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17 December 2013

Street style (not a) problem

ph // Jak & Jil
Streetstyle is essentially the lovechild of the fashion industry and blogging. As blogging has developed into an intrinsic part of the industry, it’s given a new vitality to streetstyle and in many ways streetstyle has become it’s own mini-industry. Lately though, it has become an issue of heated debate revolving mainly around the idea that we, as a general body of semi-functioning humans, struggle to understand what streetstyle really is.

It started as the student, on her way to class being asked politely whether or not she, of individual and exceptional taste as seen through her style choices, would care to take a second to have her photo taken. Cards exchanged, thank you-s said; the whole event was one of perfect civility and gentleness that one might expect to observe among kittens or other baby animals. It was fashion in both it’s purest and least pure manner; the purity of one persons desire to team everyday clothes together in a way that expressed their personality and tainted in the way that it was as far from the runway as one could possible find themselves. It was, self-evidently, the street. The place that life happened and people woke up to get dressed for their everyday occupations, taking into account personal taste and practicality in almost equal measures and making something beautiful that creative minds wanted to share with the masses. Streetstyle, like blogging, made fashion move beyond the runway, beyond the editorials and brought the everyday human the bare bones of the industry that (save nudists) we all participate in (regardless of our awareness of our participation).

Streetstyle has become something quite different. Now, it boasts of editors, celebrities and fashion’s elite in photos taken during fashion week and used as content until the next season rolls around. The most extravagant outfits garnering disproportionate amounts of shutter flicks, polite civility abandoned in an attempt to get the shot. “Do you want to be photographed?” is no longer a question but an assumption, surely we are all panting for that fifteen minutes of fame we deserve. Streetstyle in the masses no longer represents the everyday woman, man and occasional small dog; the person working on an average budget, the person who had five minutes to get dressed but still manages to take your breath away and inspire you. Our screens have become permeated with the unattainable, the real-life aspect removed and abandoned in hopes of catching a glimpse of the ‘it girl’ du jour. Streetstyle is a far cry from what it began as and here is lies the debate; what is it, and what should it be?

Assuming that it should be ‘everyday’ style raises a new issue in itself, what is the ‘everyday’? What is attainable? I am a firm believed that fashion has to be practical on some level, the marrying of creativity and practicality is what distinguishes it from Art. Perhaps we can never come up with a universal idea of attainability, perhaps a mix of fashion week and lunch hour on a Monday is what we need; the perfect mix of dream and reality. Perhaps, and this may be a long shot, we can all agree that a seven foot PVC doll that isn’t even wearing real clothes is not streetstyle. Of course another issue regarding the saturation of fashion week within streetstyle is that people know they may be photographed, and that often has an effect on what we find ourselves inclined to wear. I don’t necessarily mean this negatively, haven’t we all worn our best shirt in fourth grade for photo day? Who wants to be immortalized in print in an outfit they aren’t proud of? It’s part of our nature, but it does skew how we choose our shoes and in that respect, streetstyle may have a somewhat corrupting effect on individuality. Conceivably if streetstyle returns back to it’s celebration of the unexpected subject, we might find fashion weeks with less obscenity and frenzy and more civility and originality.

 So, what are we to do? The only answer I can think of is nothing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and until streetstyle reverts back to the commemoration of both the broke artist and the celebrity, we just have to do as one does on their fourth tequila and make better choices. We have to choose what streetstyle is to us, we have to be selective and decide what we want to be inspired by. We have to interpret Chanel clad editors in our own way, and realize that is the beauty of style. We have to dress as we always would, and perhaps understand that not being photographed says much more about the individuality of our personal style than being immortalized in the pages of Vogue does at this present moment.

Hurrah for Alexa Chung and hurrah for unnamed girl on Camden market, because they are both streetstyle in their own way and should both be represented as such. Variety is the spice of life, and I like my inspiration extra hot.

