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We No Longer Want to Look Like Street Style Stars

James H. Williams 

There was a time when it was interesting to see what another person used and how they used it. Imagine it: elegant people, daydreaming, captured by a photographer who appreciated their outstanding appearance. It was unique and exciting. But then came the ‘street style’. That is, it is not the style of a person on the street, but the orchestral images of influencers that we are inundated with Insta today. And in the end, everything became a little the same.

“There’s a big gap between imitating [street style photography pioneer] Bill Cunningham and what’s happening now,” says Gio Staiano, an experienced photographer on the shows, who works with the New York Times and Now Fashion, among others. “Bill was chasing people down the street who had style and somehow mixed things up. Sometimes I would make a piece based on the color or similarities people had; that was interesting.”

It was authentic, in a word: that woman was crossing the street; that man was waiting for a friend outside a restaurant; the person was talking on the phone with someone. But Everything has changed. Now, it’s not uncommon to see someone trying to walk down the street over and over again to create the “perfect”, “natural” shot.
“Social media has had a huge impact [on this],” says street style photographer Dvora, who shot regularly Vogue.co.uk . “Globalization leaves less individualism.”And that’s a keen observation. Total looks are now a ‘street style’ method (full connection straight from the catwalk), which was reserved only for the pages of magazines.”How many street style images do you see on your social networks that show not only the same type of outfit (glossy, assembled and pristine, or noisy and with too many layers) but the same posture, the same face, the same…Everything?

 

So much so that you can now turn to the likes of ASOS to find their favorite “stealable” outfits from “the best street style looks of 2018.”You can visit a fashion website (including ours!) and look at any number of items that show you where to buy certain pieces. Since when has street style, supported and defined by a celebration of the pursuit of personal and individual style, become generic enough to fit into so many trend boxes?

“As printed circuits declined, that’s when the change came,” says Phillip Bodenham, director of the PR agency Spring London. It was around 2013 that the phenomenon seemed to be booming. In an article for the New York Times titled “The Fashion Circus,” renowned fashion critic Suzy Menkes described the peacock that happens outside of shows. Suddenly opened a closed fashion arena for acquaintances, members of the press and buyers. It was after a revolution in digital media and the cult of self. Street style, thanks to artists such as The Sartorialist and Tommy Ton, had taken off, and the idea of “real-life clothes”, whether they are or not, reached the peak of dressing. Everyone knew that while Anna Dello Russo is not necessarily what she did, but what she wore, feathers and ball gowns, anywhere and anytime.

This is the irony that what started as a cool and original outfit, daring or ambitious, began to decline because it is a profitable opportunity for self-promotion: buying the look, oversaturation and homogenization. “There is a real difference between elegant and supernatural,” Menkes wrote in his article, noting that this was the problem at the time. The question now Is: when is enough, enough?

“I think it’s inevitable to get motivation from Instagram these days, “says Quinlan,” but it’s very clear what’s true and what ‘influencer marketing is.'”I’m always discouraged if people seem too secured.”And it is not difficult to identify which brands or designs will be a hit with the street style ensemble: usually bright and colorful, eye-catching with a bell or whistle that matches a transient novelty. All of them seem to contradict the fashion landscape at the moment, which is one of personality, diversity, individuality, creativity and all the things that mean “real”, or just mean.

In her review of Balenciaga’s recent Collection, Pre-fall 2018, Vogue Runway fashion critic Sarah Mower made a point of saying this: “well, just thinking, but is the boring tweed trouser suit the most interesting thing about this Balenciaga collection?”I didn’t mean, but because” there is a specific emotional gravitational pull towards a non-cluttered design. Simple, well-cut things that look good again.”

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