quick (fashion) questions: street fashion sites = have they ‘jumped the shark’?

(this one is inspired by a post entitled street style is dead; long live street style! by morgan of pandahead magazine over at brightest young things (where miss morgan regularly guest-posts))…

css1.jpg

-have street style sites reached a saturation point? i.e., are there too many of said websites, with too many of them essentially showing the same thing (same type of people, too similar of styles), over and over? do we need MORE street style websites? one from every city, town, village? multiple ones from every city? would more be better? or would less be better?

-are street style sites, as a blog/website category, losing their novelty? or, as morgan and her commenters suppose, are they just reaching a saturation point amongst those who have long been rabid fans of that particular genre of fashion photography?

-are many of the popular street fashion websites/blogs too focused upon one style, at the expense of other styles/a sense of diversity? or could one argue that the photographers running and maintaining those sites have focused their eye upon a certain aesthetic that appeals to those individuals and their readers?

-to take this a bit further: is there, in this day and age, a discernible difference between the denizens of one city to the next, as far as documentable street fashion/fashion trends are concerned? or has easy access to the internet and globalization of retail homogenized style to a great degree? meaning, can we tell the difference between the hipsters in paris and the ones dwelling in london, or the ones who hail from san francisco or the ones who hail from new york?

-morgan asks, and i in turn ask too: if street style/fashion blogs are beginning to become or have become passe (at least amongst some small subset, perhaps), then what the heck is next?

-will this kind of thing (street style websites and their ilk) stick around and become ubiqutious and everywhere?

-will only the strong survive? (note that a lot popped up a long while ago, and have since been abandoned, new ones have sprung up in their wake.)

-what will or could this type of blogging and documentation of those around us morph/evolve into, if anything?

11 comments

  1. amy

    The street style sites I’m most attracted to – the ones that seem most intriguing and inventive – are those that focus more on catching one person in one place, and include some sort of biographical type of information. I’d consider Hel-looks, for example, to be more than just street style, and closer to a blog about individuals. I think the new wave of style blogs will be more individual-focused, more about introducing the reader to an interesting person.

    Simonhoegsberg.com has a photography project up – the face series – that is a good example of the kind of biographical information that I think people are looking for when they look at style sites, that glance into someone’s life, just for a moment.

  2. salllymandy

    Will have to think through all the questions more carefully. I don’t know; I’m new to the style blog scene, but I don’t think they are becoming irrelevant. There might be too many. For people living outside a major city, having insight into fashion centers and studying what others do around the world is very helpful. Many of us are in a style bubble (no reference to Style Bubble the fasion site) and the online street fashion sites give us something we can’t get elsewhere. That being said, there are styles I don’t want to emulate. Street fashion from Austin Texas doesn’t speak to me. The Sartorialist is still my favorite because the people photographed are usually incorporating some element of style that I can learn from–he shoots from cities where style has been in the blood forever and ever, and I figure if anyone has it down to a science, it’s people in Paris. I also trust Scott Schuman’s eye as well as anyone’s. It’s educational for me.

    My favorite thing to do is look at a shot, see what I do or don’t like about it, and then check my reaction to what the dozens of commenters have said. This gives me a reality check about my own style eye–which I need, because I live in a style-deprived place.

    There might be too many street fashion blogs out there. What I’d like to see is one or more that’s focused on women in the middle of life. This is a demographic that’s really searching for style guidance and ideas. Street fashion there could be really helpful.

    Good questions! I’m enjoying your blog.

  3. Helen

    Hel Looks will always be my favourite. A lot of street style sites just seem to focus on what the photographer likes and can be quite specialised – like The Sartorialist’s style compared to Face Hunters, but Hel Looks seems to look at everyone’s style.

    I myself have considered starting one for Liverpool – I always see people wearing nice things and want to photograph them but I think it takes a lot of dedication to carry on with it. Hence why a lot of them just fizzle out and become inactive.

    One of the things I like about Hel Looks is that it asks people about their style and you learn a little about them – it makes the people come alive rather than just being objects of fashion.

  4. Shay

    I don’t think these sites are becoming irrelevant, but I do think there is too much to keep track of and on fashion blogs in particular, too many people writing about the same topics in the same way or posting the same photos and only saying “I like this.” I quickly grow bored of reading fashion blogs around fashion week or during awards season for this reason and in my own writing I always try to inject a unique viewpoint, give useful information or search for material that hasn’t already been blogged to death.

    I think the transition we’re going to see is that we’re all going to have to get ruthless based on our interests and what sites consistently provide the type of inspiration that appeals to us as individuals, and stop reading those that do not. I think this “uncluttering” phase is a very personal one, however, that will be different for all of us.

  5. sallymandy

    One additional thought that came to me later today. Recently read that the online style blogs and street fashion sites are contributing to trickle-up design. Designers have to pay more attention to street fashion. This is probably old news, but not to me. I like that a lot.

