Friday, April 24, 2015
Alice is wearing a jacket and pants by Juicy Couture. The bag is Michael Kors. The shirt has "no brand." She picked it up somewhere in China. The sunglasses, on the other hand, have a brand, she just can't remember what it is. Something Australian, she thinks.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Gabby, in these shots, is wearing a Boy Scout jacket, a ripped pair of jeans, art socks, and jelly heels. "I'm really tall, so I don't usually wear heels," she told me. "But I'm breaking them out today."The Boy Scout jacket she got at a thrift shop. She's been gradually accumulating Boy Scout patches (or "badges") to fill up the back. I don't think the Boy Scouts of America officially approves of this as a strategy for accumulating badges — your are supposed to "earn" them by taking first aid courses, learning to make fires, tying knots, saving cats from trees, etc — but then Gabby is no Boy Scout. I was. Until I couldn't bare the humiliation of wearing that uniform to school anymore. I quit when I was 12 and traded that uniform for a new uniform of all black, every day.
Gabby doesn't know how to describe her style. "I always wear something different all the time," she said. "I just wear what I want to wear, and what makes me feel comfortable. And I like to try things out." I tend to think of "comfortable" as the opposite of trying things out. It is settling into a routine, wearing the old faithfuls, and relaxing into a style. But Gabby, it seems, finds her comfort in experimentation.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Monday, April 13, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
I stopped Isaac after doing a "personal shopping" tour of the UNIQLO store on Chestnut St and picking up some fitted sweats and a hoodie. My wardrobe was feeling incomplete, having failed to adapt to the "sportscore" trend that is allegedly taking menswear by storm. I learned all about UNIQLO's high-tech dry fabrics, their wire vs wire-free bras (not sure why that was emphasized), their efforts to cut costs by only manufacturing their pants in limited sizes then offering alterations in store, their recent partnerships with MOMA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and their efforts to embed themselves into the Philadelphia scene by "collaborating" with bloggers and other "influencers." It was about a half hour tour. I got to see the backend of the store, the labyrinthine concrete passageways into the still-standing classrooms of the former Institute of the Arts building. I learned a lot about their branding strategy (i.e. social media madness) and target demographic (i.e. everybody). And I have to admit, I am a much bigger fan of UNIQLO than I was before. I like my new sweats. I like the linen shirt and chino shorts they sent me last weekend. And I will likely buy things from UNIQLO again someday, once the thrill of my new free stuff has worn off. But I couldn't help but wonder: is this really an effective marketing strategy? Spending so much time with low-profile bloggers like me? Don't get me wrong, I like the attention. I like the data such opportunities provide for my ongoing street style project. I also like the presumption that I have influence over others. I don't, however, think it is particularly true. Do my photographs instill desire in you, dear readers, to possess those items shown? Do they spark a consumerist impulse? Do they make you feel incomplete? Inadequate? In need of a change that only a good shopping trip can accomplish? If so, let me assure you, that is not my intention. I seek out fashion idiosyncrasies, counterexamples, special types. I seek out people who don't look like they're particularly susceptible to marketing ploys, people with a relatively defined sense of who they are. And if that happens to jibe with the branding strategy of UNIQLO, well then, so be it.
Monday, April 6, 2015
UNIQLO contacted me last week inviting me for a "personal shopping" visit to one of their Philadelphia area stores. I took them up on their offer today. As an "influencer" of Philly fashion, I got the grand tour and a "small gift," which turned out to be a tote bag. Isn't it always? This is one of several "collaborations" I'm doing with UNIQLO this month. I'll have plenty more to say about them in the coming days. For now, let me just say this: if I am an influencer, so is every other scrappy Instagrammer with a semi-decent following. Is "influencer" even a meaningful concept anymore?