The Street Style Zeitgeist: Is The End Of Street Style Near?

street style fashion


In an age obsessed with “that was so five seconds ago” social media, street style photography has joined the snackable, easy to digest media we consume on a daily basis. As a society, we routinely become addicted to something. Then as it gets overexposed and over saturated , we get bored. We move on.

The same is true in fashion. Once something is being done by everyone, its ‘cool' factor is lost. Now that practically the entire fashion universe has a smart phone and some kind of style (good or bad), street style photography is filling up every blog, fashion website, and fashion news site. What was once a curated, influential, and refined art (a la Bill Cunningham), has become commercialized and abused (i.e. preconceived shoots that come off as natural). So, like harem pants, sweat sets, and sneaker wedges, has street style had it's moment? Is the moment coming to an end? And if so, what's next in the trend forecast?

Trends tend to be cyclical, especially in fashion. Once we get sick of something, we move in the opposite direction from what we are sick of. What are we sick of? The shallow, substance-less, uncredited, unidentified, mass influx of snap shots of ‘fashionistas' posing on the streets. What do we want? A little more insight. What's behind the beauty on the street with the Cambridge satchel bag? What does she do for a living? What's on her coffee table and in her closet?

It seems that now that we have been bombarded with the faces on the streets, we want to get acquainted with their lives and style. Sites like The Coveteur, Style Like U, Backyard Bill, The Selby, and An Afternoon With — and even broader sites like Refinery 29 — are picking up on the trend.

Recently, an article in FMM described how online users' patterns are changing: social networks used for “quick fixes” are becoming obsolete, and instead consumers are seeking a deeper and more fulfilling experience (both on and offline). The trend of shallow clicking is ending, and users are now more interested in challenges, meaning, and understanding. Advertisers have caught on to the changing tide, switching their tactics to aim towards enriching experience, according to the article's research.

As advertisers make the move to more fulfilling experiences, they will start investing into sites that will fulfill the need for richer content. Combine that with with the fascination of the ‘behind the scenes' street style, and viola! You are left with a site that provides solid photography, street style (or style of “the people,” non-editorial), and that little something extra to keep readers feeling satisfied.

So what will happen to all the street strutters outside the Rodarte show, waiting for their snap of internet fame?

Anna Dello Russo recently told the Telegraph, “In the beginning [being photographed for street style] was a little embarrassing. But sometimes now I think: ‘Oh, if I do not get photographed I will be miserable’, or ‘Oh my god, the outfit does not work any more.'” In response, Fashionista posted an article with a psychology expert weighing in, “There should be a mindfulness in this highly media saturated world,” said Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., who is the senior editor of the Journal of Media Psychology. “There are casualties who do get that sudden affair with stardom and get addicted to the adrenalized experience, then find themselves shut off cold turkey.”

How do you feel about the over saturation of street style photography? What do you think is the next big thing?

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

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25 Responses

  1. Alexandra Donald

    This is spot on! Like many things, the cream rises to the top. While many street style or personal style blogs can be interesting, I have always found more inspiration in blogs like Style Bubble, Kingdom of Style and Luxirare where personal style posts are only one facet of the blog. I have to say, I get rather bored looking at seven photos of one outfit time after time and would rather something more in depth and thought provoking.

  2. Charmaine

    I totally agree with the last commentator! I was just talking with a fellow blogging friend about how I am more attracted to substance rather than just a pretty outfit. I want to get to know the person, why they happened to be wearing the outfit they were wearing, et cetera. The blogs that stick out in my heads as my favourite may have style I admire, but I feel more of a connection to the person. I guess depth and substance on top of great style matter more to me than someone with a great outfit.

    I also found this article in general very interesting! I don’t think street style blogs are on their way out just yet, but i do agree that the internet is far too saturated with them, especially, as said, really staged poses and outfits. It takes away from what I feel is the whole ethos of street style photography, capturing “everyday” people wearing interesting clothing.

  3. Daniel Saynt

    Will models on white backgrounds come to an end?

    Will photos of funny cats come to an end?

