(not so) random links

a reminder for you san franciscans/bay area denziens:

the 2008 discarded to divine fashion show and auction is coming up soon! it’s on april 26th, at 7 pm, at the academy of art’s building over at 601 brannan street, in the soma district here in san francisco.

i posted about the upcoming event way back at the end of february…i was planning on going, but oops, turns out i’ll be resting and relaxing on a beach in hawaii that weekend! so, i beg of you, GO! and report back!

get a peep at select, stunning garments that will be featured at the show by checking out sf indie fashion‘s fabulous discarded to divine sneak preview!

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according to the telegraph, fashion mags are now photoshopping curves onto skinny models and celebs in an attempt to deflect criticism concerning possible objectification of said skinny models in the recent past. wait, first these models aren’t skinny enough…now they are TOO skinny? seriously, WTF? i think this quote nails the ridiculousness of all this:

…Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of the eating disorder charity Beat, condemned the practice. “Altering models’ bodies to appear fuller-figured proves that the industry acknowledges there is a serious issue with projecting images of very thin models, but [it is] missing the point,” she said. “They should be using naturally healthy models in the first instance, instead of having to make them look that way.”

indeed. EMBRACE REALITY, fashion industry, it’s the latest trend!

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-has the sartorialist has overstepped his boundaries as a street fashion photographer? not wanting to limit himself to merely concentrating on documenting stylish folks, he’s now moving on to ‘making over’ those who allegedly just don’t make the cut as fodder for his site. seems he’s wanting to make such folks conform to the sartorialist “look”, or make them look “better”…implying there’s a standard to conform to, stylewise. over 500 comments show that at least a few folks are questioning (and also supporting) this move of his…

for me, the post in question in turn begs these questions:

…should street fashion photographers dispense style advice? what is a street fashion photographer’s intention or job? to merely document, or dictate? should a street fashion blog be about celebration, or about dissection (of a person’s style)?

…and what about the issue of personal style? are the personal style statements of some superior to those of others?

…do some street fashion photogs document a more true or “better” version of street style?

…can any one street fashion photographer be truly diverse in what they show or choose to show, given their own tastes and inclinations?

what say you?

***

and the quick and dirty (the all-sock edition!):

these prep-tastic pom-pom socks featured on the purl bee are so deliciously cute. the pom-poms are completely reminiscent of bunny tails…and who doesn’t like bunnies? *grin* anyway, i think said socks could be super suave and more than a little subversive done in a really riotous color combo, like neon yellow paired with gray, or mint green paired with red-orange. natch.

metapostmodernknitting is running a sock design challenge. the aim? to create an artsy and/or fashionable knitted sock for women. think you’ve got the knit wits and style sense to come up with something suitable? go to this blog post on MPMK for more details! (via craft:)

20 comments

  1. Erica

    Re: the Sartorialist:

    I have mixed feelings about the Sartorialist. I like that he focuses equally on men and women, and depicts his subjects as they are dressed in that moment, on the street. The people he chooses often have interesting and inspiring ensembles, no doubt. It’s nice to see images of people who enjoy fashion. But what I don’t like is his narrow focus on what is beautiful/stylish/fashionable; he mostly chooses people who appear dressed out of the pages of a glossy magazine. Every now and then he’ll feature someone outside the designer box, but mostly he operates within a European, “high fashion” paradigm. He of course has the right to share what he finds attractive on his blog, and clearly many, many people share his taste.

    With all the above said, who is he to impose his paradigm on this girl? He’s allowed his opinions about her boots and her hair, fine. But what makes his opinions about her appearance so infallible? I don’t care who you are or where you are from, no one is perfect and everyone has room to learn and grow. Most of the time he’s humble enough, so I wouldn’t go so far as to claim he’s a snob. But in this case he seems to be assuming that he holds the golden keys to perfect style for a girl he met on the street, and that is a rather strong assumption.

  2. Ashe Mischief

    The one thing I find so strongly disheartening about the Sartorialist incident is that he seems to be having a difficult time explaining (or having people listen) when he says *she* approached him about the project. He saw her in the store, yes, but I am under the impression she asked him to assist in the make-over– not that he told her she wasn’t good enough and offered to do it. And as such, has offered his advice & consultation to her.

    In this instance, how is it any different than a female asking her more stylish friend to shop with her, help her pick a new hair color, etc.?

  3. Ashe Mischief

    I want to also add– I could be misinterpreting Schuman’s comments in his blog, or how the scenario went down. He makes several comments to which he says he wouldn’t have done it without her enthusiasm, they were discussing her outfit, she had wanted slight modifications to her style, etc.

    It could be that the signals on that communication are getting very mixed up and are unclear, but that was how I understood the project to be (to which I’m not sure I have a problem with. If you respect someone’s style, their vision, their views, I don’t see why asking them for assistance in achieving a +1 style for yourself is bad).

