Wednesday, January 28, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 20, Nicole, Walnut St

Nicole didn't know any of the brands she was wearing in this shot, which is, I have to say, kind of refreshing. Though after a moment or two, she did remember one of them. "Um, Rock Candy are the boots," she said. "I do know that." She shops mostly at stores like American Apparel and online shops including Nasty Gal and Dolls Kill. She describes her style as "edgy street fashion" but also likes "classic elements like faux furs." I had no idea faux furs were classic. And she likes to layer. Leggings, for her, are a must. As for that scarf, she "knew [she] had to have it" when she saw it. "I'm really into Asian culture and Kabuki theater," she explained.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

21 Days of Street Style, Day 19: Rasheen, off 18th St


Rasheen describes his style as "out of this world chic." Which explains the silver jacket from the Gap, and the shiny high-top Doc Martens. The shirt was custom made by local designer Chris Dash. The jeans, much more prosaically, are from H&M.  
Rasheen doesn't even pretend to be impressed by Philly style these days. "It's predictable," he told me. "Some people's fashion are growing; some people are stuck." Rasheen is not stuck. He is dressed for interstellar travel. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 18, Sam, 17th St

Sam describes his style as modern casual," and "business appropriate." He is dressed for work in these shots—as manager of a British pub—but this is how he dresses in his off-time as well. For the younger generation of urban American men, jackets and ties are no longer a burden to wear, a stale uniform of corporate life; they are a form of sartorial expression, worn, by choice and with pride—and in combination with casual wear and workwear, like these faded denim jeans. Here, Sam is wearing a Zara sportscoat, with an Allen Edmonds suede vest, a J. Crew shirt and tie, J. Crew jeans, and a Kenneth Cole belt. The brogues are Cole Haan. 
"There's so much diversity," Sam says of Philadelphia style, "that there's kind of all these hands in the pot, trying to stir things up a little bit. You never have one real trending fashion statement. It's really everybody does what they feel like." Sam typically feels like wearing a jacket and tie. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 17, Madison, South St

"I just find things and put them on," Madison told me when I asked her about her sense of style. In these shots, she'd put on a Michael Kors beanie, a Free People Cardigan, a Mark Jacobs shirt, some jeans from Nordstrom ("I'm not sure the brand"), and some Free People socks. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 16, Julian, Sansom St

Julian is dressed head to toe in Theory, since that's where he works. Search for street style subjects off Walnut Street, and you end up with a bunch of photos of retail employees. I stopped him as he was coming out of the drycleaners on Sansom. There is nothing showy or ostentatious about his look. It's classic, fitted black in the mode of an updated existentialist. And it makes me consider, for a moment at least, ridding my own wardrobe of color. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 15, Emily, Sydenham St


It's winter in Philadelphia, cold, icy, and dry. Skin flakes off like paste on a kindergartener's desk. Fashion has been put temporarily on hold. And so, stylish women like Emily are pulling out their puffy winter coats. "I think I got it from Macys," she told me of this one. "My mom got it for me for Christmas a few years ago. But it works for biking." That's the important thing for Emily; it has to be "bike friendly." "My shoes," Emily went on, I've had for a couple of years. I've danced the bottoms out and had them replaced twice. It's my roommate's scarf." Emily is wearing all black in these shots, she explained, because that's what she has to wear to work, but she wears black most of the time anyway."I'd say that's the majority of my wardrobe," she told me. Her fashion philosophy: "keep it simple."
Emily characterizes Philly style as "definitely very unique." "A lot of grunge," she went on, and "everyone trying to create their own thing."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 14, Deric, Rittenhouse


Deric is the designer behind Jeantrix, a local art and fashion brand that specializes in one-of-a-kind custom pieces. The motorcycle jacket he's wearing is one of his own creations. He's also wearing a a black hoodie (he's not sure where he got it), a pair of black skinny jeans from Hot Topic, and some Chuck Taylor black Converse All Stars. "I think they're best," he says, "when they're beat up." He describes his Chuck Taylors as his "comfort" and "go-to" shoes. "I have a lot of shoes," he explained, "but when I just want to get up, grab something basic, solid and go, I come straight to my Chuck Taylors. And I think they look right with almost everything." 
 Jeantrix began as something of a hobby for Deric. He'd already been decorating his own shoes and jeans and it just grew from there. Now he and his brand are beginning to dabble in their own cuts and designs, in addition to customization.
"I have faith in Philly style," Deric told me, "especially over the last year. I feel like it has grown a lot." 

