Friday, January 24, 2014

Fashion Week Hoopla

It's cold and snowy, and I haven't had the time or the energy the last couple of weeks to hit the streets of Philly and shoot street style. I've had to draw from my stock of Fashion Week photos instead. And now I'm running out of those too. Or at least, ones I feel like putting up. I still have lots more photos from Fashion Week, plenty of them featuring style stars of the moment, editors, models, etc. But they all just feel like more of the same to me.

In a recent op-ed for Business of Fashion, writer Max Berlinger asks, "Whatever happened to the 'street' in street style?" Interest in street style images, he suggests, continues to grow. New street style blogs pop up all the time, and more and more fashion publications put up street style images on their websites. And as that happens, we are bombarded with a steady stream of "images featuring tony editors, buyers, and other fashion insiders captured at the world's major fashion weeks."  "But there’s a pointed lack of inspiration in these pictures," says Berlinger." "Too often, they reflect a highly merchandised construct that merely reiterates the seasonal themes dictated, top-down, from the industry to consumers, at the expense of true personal style. Sometimes, they are even part of a premeditated marketing plan."

Berlinger probably overstates the influence of the industry over street style photography. Many bloggers and style stars at the events do get free clothes to parade outside the runway from major designers and labels. And many magazines pay for images from various bloggers and photographers. But street style is too unwieldy a thing to be firmly under the industry's control. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many breathy articles in the fashion press on "The Circus of Fashion" Week and the industry's efforts to kill it. Street style, no doubt, maintains a relationship with the fashion industry, but it is a messy, tempestuous relationship.

That said, it's hard not to feel that something is lost as the lens of street style photography is turned away from "the street" and towards sidewalks outside runway shows. As Berlinger claims, something of the "immediacy" and "authenticity" of street style photographs has been compromised. 

But not all is lost. There are still plenty of good street style blogs out there that feature people far off the runway: Streetgeist in LA, On the Corner in Buenos Aires, Breaking Fad in New York, and my all-time favorite, Hel Looks in Helsinki. I will, of course, continue to shoot "real people" on the streets of Philly. I'm just waiting for it to warm up a bit first. And then, come February, I'll be back out on the sidewalks outside the runways of Fashion Week. And I too will be swept up in the show.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.