  4. tricia

    ashe mischief: fine, she asked him. in general, it just seems like a departure for him…a strange direction to go in. but hey, a lot of people get what you’re saying, he’s got tons of supporters who think it’s a good idea. it just seemed off to me, if his site is more about celebrating and documenting personal style…not creating it.

  5. tricia

    ashe: i think schumann’s comment in the post itself need to be looked at again, so i have quoted them here:

    “We spoke for a few minutes and while we were talking I kept trying to figure out how i could take a picture of her without getting those boots in the shot!

    Anyway, I asked if I could take a shot of her but after a few tries I realized this would never go on The Sartorialist.

    Those boots never make a girls legs look good, they always hit at the widest part of the leg which makes your leg look shapeless. I don’t think I have ever shot a young lady for this site wearing that type of boot, or cowboy boots.

    The hair is way too long and seems a bit old-fashioned for her and I don’t get the tights/hose.”

    At least the dress is savable but that neckline combined with her hair does nothing for her long neck.

    For all the people that say “she is so cute she would look good in a potato sack” well, here is the proof that even the cutest need to make good stylistic choices.

    That’s when I realized she needs a Sartorialist make-over. We are not going to make some huge transformation, she doesn’t need it, but we can make a few changes that will really make a big impact on her personal presentation.”

    in his actual post he makes no mention of her desire for any makeover…it’s only something he later admits /reveals in the comments.

    ***

    he says right there, “*i*realized she needs a sartorialist makeover”. it sounds as if it was his idea. and of course, if she’s a fan, she’s not going to say no! it’s great that they decided to do this, i guess, but does it fit the subject matter of his blog? again, seems like a departure for me. but whatever, it’s his blog, i guess! i just find it curious.

    what are “good stylistic choices”? those made by the people he normally chooses to shoot? good according to whom? why are the ones she chose “bad”? (he’s implying she’s making many mistakes in her look by running over them in detail there.) are there rules of fashion that must be adhered to? does schumann at expert at these rules?

    just sayin’. 🙂

  6. Sue Kennedy

    I take a great interest in The Sartorialist partly because I want to see what people are wearing & also because I take street photos. But when I’m reading it, it immediately transports me back to The Schoolyard. In fact, the whole site reminds me of ‘Mean Girls’ with Scott playing a more sympathetic version of Regina George. People will turn themselves inside out & froth at the mouth to get on the site because then they’ll be part of The Cool Group.
    When last I checked, there were over 570 comments about Scott’s Makeover Madness. I haven’t read any yet but I’ll bet my bottom dollar that most of them will be salivating over the idea.

  7. Ashe Mischief

    Tricia, I was referring more to his comments to readers, such as this one: Also don’t you think that their is a certain percentage of people that want to improve their personal style but want a little help? That is the feeling i got from her when we spoke about this project.

    I am not trying to change her but help her find herself.

    He also comments later to someone that ultimately, her decisions about what she likes and dislikes, that he isn’t trying to develop Sartorialist clones but rather help someone who is wanting to be their best self, what she keeps and doesn’t are up to her, but occasionally the opportunity presents itself when he speaks to those he’s photographing, and he enjoys the opportunity. At 26, I understand what the girl is going through– there’s a transition to go through, where your style is evolving from when you are younger to a more mature & professional styling. It’s possible she mentioned this to him, and he said, “Well, perhaps you may want to look at this…” and she thought it was a good idea. In many ways, I think my 20s are much more confusing and dynamic than being a teenager, and having a bit of guidance from a person whose style you are inspired by is not a bad idea.

    It is quite a depature from his normal documentary style, but he has shown self-focused make-overs in the past (women who looked one way when he met them, whose styles have drastically changed when he re-encountered them years later).

  8. tricia

    ashe: well, his later comments contradict his initial ones, though they do shed some more light on his motivations (and her part in the whole thing). generally, though, they seem a bit defensive, but that’s to be expected, people are being critical of his idea. i am sure many of us would do the same.

    the sart could probably start a sister (brother? 🙂 ) blog where he does these makeovers, and i am sure it would go over quite well. but is a street fashion blog the place for this kind of post? maybe not? maybe? who knows. which is what i was questioning, generally.

    and yes, he’s featured people who’ve changed over the years, made their own look over, so to speak, but that’s wholly different than the sart himself having a direct, explicit hand in such makeovers. it’s really not the same thing, at least in my eyes (him doing the makeover, and him just documenting people’s self-motivated changes).

    again, it just seems out of place (to me) if you consider the rest of his content…it’s primarily focused upon displaying photos of well-dressed, sartorial-worthy people. i’m convinced that it’s certainly not out of place or out of line in the mind of others, as your comments (and about half of his!) suggest.