    As long as there’s an image to shoot, someone will shoot it. Street Style photography might evolve to video and gif, more staged shots, more editorial driven. It’ll evolve, it will never end. Someone, somewhere will always be shooting street style for a blog.


  4. Rebekah

    I don’t think street style photography will come to an end but I think some street style bloggers site may slow as mobile content takes off more. I spend little time on the sites but I do look at them regularly. I just want to see what people are wearing during Fashion Weeks as I find the styles much more creative than a celebrity wearing a dior. And often these styles set the trends. Only the smart Street style bloggers who go mobile will survive I believe. Instagram is my main port of call these days. The satorialist other bigger streetstyle bloggers don’t really use instagram to show there street style content. Bloggers like Lee Oliveira use instagram for streetstyle which I think is really smart and thats why he is so popular on there. Hate to admit it but I probably look at instagram 20 times a day… yes I am addicted haha. The actual streetstyle sites I look at twice or 3 times a week. Have to disagree with the web being saturated with them. For every street style blog there are 1000 more general style blogs.

  5. Virginie

    I think there’ll always be a public for streetstyle, as Rebekah said, only the way you communicate about it may change- but as long as people will be creative i don’t think it will disappear. There’s a market for everyone!
    However personal blogs might have to provide more content, being more creative and more emotional through relationship building, i do really agree with the author.

  6. Ivette

    There will always be street style blogs for people who are interested in real street style photos (rather than a model wearing cool clothes and posing next to a cool wall). I think the average reader is more interested in genuine content rather than comercialized look and will search for such blogs. That’s the good thing about having thousands of street style blogs out there – anyone can find what they search for. What is popular now may be forgotten in time, but aren’t you interested what people wear in London, NY, Amsterdam?


  7. Katie

    Do we think that people have caught on to the staged aspect of these photographs yet? I’m not talking about the faithful and avid readers of blogs that I’m sure have realized the ho-hum falsity of the street style in some places. I’m talking about the people that stumble upon these blogs that otherwise have only a small interest in fashion but then find these women or men on the street so beautiful and exciting. I’m not sure how many “average” (ie. non-fashion addicts) really come across and read such websites, but I feel as though maybe the majority of those people haven’t realized or even more, don’t care.

  8. Akaleistar

    I think street style will always have a place, but it must evolve in order to hold people’s interest. I agree that people are looking for richer, more personal content.

  9. Danielle

    I don’t think street style photography is over, but I do think consumers are looking for a richer experience. They like looking at photos, but they want to know about the person in the photos and where the items can be purchased, a deeper look into the subject. The Qwiki Creator makes it really easy to pull a bunch of street style shots together, add links to where to purchase or where the photo was taken, add some text and a narration from the creator to bring the photos to life. Check it out at 🙂

  10. Stephanie

    I don’t think street style blogs will come to a complete end but I do think they will soon lose their edge. How many times can we look at girls makes the same three poses at the camera? For work once I had to look through street style blogs and every blog looked exactly the same! I’ll stick to blogs like Style Bubble that actually provide substance.

  11. Zonzon

    If you are asking where is street style blogs going I have one more point to the subject. My blog Flash For Zonzon is an all illustrated street style blog from the streets of Helsinki. I’m also telling a little stories about the characters I draw.
    In general I find the street style blogs a great source of inspiration. And now I mean photographs of the random people from the streets.

  12. Vanessa

    Great article IFB! I doubt street style will ever end as people will continue to adapt fashion to their own taste and share. The best of those blogs will probably continue to be successful. Certainly blogs with strong points of views and written content are more engaging for visitors.

  13. Maggie

    I definitely do agree that there is an over saturation of street style photography. I’m not sure if I’ve just been delving into youtube videos a bit more but a lot of bloggers are now becoming vloggers as well, turning their everyday experiences into adventures. So those of us who have not been fortunate enough to experience the perks of being a pro blogger, can virtually experience it as well.

  14. Robert W

    As a founder of a street-style blog(Campus Sartorialist) I always tell other contributors to never ever stage a shoot as it robs the photos of their essence. When one looks at my photos I want them to witness the subject’s style in an impromptu manner, just as one would see them on the street.