"What do you think has happened over the last year to make that happen?" I asked. 

He thought about it for a moment and told me, "A lot more people are being more bold. I usually go to New York, and everybody is pretty much bold there. I think it just took a certain amount of people to just become bold and wear what they want, and other people come along and just, you know, hop on and do the same thing." As for Deric's own style, he describes it quite simply: "Street."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 13, Gurpreet, off 18th St


At the time of my shoot with her, Gurpreet, a long-time fashion blogger for Moda Ninja, had been living in Philadelphia for just over six weeks. She was still adjusting to the climate, but everything else, she said, was pretty easy to adapt to. "It's a beautiful city," she told me. "Everyone's so friendly. It's much better than New York." Plus, it sort of reminds her of her hometown of Pune, India. Pune, she explained, is about two hours outside of Mumbai, and people in Pune think about Mumbai almost exactly the same way Philadelphians think about New York. Mumbai is "like that city that doesn't sleep, and everybody is just moving around really fast." Pune, like Philly, is relatively laid back and calm. And it's a bit rougher around the edges than its larger metropolitan neighbor. Both Pune and Philadelphia define themselves in opposition to their big sister cities. Theirs is an identity defined in the negative. "So I feel very much at home now," she said. 


In these shots, Gurpreet is wearing over-the-knee boots from Aldo, a bag from Ralph Lauren, leggings from Macy's, a dress from H&M, an anorak from BCBGeneration, and a scarf from a thrift store in Pondicherry, India. "It's really easy to get a lot of thrifted stuff in India," she told me. The same is not true, however, for warm coats. She got hers here, along with the bag. Most of her accessories are from India. She just can't bring herself to buy them here, since she'll look at the tags and see "Made in India" on them. Better, she figures, to stock up on accessories during trips home and avoid the mark up here. She would prefer to buy local designers while in Philly. 

In regards to her own style, Gurpeet says, "I'm not a diva. I'm a fan of quirk and whimsy. I dress up with an attitude of 'I can,' which sometimes is reflected in my choice of accessories and hair color. I embraced my defective eyes, and hence was happy to wear my large prescription glasses everywhere, [even] before 'nerd' was a trend. I'm inspired by vintage and retro themes." 

Gurpreet's blog Moda Ninja, champions various Indian designers and brands. "The fashion scene in India is booming," she said, "and there are so many designers to love and like. I prefer investing in accessories than in outfits, so naturally I'm a fan of accessory designers like Eina Aluwalia. Her designs are contemporary yet have a classic feel. Mrinalini Chandra is a newbie with very quirky designs—[she] uses fish, flowers, and chairs in her jewelry! When it comes to apparel, no one compares to Sabyaschi and Manish Malhotra, who are like the Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Fords of traditional Indian design."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 12, Ana, Walnut St

Ana, like most people, has no idea how to describe her style. She has other things on her mind, like getting through her day without being harassed by a street style photographer. "I guess kinda trendy," she says, "but more functional right now. I'm just trying to keep warm." And she is doing so in a North Face coat, a pair of North Face boots, and a Burton hat. She could be on the ski slopes in this outfit. But she's not. She's braving the frigid streets of Center City, Philadelphia instead. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

21 Days of Street Style: Day 11, Braden, Sydenham St


Braden likes to "go with a little bit more of a funky look. A little bit of an edgy look with a little rock 'n roll twist to it, kinda like a bad attitude type of deal, but kinda mellow." He works at Diesel, and a lot of his clothes come from there, including his shoes, jeans, belt, and watch. The leather jacket, however, is H&M. Of course it is. He lives in Philly. Everyone here has at least one item from H&M on them at all times. The top, which you can't see, is Forever 21's heritage line for men.