Friday, August 31, 2012

Los Angeles Street Scenes: Hollywood Farmers Market

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Los Angeles Street Style: Todd, sporting facial tattoos and a porkpie hat on Cahuenga Ave, Hollywood

L.A. has such an abundance of generically good-looking people in well-fitting casual clothes — sometimes almost aggressively casual — that I found myself looking for something more distinctive. Todd, for me, looks, in many ways, "very L.A." He's in flip flops and a porkpie hat. His clothes are simple but cut well. And yet, it's hard to deny that he's also got his own thing going on. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Los Angeles Street Style: Tanae, Space 15 Twenty, Hollywood

This past Sunday, on a brief sojourn to L.A., I shot street style in my old stomping ground of Hollywood, California. Felt like home, that peculiar mix of actors, bikers, and organic farmers. But it took me a while to adjust my eyes to a new shooting location. I've trained them on Philadelphia. And cool is context specific. I don't feel like I've quite figured out what counts as cool here. Or at least, not yet remembered. Tanae, however, was a no brainer. I spotted her at a sidewalk sale outside the Free People on Cahuenga Bvd after exiting the Hollywood Farmers Market. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: T. Shaw, 17th St

I've been appreciating this Billie Holiday headscarf look for a while now, but was waiting for the right model to showcase it for the blog. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Somala, 17th St

Friday, August 24, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Gregory, Walnut St

I've seen Gregory around town a few times, always looking sharp in classic-cut suits and broad brimmed hats. Glad I finally got the chance to take his picture. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: James, in Pursuit of Punk Rock Authenticity on South St

I took these shots of James in an alleyway off of South St while several panhandling crust punks hurled insults at us from across the street. I don't know what they were yammering about. I heard the words "Hot Topic" uttered at one point. The heckling, however, may very well have been directed more towards me than him, since I had just turned them down both for money and a photo op.  My selection of James may have seemed like a direct affront to whatever half-baked political ideology was justifying their harassing tourists for money on South St. James, no doubt, was a cleaned up version of how they dressed themselves, more expensive, for sure, and less confrontational in its presentation. I sincerely doubt, however, that he bought any of this outfit at Hot Topic (well, maybe the bullet belt).

So is he an authentic punk rocker? Does he represent the "true voice" of punk? Who gives a shit?! That debate got stale decades ago. Are you an asshole if you heckle other people for dressing more or less exactly like you do? Yes.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Vu, 12th St

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Casey, Baltimore Ave, a Portland Rocker in West Philly

I caught Casey on Baltimore Ave, in town for a gig. In addition to a black T-shirt and a pair of motorcycle boots, she had with her the most rock 'n' roll accessory there is: a brown paper bag in the middle of the afternoon! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Former Model Uyen Wynn, South St

Uyen told me, before agreeing to the shoot, that she had, in fact, crossed the street to avoid me when she saw my camera. She'd had a bad experience with someone she assumed was a street style photographer previously. He stuck his camera in her face, chased her down the street, and refused to stop when she asked him to.

That was not how this played out. She agreed to having her picture taken after asking to see my card, which I promptly handed over (I had cards made specifically for the site, in case you're wondering), and realizing I had no intention of accosting her with my camera. "Because you asked so nicely," she said.

Uyen, it turns out, used to model professionally, but stopped when she got tired of being too "out there" in the public eye. She now does something or other related to fashion about which she was intentionally vague. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Brands are Watching: An Urban Fieldnotes Status Update

So one of the things that I've been wondering about since starting this blog/research project is how long it would take for me to begin being contacted by parties in the fashion industry for invites, collaborations, features, etc. I'll tell you how long: just under 5 months. Or to put it in more meaningful blogging terms: 16,340 page views. My readership has been growing fairly steadily since my launch on March 26, 2012, even after factoring in the brief dip the site experienced in June (down to 3,203 after May's 3,470). I've heard that June, for whatever reason, is a terrible month for bloggers, perhaps because students are too busy experiencing summer break to latch themselves to a computer screen. In any case, July rose back up to 3,725. So far in August I've had 2,913 pageviews, around 150 pageviews per day, with nearly half the month still ahead. And, with that trajectory in place, three days ago was my first day of contact with the larger fashion industry. In two days span on Thursday ad Friday, I was invited to two events in Philly, not, perhaps the biggest events ever by industry standards, but nonetheless exciting and flattering to receive. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend either one. Alas, so it goes. But keep the invites coming. I will be available for future events. The research potential is simply too delicious.

Also, this last Thursday I was contacted by American Apparel. Yup, American Apparel. They posted one of my pics of Jared Michael Lowe in the "Seen and Submitted" section of their website, alongside some, Ring My Bell, and The Time is Grey pics. See the image they chose here in the bottom right corner. Sure it's flattering, but more than that, it's interesting. That post, as it turns out, was the first time I've mentioned American Apparel on my blog, a statement, I admit, that sounds improbable. Nonetheless, it's true. Jared was wearing AA sunglasses and pants in those images. Now, suddenly, I understand why so many street style bloggers list brand names beneath their images. The brands are watching. I suspected as much, but it's nice to have the suspicion confirmed. And now I'm wondering, for the sake of science, of course, whether I should start assiduously listing brands too. I've avoided it up until this point. I spent too many years as a disgruntled suburban punk not to. But now, I'm thinking it would be an interesting experiment. 

Which brings up another question: What, do you suppose, are the ethics of an anthropologist/researcher/blogger doing collaboration with or accepting paid links, advertisements, and content from fashion-related brands, granted, of course, that such content is identified as such? I don't know actually. This is an utterly ordinary thing for a blogger to do, especially a big name blogger, but "brand partnerships," frankly, are not an option for most anthropologists. And they are not, in fact, an issue I am yet facing. Still, the possibilities are intriguing, and the question may come up sooner or later, especially since on Friday I was also contacted by a "market researcher" for a company that hooks up blogs with brands. I have, apparently, been added to a list, and I imagine that may lead to future offers. Not that there is any great profit to make off of doing so. I've talked to enough bloggers to know that paid content doesn't pay that much. But that's not the point. It would be interesting to pursue simply in terms of what it might reveal about the messy, ambiguous relationship bloggers maintain with the larger fashion industry. 

Readers, what do you think? I could use some guidance on the subject. And of course, I'll keep you posted on what unfolds.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Khalia, Sansom St

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Philadelphia Street Style: Designer Ajzha Kahn, 17th St

Ajzha Kahn is an up-and-coming Philadelphia fashion designer and seamstress. Follow her on Twitter here

I find it an interesting coincidence that an image of a woman with a mohawk follows my previous post on classic punk rock. Mohawks, these days, have moved well beyond punk. They are a staple of creative industry types, a mark more of personal daring than subcultural allegiance. Ajzha's mohawk is one of the most interesting ones I've seen. And it pairs well with the colorful dress.