  6. Cameron

    The Chattanoogan is this photographer’s look at what’s being worn on the street in our city. I try to represent all fashion outliers, not any particular style. That said, most subjects are young and therefore thrift shoppers, so waifs and wastrels abound. Their artful assemblages make good back stories, too. Other eyecatchers are flambouyance, surprise, whimsey and madness. I even like simplicity, especially as a projection of confidence. The most difficult aspect of fashion blogging for me has been approaching people. If my smile, eye contact and greeting aren’t reciprocated, I move on. In fifty-odd encounters, three people have refused my request for a portrait. That is a good percentage, but what of all the lost opportunities? I’ve heard of Manhattanites vying for Bill Cunningham’s attentions. Maybe something like that can happen in Chattanooga.

  7. artdiva

    The pendulum has swung the other way, and not just because of the bad economy all over the globe, but just due to the general cycle of hipsterdom: underground > edgy new style > popularity > saturation > contraction > death/back underground. I feel this saturation/contraction stage of street style is part of the general cultural trend of nesting. What’s next? Retreating from being “seen” will be cool because street/scene/party photo blogs will be continue to be co-opted, corporatized and conglomerated through various means and then repackaged in various interfaces.

  8. Coco

    Street style blogs as they are, are becoming irrelevant to me. Hel Looks can be interesting for the diversity in styles represented, and the Sartorialist is often lovely for the reasons that sallymandy mentions above – that the cities he shoots in are historically stylish. My problems with the Sartorialist is that I feel I see the same 6 or 7 styles in it consistently, and that the majority of what’s presented is monied. I find this incredibly boring.

    What’s most frustrating to me about the plethora of available street style blogs is that they do tend to look alike. The majority of the style subjects are young (under 35 and mostly in their early to mid twenties), thin and white. Body diversity is sorely lacking in style blogs, as is age diversity (I live in a neighbourhood full of fatties and seniors with fantastic style!) and ethnic diversity. Rarely am I ever surprised by what I see in street style blogs and it’s gotten a little tedious seeing 20-something hipsters in skinny black jeans on every site. I love skinny jeans, but I have to wonder why styles that have become so ubiquitous are still notable.

    I think the concept of style blogs is still a very good one, but I’d like to see some significant changes.

  9. laura

    i think that there are way too many “street fashion” blogs or websites that only take pictures of the hipsters and fashion people, e.g. facehunter or the sartorialist, now – people who only take photos at fashion events or fashion week. i have enough of these websites. i want to see normal, everyday people doing their thing. it’s way more admirable and inspiring if people who work in – like – an office wear outstanding things than people who are in the fashion business. among the fashion people, dressing “differently” is common. if you work with people who are not used to unusual combinations and who pass comments on everything you wear it’s a lot more difficult. still, i don’t think that street fashion photographers (i guess you know that nadine and me also maintain a street fashion website for leipzig) have to take photos of everyone they see. of course the website expresses what you like and what catches your eye. that’s completely normal. nonetheless, i hope that there will be a bit of variety. sadly, i think there aren’t big differences between the ways people dress in different cities or countries anymore – at least not when it comes to europe and the usa. the media and the internet have mixed it all up. if you look at young people, you can’t see many differences or regional specifics. of course, some elderly people (for instance in bavaria where they still wear dirndls) and continents such as africa and asia (at least parts of them) make an acception. however, i guess that if people in africa and asia had the means and access to media that we have, they would might wear the same things as well. i hope people from all over the world won’t be wearing the same clothes some day. well – back to streetfashion. (; in germany, street fashion has just started to become popular, so the trend is still at its beginning here. i hope that street fashion wasn’t just a random trend and that we will still be able to look at all that eye candy in some years. nadine and i will go on – taking pictures of beautifully-dressed people in leipzig. we think our home town deserves it. the people who dress up great every single day and might never get compliments (but from us) deserve it. and of course we love walking around and taking photos.

  10. Pingback: final fashion » click click - 03-03-09
  11. kaye

    I think the more streetstyle sites, the merrier. Why not everyone have his or her own streetstyle site promoting the way he or she sees fashion? The only problem with streetstyle blogs is the notorious extra styling and posing involved that takes away from the surprise of seeing someone looking fabulous on the street (not that people should be snapped randomly like paparazzi-style, but this whole Sartorialist Fitzgerald Glamour Shots vibe is only one way and shouldn’t be the standard).

    Hopefully streetstyle blog interest will morph into real people engaging in dialogue about self-expression in real life, and perhaps more people being inspired to experiment. Designer-only blogs, though lovely, can sometimes feel a bit worshipful or even porny to me, and really streetstyle is about living, moving, evolving–not pristinely capturing branding and design artistry. Why do some blogs only post cropped pictures of magazine editors manicured feet in the not-yet-in-stores shoe designs for next season–where’s the context?

    Probably the most interesting semi-streetstyle pictures are people just photographing themselves like on wardrobe_remix or chictopia, and you definitely combine the streetstyle blog format with the creative self-expression of self-portraits with your remixers of the week posts.