In the blur that is New York Fashion Week, street style photographers can often be spotted weaving in and out of parked cars outside of shows, searching for that perfect shot. Their job, capturing beautiful and spontaneous fashion, officially makes them the slipperiest species in the industry — the most elusive (and most sought-after), of course, being The Sartorialist.
After a few attempts of trying to snag an interview Scott Schuman at multiple shows, I hit a stroke of luck. Standing outside the back end of Milk Studios after the Ohne Titel show, there he was — neither shooting nor speaking to anyone, just standing around waiting for (I presume) his girlfriend and fellow street style pioneer, Garance Dore.
Thanks to the good timing, I was able to pick his brain for exactly 6 minutes — here's what The Sartorialist had to say about the future of fashion blogging, the fashion industry's relationship with blogging, and the evolution of street style photography:
IFB: How do you think fashion blogging has changed the way the general public and fashion industry digests fashion?
The Sartorialist: I think the only big change is that there is more local fashion coverage. There's bloggers all over the world, whether it's in small towns across America or Chile or Bangladesh… Newspapers only devote “x” amount of space to fashion. I think it puts a local spin on overall fashion — a local voice.
Do you think that street style photography has changed the way the fashion industry predicts trends?
Let's be honest, all the stuff we see on the sites is already in the stores. If anything it's a trend that's over. For me, when I'm shooting, I'm not reporting, I'm shooting how I feel. I'm trying to take an interesting portrait of a person or take a photo of a well-dressed moment… By the time [an item] hits the store that trend is already over.
What I think it really does do is help people in the industry see what people are really buying. It's like, wow, that trend really made it onto the backs of people, or those shoes really made it on to people's feet… I don't think it so much influences trends as it documents what actually ended up happening.
With the recent over-saturation of street style on so many blogs and websites, how to you think it will change? What do you think is the next step?
It's as easy as from the very first day: the thing that will set you apart is good content. It doesn't matter how big or how small. I think blogs were able to prove that you can be one person, and if you really have a strong point of view and communicate it through words or images, you can win a CFDA award, you can publish a book, you can have a strong voice — but you actually, literally, need to have a strong voice. Just because someone says something doesn't mean it's interesting, you have to put it in context and create an interesting point.
I think a lot of people say blogs have democratized fashion, but I don't know if that's necessarily true. I think it's created a lot more voices, but also a lot more noise. A lot of people say the ground work has already been set as to who the important bloggers are, but it's kind of like music, you know? One guy with a guitar can mean more to people than an entire symphony.
The next step, hopefully, is more blogs with an unique, interesting, and well-informed point of view. And I think that can happen anywhere in the world. You could be from Nebraska. You know, I'm from Indiana — so it was very hard to get information. I had to really learn how to get information. Now the information is so easy, I think if you can figure out how to digest it, even if you don't go to the shows, since there are so many visuals now, if you are able to analyze what's going on and have a point of view, you could be a star tomorrow.