Style is a very difficult concept to decipher. Whether someone is ‘stylish’ or not is somewhat relative to the way one perceives themselves and others.
For example, the Ugg boot is certainly very popular (sadly still) and some would argue it is worth the extortionate price to obtain a stylish look. I myself see them as foot mittens and would much prefer a battered plimsoll.
These clashes lead to the outcome that there is no one way of measuring stylishness; there will always be someone who disagrees with our perception of style or what looks ‘good’.
However, after discovering a man named Scott Schuman aka ‘The Sartorialist’, my views changed. In 2005, New Yorker Schuman founded the blog The Sartorialist as a way to publicise the eccentric and inspiring looks found on city streets.
His stunning photos capture people who practically exude style, the spontaneity adding a wistful element to the passers by he spots.
There is no one noticeable thing they have in common, but they all seem to stand out in a way that turns heads. This is not through brash and blatant clothing, but often something more subtle that cannot be pinpointed.
More importantly than The Sartorialist’s gift at spotting fashion gems is his nonchalance toward trends and the-latest-thing.
These people stand out on their own, not because they’re daintily carrying Mulberry’s most recent bag nor because they’re top to toe in Topman.
Admittedly, Shuman has photographed many catwalk shows, beautifully of course, but his street photos are much more candid and intimate.
Further, his subjects are rarely stick thin young models.
Instead, he picks out elderly proud men in 1920’s suits, wearing spats, fedoras and smoking cigars. Or androgynous girls in make-shift clothing, craftily thrown together posing on quaint bikes with baskets.
Yes, there are rich glamorous socialites spotted too, but they emanate as much intrinsic style as the tramp with the ‘mammoth’ matted fur coat and army boots – for example.
The anonymity of these people creates a yearning curiosity to know more about them; where are they going dressed like that? Do they always look so stylish? They seem to live in a world of their own creation, caring not for those who look and stare.
The Sartorialist is found in trendy cities such as Paris, Milan, London and, of course, New York, so it is not surprising he discovers such style. But personally, I think he should branch out perhaps further than London.
Leeds would be a good start, Edinburgh maybe…or, gosh, why not just straight to Brighton. Brighton is such an offbeat inspiring city for fashionistas, Schuman is surely missing out.
Six years later and The Sartorialist is one of the most established and influential fashion blogs on the internet. So if you like people watching, fashion or photography visit: www.thesartorialist.com and look out for Schuman on the streets – you may be his next muse!