11 comments:

  1. Well written! I also have a sort of love and hate relationship with streetstyle. I love to shoot streetstyle myself in my own personal way, but all the circus around it during FW is something I really don't like. It makes me want to leave the 'circus area with all the peacocks and look for more 'real' style inspirations.
    With love,

    Joy

    | justlikesushi.com |

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  2. Really interesting post. This is something I've written about quite a bit especially after last time I attended Paris Fashion Week and one magazine had a studio set up outside the Chanel show where they were placing people for 'street style' shoots... it couldn't have been any more removed from street style.

    You raise some really interesting points. The thing I dislike most about street style these days are three things. First, a lot of the major photographers tend to focus on the same 'big' people - whether they are editors, celebrities or famous bloggers. This is annoying as everyone's photos feature the same people in the same Kenzo sweatshirt and same Stella shoes. It's boring. This brings me to my second point, photographers these days are searching out people with 'it' items. You've got to have the latest designer gear (which often hasn't even been released in shops yet) to make it onto their pages. Which again makes street style a bit boring. Lastly, the whole circus outside the shows also makes me dislike street style a bit. The whole hoopla of it can get a bit rude and aggressive which isn't necessary. Well, I guess it is necessary because some of these photographers need to get these photos to make their living... but most of them don't.

    Anyway, I do appreciate that some people like Scott Schuman have started taking street style back to the streets. A lot of the photos on his blog lately are less posed and more (well, they seem this way at least) authentic real people he has come across on the street.

    In general street style has become very contrived and that takes away from the beauty of it being inherently spontaneous and unplanned.

    With all that said, I'm like Joy. I still really like shooting street style and tend to use photos I take during fashion week the whole year round. I do make an effort though to seek out people with unique style who are doing something different and inspiring in their own personal way. I always hope that comes across in the photos.

    xx

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    Replies
    1. I've noticed that Scott has been taking to the streets again and I really like that! On what you and Joy have said, I've actually noticed that I prefer it when people (i.e not professional streetstyle photographers) take streetstyle photos because it's much more authentic, it's more personal and they tend to seek out much less commercial things. That's the kind of streetstyle I prefer anyway, so I completely understand you on that.
      x

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  3. This is such a thoughtful and well written piece! Kudos Camilla.

    There's a guy that from my town (Brisbane, Australia) who's street style blog i love because it's so authentic.
    http://thestylishimage.tumblr.com/
    He often just snaps pics of people when his on his way to or from work and i love that.

    Hope to see some more pieces like this from you in the future - very promising for a young writer :)

    love Pip x

    outside is colours


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  4. What a poignant post! Thank you so much for sharing! It was a wonderful read!

    xx Kate

    The Hag Blog
    The Hag Blog

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  5. Wow, this is so truly and wonderful written!
    Loved reading it and i just can't wait to see your next article.
    You must work in any fashion magazine in the future! Then, this magazine will be by favourite :)
    Xx

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  6. your posts are perfect babe !! such a good writer

    http://franchemeetsfashion.blogspot.cz/

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  7. Interesting article....I have had my photo *taken a few times in London recently...not that they stopped to ask my name and if I indeed minded having my photo taken....oh no.....they just took it....one guy I did try to approach after I noticed he taken my photo...quickly walked off.....You mentioned Scott, I left a comment on his blog...asking whether or not he asked people's permission before he took their photo....my comment was not put through....although rather oddly....a couple of days later....when I was reading through the comments on his post...someone exclaimed..."Oh my god, thats me...I didn't know you'd taken my photo!" which gave me my answer. It annoys me to think that people can just take your photo without permission and they just stick it on their blog and make money!

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  8. Your writing is incredible. Love this post, it completel reflects the way I fell and I am sure, tons of people's perspective.
    xxx
    http://www.lovethesister.com

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  9. Is it ok that I'm jealous of your writing because I so am. I'm a year younger than you and your becoming my inspiration. I love the way you gave both sides of the argument in this article and not just one sided trollop. I can't stop scrolling! xo

    stylegrande.blogspot.com

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  10. It's really great post,,,I hope I will get more article in the near future from here. Also I have a great site about this related site
    http://www.shop.ethicrace.com/

    ReplyDelete

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