  9. Lily

    I thought it was in pretty poor taste for the Sartorialist to propose this “makeover” feature — seems to me if you can’t say something nice, etc. He’s always skewed towards the rich and thin as subjects way too much for me to ever take his blog seriously anyway.

  10. valerie

    i’ve always found the sartorialist a bit dubious, but that post…man. i honestly thought when i first read it that it was some kind of joke or that the site had been hacked. when i saw his responses in the comments i couldn’t help but put in my two cents. you and your commenter erica put it very eloquently already and have raised all of the issues i take with that post, so really i have nothing more to add but to express my…i don’t know…disappointment? part of it is that, regardless of his somewhat narrow aesthetic preferences, he did previously tend toward the positive in his posts, even occasionally trying to veer some of his more common and predictable commenters in a more open-minded direction; the whole makeover thing just smacks of a transparent attempt at boosting his readership (though it’s got to be huge already!) by appealing to those who find it more enticing to criticize than to celebrate.

  11. Ranna

    I critized the whole Sartorial make-over thing at my blog a couple of days ago and it created quite a fuss over there.
    In my opinion street style sites always reflect the aestetic taste of the photographer and I’m totally fine with that. But the willingness to change someone’s personal style in order to make her fit into the sartorial mold seems somewhat dubious to me. The Sartorialist has always portrayed himself as an appreciator of individualism and personal style. I guess the make-over thing just made a lot of people to see his site in a different light.

  12. Emily

    That Sartorialist post gives me the willies…mostly the initial comments you highlighted. I haven’t read his site regularly in a while, since I’ve discovered more diverse street fashion sites (like wardrobe_remix…;) ) and this really underlines the elitism that seems to underly a lot of his posting. It makes sense because he is a “fashion insider” and all, but it’s not something I enjoy.

  13. emily august

    I saw that Sartorialist post and sort of laughed to myself about it; I thought his point about the boots is fitting for my own look, as I own two pairs of boots like that and can never find a flattering way to wear them. He has encouraged me to sell them on eBay, but not because he made me see the light; he simply confirmed my strong suspicion.

    In general, it simply sounds to me like he is starting to sound like that know-it-all in class that nobody likes. I think he is approaching it without malice, but its kind of weird! He’ll probably get some attention for straying from the norm of his posts, but if he strays too far then his blog will lose that which people read the blog for in the first place.

    The basic problem is that imposing a “look” on people goes against the reason why these people are out on the street dressed as themselves in the first place! Why do I want to see the Sartorialist dressing people when the real draw is that these are “real people”?

  14. Leah

    The part I found rather bizarre was the fact that he’s doing it for someone who he admits to just meeting. I don’t know about anyone else, but though I trust my gut instinct about a person on the first meeting, there are times when I can be quite wrong. How can you know who that person is in the first meeting? In my view, personal stylistic choices stems from the very core of the personality of that person, regardless whether they dress in the so called fashionable stylish way.

    I’m a bit torn at the idea of ‘makeover’ because in his comments, he suggests that it was the girl wanting to experiment and he was merely assisting. In which case, surely the term ‘style experiment’ would be more fitting? Yet in the initial post, it eludes to something completely different – that he disliked everything about her look and wanted to make it better. On the whole, I am against makeovers – the very word denotes a dictator of style approach to me, but in some ways I think it’d be interesting to see exactly what the Sart defines as style.

    Oh, regarding what you said Tricia, I do think it stems a little away from the idea of a street style photographer – who in my eyes documents exactly what they see, not what they have adapted and made better. Whether what s/he document is stylish or not, remains up to onlooker to decide because it would already be in line with what the photographer views as style.

  15. dreamecho

    I was also turned off by his initial post, though I held back from assuming anything. Eventually his later explanations arrived in an attempt to clarify the situation. Though the later explanations shine a different light on the situation, in my mind, they don’t let him completely off the hook. As you pointed out, Tricia, his later words contradict his initial ones, and that doesn’t rest well with me.

    That the site is only supposed to focus on streetstyle has been an issue before. Do you remember when he went to India? He took a lot of grief for posting this:

    http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/2008/03/tough-way-to-start-saturday-morning-new.html

    When people called him out on posting non-fashion-related issues, others rushed to his defense. Scott eventually replied with “I am a photographer and taking photos is what I do… at the end of the day this blog is a visual diary of my life….”

    Frankly, that reply did not sit well with me. I’ve been paying attention to The Sartorialist since almost the beginning, and his reply goes against his previous policy. Whenever people tried to bring up issues in his photos not related to “style” — e.g., smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, riding a bicycle without a helmet is not safe, how capturing and posting such acts condones them — Scott would say that they have nothing to do with style and, therefore, BACK OFF. Eventually, Scott was explicitly saying to not discuss such subjects.

