People used to go to fashion shows to see the clothes; now they go to be seen wearing them. The practice of documenting “street style” evolved in the 1980s, when style magazines such as i-D began chronicling people out and about. Today though, the stars of the scene don’t pound pavements hoping to be snapped on the street; they exit chauffeur-driven cars to totter the five or six metres to the fashion show venues, often posing on their phone or chatting with a pal in a matching outfit. Neither do they wear thrift any more: these street stars are seen in the latest designer clothes, sometimes just hours after their catwalk debut. It’s good news for the labels; it’s even better news for those canny enough to monetise their penchant for clashing print or double denim.
Conservatives within the fashion world may dismiss street style as part of the growing “circus” around the shows, but its leaders can translate an image into big rewards; from ambassador deals with brands and paid-for posts on social media to own clothing ranges and brand collaborations. The rise in street style has even sparked a wider trend in “real people”-led advertising. J Crew kicked things off in 2012 with a campaign starring Caroline Issa (chief executive and fashion director of Tank magazine), stylist Julia Sarr-Jamois and French journalist Virginie Mouzat. Last year, “Tod’s Band” campaign featured 15 personalities and fashion show regulars including Langley Fox Hemingway, Mae Lapres and Julia Restoin Roitfeld, while Chloé is currently popularising its bags and accessories on social media with the hashtag #ChloeGirls. Peacocking has never been so profitable.
It’s not only the street stars who are cashing in. Many of the photographers shooting the styles have turned their images into a viable business, among them Tommy Ton (who has shot for Condé Nast and his own site, tommyton.com), Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist blog turned book, Vogue contributing editor Phil Oh (aka Street Peeper) and Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème.
Katz Sinding has been shooting since 2007, but has only been capturing fashion week attendees since 2011. Now it’s a huge part of his work — he’s funded to travel by a range of clients, “from e-commerce companies, to publications, to the brands themselves”, and has a syndication deal with Trunk Archive for resale of his images. He’s watched the scene change enormously. “It’s been a very fast (de)evolution,” he jokes. “Back then, the people we shot were exponentially more authentic. There was not the push from brands that we now see. It was rare to see full runway looks walking down the street.”
Blogger Leandra Medine — aka Man Repeller — is a regular in Katz Sinding’s shots. Her idiosyncratic style makes her a photographer’s dream — the name of her blog is a nod to her kooky taste: clothes that stylish women adore but men find sexually repellent. She’s also noticed the commodification of the scene. “When I started five years ago, street style felt more like an indie art,” says the writer, who has worked with Saks Fifth Avenue, shoe brand Superga, Michael Kors and Maje on brand collaborations. “It’s become a sort of native advert in many ways — living, breathing sponsorships that look a lot like personal style but are actually motivated by something other than self-expression.”
Today, almost every label will spend time and money “placing” product. Gifting has long been a way of showcasing goods but, more recently, these gestures of goodwill have become more formalised arrangements. Increasing numbers of key influencers and “tastemakers” now take fees or enter contractual relationships to promote brands on blogs and social media. It’s a change that has been driven both by brand promotion and the thirst for imagery created by the enormous growth in editorialising in ecommerce sites.
观众过去到时装秀场就是为了欣赏时装，如今去的目的是希望显摆自己的行头。上世纪80年代，记录都市街头时尚开始起步，当时《i-D》之类的时尚杂志就开始记录街头巷尾年轻人的穿着行头。然而，如今的街拍对象出头露面的目的并非是成为摄影师的抓拍目标；他们在距离秀场举办地5、6米的地方走下专车，故意放慢脚步，经常自拍造型或是与身穿同样行头的好友闲聊。他们的穿着也不再寒酸：这些街拍明星往往身着最新款的名牌服装抛头露面，这些时装有时只比T型台上刚亮相的晚区区几个小时。这对于时尚品牌来说是福音，对于那些脑瓜灵光的时尚爱好者更是如此，他们利用自己青睐鲜明格纹印花装(clashing print)以及牛仔单品叠穿(double denim)的穿着方式而大获其利。
时尚界保守人士或许会把街头时尚贬称为秀场外围逐渐增多的“杂耍”而已，但是，无论是签约品牌出任形象大使、在社交媒体上进行付费广告宣传，还是推出自己的时装系列以及品牌合作共建，这股潮流的引领者都从中大获其利。街头时尚的兴起甚至让各色人物参与代言的广告战变本加厉。2012年，J Crew聘请《Tank》杂志总裁兼时尚总监卡洛琳?伊莎(Caroline Issa)、设计师朱丽娅?萨尔-加莫娃(Julia Sarr-Jamois)以及法国记者穆扎(Virginie Mouzat)出任广告片主角，算是开了这种合作风潮之先河。去年，“Tod’s Band”广告片聘请了15位名人与时装秀常客，其中就包括岚莉?福克斯?海明威 (Langley Fox Hemingway)、Mae Lapres 以及Julia Restoin Roitfeld；而蔻依(Chloé)目前则在社交媒体上以#ChloeGirls#的标签号推介自己的手袋与配饰。高调张扬如今比以往任何时候都要有利可图。
不仅街头时尚明星能大肆挣钱，很多街拍摄影师也因此坐收渔利，其中就包括汤米?托恩（Tommy Ton，他为康泰纳仕(Condé Nast)以及自己的网站tommyton.com提供照片）、把自己博客The Sartorialist结册出版的斯科特?舒曼(Scott Schuman)、《Vogue》特约编辑Phil Oh（又称街拍潮人(Street Peeper)）、以及创建Le 21ème网站的Adam Katz Sinding。
Katz Sinding自2007年以来一直从事街拍，但2011年之后才拍摄时装周的各色参客。如今这成了他的主要工作——形形色色的主顾（“从电子商务公司、出版社到品牌公司）资助其四处拍摄”）；他还与Trunk Archive签订了供稿协议，向对方转售自己的街拍照片。他亲眼目睹了整个时尚界的这场巨变。“这是异乎寻常的变化。”他开玩笑道，“想当初，我们街拍的对象多是展示其真实生活状态，他们并没有品牌公司对此推波助澜（如今则比比皆是），当时身穿全套时装行头行走在大街小巷的人非常少。”
时尚博主利安德拉?梅丁（Leandra Medine，也就是The Man Repeller）一直是Katz Sinding的街拍对象。她的另类时尚风格使其成为摄影师觊觎的目标——她的博客名也与另类时尚风格一脉相承：她的服装让时尚女性倾心不已，但男士见后却毫无性趣。她也目睹了整个时尚圈的这场巨变。“五年前自己开始街拍时，街头时尚酷似独立制作的艺术。”这位时尚写作者说道，她如今与萨克斯第五大道百货店(Saks Fifth Avenue)、鞋履品牌Superga、Michael Kors 以及Maje合推品牌。“在很多方面，这已成为了某种原生广告——品牌公司赞助的装束更似体现了个人时尚，但实际的推波助澜者却是自我表现之外的力量。”