Thursday, December 17, 2015

New York Street Style

Ever wonder how "Street Style" became a thing?


    Look no further. 
In Decemeber 1978, the NY Times published a series of photographs by a Boston-born man named Bill Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham had previously worked as a writer at the Tribune and at Women's Wear Daily, which I imagine sparked his interest in photographing women on the street. His photos landed him a weekly column (& a lifelong career) in the NY Times called On the Street

He photographed women on the streets of Manhattan with great personal style. These women had no idea they would end up in the Times when they walked out of the house that day. He really changed the game for the paper. The Editor at the time, Arthur Gelb said "It was a turning point for the Times because it was the first time the paper had run pictures of well-known people without getting their permission." (

There is no doubt that Cunningham has paved the way for street fashion photographers, however there have certainly been some changes along the way aside from the clothing. 

Now, with all of the social media, 'street style' has flooded the fashion weeks, including New York's. The people that stood outside of the fashion shows were once known as 'rats', but are now what many people look forward to seeing. There are countless blogs, articles and entire website dedicated to photographing and criticizing these people of the streets. So much so that designers have taken notice and have jumped on the bandwagon. Many designers have been reported to strategically dress these people on the street so they would be photographed in their clothing. During New York, or Mercedes Benz fashion week, street style has become such a phenomenon that people come from near and far just in hopes they will be photographed for their wardrobe that day. It has become a real spectator sport.


Personally, I love looking at the street style during NY fashion week. There are so many crazy looks that people somehow make look effortless. I think that's what it is about. For all we know, these people could have been saving up for that outfit for months or thrifting for the perfect pieces over the years just in hopes they would be photographed outside a fashion show. However, if these people can manage to make it look like they casually threw their outfit together and they're just these amazingly styling people, they have a chance at getting their photo taken. Of course, I am not by any means implying that everyone walking around NY fashion week are some kind of posers, but it is what makes it so fun for me because we do not know these people. Their lives are not publicized and although they are like celebrities for the day, they are fresh faces that kind of make you feel like "wow I could wear that too!". 

     If I were to have a NY fashion week blog, I imagine that I would like to be more like Bill Cunningham. I love the idea that his photographs were of pictures of women in these impromptu outfits (in the sense that they didn't plan on being photographed). I feel like it gives a much more authentic vibe. Today, I imagine that it would be hard to capture a very impromptu photo with all of the social media and the expectations that come with NY fashion week. My philosophy would be something along the lines of try to capture the most authentically, unplanned photo. I also love the idea of picturing stylish older women like those pictured in advanced style. I think the way they dress is so fun and unique. It seems very personal and like nothing you would see on the streets on NY fashion week. The things that really catch my eye are what's different and not 'trendy'.

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