    As a street-style photography consumer I rarely read the text that accompanies photos and I disagree with the article saying that people want more information. We are a visual species and we consume the photos for their visual information. While sometimes the information accompanying the photo is relevant and interesting most often it comes off as awkward and irrelevant. I think people follow street-style photography to see what other people wear and to get new ideas and be inspired.

    As for street style photography dying out, I really believe there will always be people looking for inspiration in these photos as well as fashionable men and women worth immortalizing. What we don’t realize yet is that these photos will one day form an incredible window into the past and our grandchildren will have such amazing content to peer into our lives. Don’t we wish we could see a multitude of street-style photos from the 20s or 50s? I personally would have loved it. Street-style is one of the things that captures the zeitgeist incredibly well. What people wear tells us more than their personal taste…it tells us about trends, popular colours, cuts, fabric and most importantly documenting them will offer the next generation with a seamless portrait of its evolution. One can argue that we can look at designer’s collections and see how fashion evolved but it’s definitely what’s being worn by real people that should be remembered as its them who are the manifestation of the runway collections.

  15. Fashionistable

    Interesting discussion. Street style photography was happening long before the explosion we are in the middle of now and will be around long after it subsides. As for staging/not staging shots. We all do it. I have watched Bill, Scott and Tommy do it. So for me it doesn’t matter if the shots are staged or not. It is the essence and beauty of the shot that has always won me over. I like to see my shots as mini fashion shoots. If someone has been so good to give me their time I want to give back my best back to them. From the very start of my blog I have always written about the people I photograph but that is just my personal choice. I know from the comments I get that very few people actually read the info. Is it necessary, probably not. In many ways it seems to be a male/female thing. I guess women just like to chat more. I like what Robert W had to say about the social history we are all creating and this is an element about the whole genre I love too.

  16. Chiara [chiaweb]

    I think street style blogs are not over yet, the audience is so wide and growing still right now.
    I personally prefer to know better the person in the photos.
    I prefer reading blogs where there are also posts about the life of the blogger than just the name of the brands or the links where to buy the items.


  17. Leslie

    This post is really interesting. I’ve been finding myself thinking the same things lately as far as what is the next thing in fashion blogging. I guess we can only wait and see and try to be ahead of the curve and inventive. Lord knows it ain’t easy.


  18. TheStyleKaleidoscope

    I have to comment on this as I run a street style blog, and it’s basically real people on the street while they are out shopping etc. I don’t think these blogs will ever die out, how can they when the content is so unique and nobody knows what outfit you will capture next? That’s interesting content, and it’s totally unique to that blog – unless you’re a blogger who’s sitting outside a fashion show with 20 other snappers, shooting the same outfit. Then your blogs end up like newspapers, all covering the same thing in a different way. That’s over-saturation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t like those blogs at all, as they capture great looks, I’m just saying that if 20 bloggers take a shot of the same outfit, then that’s boring for you as a reader if you follow those 20 bloggers.

  19. Sofia - WinterStays

    For me, just looking at photos of different street style fashion is not enough, I want to get to know the person on a deeper level.

    Like see them sharing the websites they look for inspiration, understanding why they like a certain outfit and so forth.

  20. Heather

    I still really enjoy the street style blogs I follow (the sartorialist, street style aesthetic, lee olivra and a few others) because thy give me new ideas and they’re easy to digest. It’s also a great way to see new trends as they happen and see how women are dressing in other parts of the world.

    I don’t think they’re going away. Many blog platforms are free. Many people have cameras and phones with cameras. Maybe the market is over saturated, but blogging is its own thing and not everyone does it for money.

  21. Alan

    Street Style and Trend spotting websites will continue to be an invaluable tool for the consumer and the industry as they offer the most immediate and effective way to document the current fashion trends and forecasts.
    Quite simply there is no other medium out there which could rival this most vital function.

    The recent interest in Street Style from online and print magazines is indicative to its popularity with the readers. If anything Street Style is on the up and here to stay!!