photos (complete with a crew and fancy lighting and cameras).  At first I was bummed to hear it.  I know I may be slow to realize this and write about it, but I guess I really am that naive.

After further thought and reflection, I came to accept it.  I do know myself that when I met Yvan Rodic, The Face Hunter, last year at his book signing, I paid careful attention to what I wore.  Just in case.  Even so, I was surprised that he asked to take my picture.  Granted, the picture was left on the cutting room floor, clearly not blogworthy at all, but still.  He told my friend and I to just stay where we were (enjoying our coffee) but to act normal, but not move our mouths.  What???

That experience taught me that even in chance meetings, there's a certain amount of staging of pictures.  I mean, like me, others would have attended the event knowing full well that there'd be a chance of having him snap their photo as well.

All the different fashion week events are crowded with people who mill about amazingly dressed perhaps hoping for the same chance.  For a street style photographer, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

While the idea initially burst my innocent bubble, I'm not bothered by it anymore.  I'm not being critical, either.  As long as we're aware that these aren't always genuine on the street photos, and that many successful bloggers/editors/models/fashion-y people are even paid or gifted clothes to be seen on the streets, then we're good.

I still appreciate that fashion can be accessible this way, on the streets for everyone and not hidden in fancy stores or only on runways for people with exclusive access and money.

And, I still think there are some genuine street style blogs out there.  Balanced between genuine on the street moments (caught when someone isn't even looking) and staged shoots on the street with beautifully stylish recognizable people.  Or at least, most of the time they are, I hope.  

Coming up later...the other thought rattling in my head about what's happening to bloggers.

Pictures in this post from The Face Hunter, The Sartorialist, Mr. Newton, Vanessa Jackman and Hel Looks.


Karen Abella said...

Such a great post! It's been a struggling dichotomy for me right from the start - either dress up (and not even look like you're trying) and then lug out tripods and cameras and makeup bags just for two good shots, or just wear whatever I really want (mostly tees and jeans) and go write something instead. It really forces me to reflect, esp with the article Jasmine posted!

With Hold said...

I just like the picture full of elegant details. Working with the designer was amazing, he responded to all my inquiries, he helped me to modify some measurements of my dress too.
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Georgiana said...

Lol, once again, silly me! I never thought this, i never saw anything fishy in street photographers, but yes, it does seem probable. Thanks for your article!

Munachi I. said...

I've always been confused by high profile street style bloggers calling their outfits street style. Every outfit and picture they take is a photo op that was carefully planned out, lit, and staged accordingly. Street style is starting to lose its meaning and it makes me kind of sad because its always been something I loved about the fashion industry.


save. spend. splurge. said...

It doesn't surprise me that The Sartorialist has a crew to take pictures. His photos are far too beautiful and perfectly lit to be true guerilla street shots.

As for 'street style', I think most of us would agree that a lot of what passes for 'street style' these days is not what most women wear.

Even what I see on style blogs, is so highly staged that I can't imagine them living a normal non-fashion life in the things they wear.

Ghazaleh said...

Great post. I think most of the top style bloggers out there have totally staged photos. It's more like "regular" people modeling, although I would say most of them don't really look like regular people anyway :) But at the same time, it appeals to the masses and sells clothes so whatever works.


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