Between fashion weeks in digital format and social life opportunities reduced to a minimum, “street style” fashion photography, accused of having long since lost its authenticity, is going through an unprecedented stalemate. “But the pandemic will end up helping this photographic genre to regain its lost freshness”. Scott Schuman speculates it in this interview, who defines himself as “photographer and author with a social media platform, The Sartorialist», With whom in 2005, he says,« I started photographing New York people who I found had an interesting look and could express a certain style ».

Scott Schuman considers the photos published with this interview to be among his most significant, and comments on them. INDIA. “For me, style has never been about brands, but about color, patterns, proportions and silhouettes. This woman I photographed in an Indian village reflects all these elements beautifully. “

Mr Schuman, it was not an easy year for you street style photographers, between being unable to travel, canceled fashion weeks and difficulties in approaching subjects on the street with a mask.
An annus horribilis, I don’t deny it. Yet I have not hung up the camera: some interesting looks on the streets of New York continue to be seen. To call street style photography “dead” – as I have recently read – is an exaggeration.

What makes him believe it?
The curiosity about how others dress has always been and always will be. We used to peek at people sitting on park benches. Today we do it online on what I call “virtual benches”: blogs, fashion magazine sites, Instagram. Over the years the mediums have multiplied, but the drive is the same, and soon, as soon as the pandemic will have passed, will return to give life to this photographic genre.

PARIS. “This is my wife Jenny Walton, a genius in mixing vintage pieces from different eras (mostly found online) with a single piece of design (like these Prada boots) to create a modern and absolutely unique look.”

The question is whether the original outfits will ever return to the street, the great absentees of this gloomy and subdued era.
They will come back more than before, you will see. History teaches us: the Great Depression was followed by one of the most euphoric periods ever for fashion. As soon as the emergency is over, we will find ourselves eager to celebrate life, even with those original and eye-catching looks that today, in a period of collective suffering, seem inappropriate to us. Those who return to being successful at work will want to show it, as it has always been, with fashion. The lighter bank accounts will at the same time push many people, instead of buying the item of the moment, to use the imagination to creatively combine the clothes already present in their wardrobe, which is the essence of street style.

NEW YORK. “The acceptance of gender fluidity has become more and more important and has made the streets of New York (and many other cities around the world) even more lively and exciting!”

Even if it is smart working, as it seems, was to become the norm?
Just having to go to the office from time to time could act as a stimulus to take care of the look more before leaving the house. Pajamas and jumpsuits will have become more and more tired: from this period we will probably keep the need to wear comfortable clothes for a long time, but creativity and originality of the design will come back to count. And here we come to the really sore point of the matter: in recent years the streets are dominated by an unimaginative street sports style, poor in colors, flat, which does not invite me to shoot. My frustration as a street photographer was born well before Covid.

(Go on)

Opening: LONDON. “An image that restores the youthful spirit of those who use fashion to have fun, and express who they are or hope to be”.


Read the full interview with Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist in the February issue of Vogue Italia, on newsstands from February 5th

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