    Then he goes to India and brings up world issues.

    Talk about contradictions.

    Sometimes Scott will advocate that style is more than just about fashion — you know, the whole “confidence” and “knowing yourself” shebang that we already understand. Other times, he’ll say that his blog is only about “style,” as in, what you wear and how you look. He needs to make up his mind already. He can’t have it both ways.

    Style encompasses an entire way of living. It’s not just about what you wear and how you look; it’s about what you consume, what you eat, who you love and what your morals are. Scott needs to either embrace this in his blog (or potential companion blog) completely, or he needs to stay the hell away from anything beyond streetstyle and clothes.

  16. tricia

    dreamecho (and everyone else): great points!

    scott schumann is, if nothing else, is a huge contradiction…that much is completely clear, after this whole kerfuffle.

    it also feels as if he also has an incredibly hard time articulating himself…which makes things even more complicated for him.

    bottom line: he takes picture of stylish people he sources from the streets.

    the people he snaps pictures of live in our times, and said people are often times wearing the VERY latest fashions. especially those people he snaps at the bi-yearly fashion shows…they are almost always wearing only the most current of styles. and even if his subjects aren’t insanely trendy, they are wearing clothes and living in the present. if they aren’t wearing “what’s out there” now, then what are they doing? in the most literal sense? is he taking pictures of fashions and people from the future? the past? what is he taking pictures of? who is he taking pictures of??

    you also point out that he constantly talks about style…about what people wear. about fashion in the general sense. his blog is about style, no??

    and yet, as of a post he made today, he claims this:

    “I personally have never thought of this as a “Street Style” blog

    for me a street style blog reports on what is out there.

    I am sharing what I see that inspires me – it just so happens that a lot of what i see on the street inspires me but I also like magazines or fashion shows or whatever.”

    the fact that he is shooting photographs of people who inspire him or move him aesthetically in some way is to me, implicit…it is what almost any photographer who shoots people, especially most street (fashion) photographers, would say they do. they are all, in the most literal sense, REPORTING ON WHAT’S OUT THERE.

    his idea of what and who he is is unclear. he has a hard time stepping outside of himself and seeing his place in the world. does he even really know what that place is, or who he is, and where he fits in in society, in our culture? i am actually sort of unsure…because everything he says contradicts the last thing he says. it makes my head spin!

    it seems as if he wants to somehow set himself apart from other people of his ilk, other “street fashion photographers”. as if he thinks of himself as different, a cut above. something! he actually seems a bit delusional as to what he actually does and how it’s generally perceived by the world at large. what’s so wrong with being a “street style” photographer or having a street style blog, anyway?

  17. Lady Smaggle

    I think a street style photographers job is to document not dictate. If I wanted to see make-overs (and sometimes I do) I would watch Trinny and Susannah or Opera. The beauty of street style is just that. It’s street style. Completely unique and decided upon by the individual. Not happy with The Sartorialist at all. I can’t imagine Facehunter or Hel-looks doing this…

  18. Caroline

    I know the Sartorialist makeover has taken over these comments (which is great, as it’s a topic very worthwhile of discussion), but I did want to make a comment in regards to your mention of a trip to Hawaii. I’m a recent transplant to the state, and have found the thrift shops rife with adorable (very non-overly flowery) muu’muus that look oh so nice worn as mini dresses and/or tunics and with or without a belt – just the right fit for a pregnant woman. Everytime I’m out thrifting I wish that I’d been here during my pregnancy. Love your blog, by the way…I look forward to seeing you move gracefully through the remainder of your pregnancy.

  19. Ashe Mischief

    http://www.dressaday.com/2008/04/how-not-to-respond-to-criticism.html
    http://fashionindie.com/fashion-controversy-is-it-still-fashion-design-if-you-use-a-butterick-pattern/

    I wasn’t sure if you had come across this yet, but as a design student, it seems like something you’d appreciate and have thoughts on. Is using one of Butterick’s most famous and long-last patterns, in its entirety, essentially okay? A young fashion designer in St. Louis seems to think it’s all right.

  20. dreamecho

    Tricia, those last two paragraphs capture some things that I’ve always sense but never pushed myself to articulate. At least based on his minimal written communication (which is not his strongest point), he does seem to consider himself a cut above the rest. I don’t have a problem with a makeover per se, but when presented the way it was and in the context of his inconsistent mission, I can’t say I’m gung ho about it. Like you say, what’s so bad about being a streetstyle photographer? Especially when he does it so well? (With his specific sub-genre, that is — he’s not the be all and end all streestyle blogger.)

    BTW, I’m originally from Honolulu (now living in Cambridge, MA), so if you have any questions about Hawaii, feel free to email me.