Reel Style?

Hey everyone – below is a conversation that was going on today in the blog comments between me and a reader from Australia named Karen. I thought she raised a really interesting point and wanted to bring it out of comments and post it on the top page. I would love to hear what you guys think about this. Karen’s comment is first in italics and then my response to her follows. (Quick note – the girl in question is a true fashion junkie and follows her heart style-wise. I am confident that she would dress exactly as she does whether her photo was taken or not. I don’t agree with Karen in this case – but generally speaking she’s on to something.)

Karen said – yeh yeh, I get that she looks beautiful and she is creative, but looking at this I just had a massive realisation that there is way too much contrivance and self-consciousness in terms of so-called street style in order to be seen and possibly photographed. Whatever happened to intrinsic style that is just “born” of the person?

My response – I love your point and have mentioned the exact same thing to several people recently. Street fashion photography has been around for decades but has seen an explosion in interest and outlets since say 2005 or so. I’ve definitely noticed people recently who are dressed as though for a casting – a street style casting. (You can nearly guarantee coverage if you are an off-duty model, are wearing massive and massively expensive chunky heels, or are repping a preppy-meets-edgy editor’s favorite like Band of Outsiders, Thom Browne, or A.P.C.) There is an awareness among fashion conscious people these days (when they go to certain neighborhoods or attend certain events like a runway show) that they have a high probability of having their photo taken if they work an appropriate look. I often try to avoid taking this “street style bait” and walk around the corner to find someone unique and less self-aware…though I’m certainly not immune to this temptation. No doubt about it – self-awareness does taint authenticity somewhat. I’m afraid this genie will never be put back in the bottle however.

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