June 19, 2014

Street Game Social

Almost every detail of our lives is digitally documented via the present media crazed society we live in. Looking at fashion alone, we archive the entire process from a single thread to end user. Our social media accounts and blogs are personal diaries of what we wear and how we spend our time. And that is why, street style has become just as important as any runway show, fashion event, awards show, or movie premiere.

photo via I Am Galla

With an overwhelming amount of people deemed "IT" girls or landing "Ones to Watch" lists, bloggers, designers, models, photographers, and stylists, have made an entire living from having a strong online presence. And its not just women, but men as well, who have established an entirely new creative outlet and given a fresh perspective to the way we view the fashion scene. However, as blogging becomes more common and less authentic, has it reached its peak in the fashion cycle?

photo via WWD

Forget people becoming famous on reality TV because today it's all about how many followers you have online. And for some, these followers are turning into major dollar signs. By charging anywhere from $5-15K for appearances, brand promotion, collaborations, and advertising, top tier bloggers are making more than $1 million annually.

photo via NY Times

Then there are those that are taking a slightly more creative approach to sculpting an entire lifestyle around Instagram, which has proven to drive the most traffic, engagement, and overall sales compared to any other platform. Meet David Krugman, a 26 year old photo retoucher who now collaborates with several noteworthy cultural institutions in NY, including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art, to build their Instagram profiles. In exchange for VIP access and free of charge, Krugman acts as a Consultant for NY's libraries and museums by adding an innovative touch to their accounts as well as helping them gain followers and promote events. As his fame and following grows (he has nearly 50,000 Instagram followers), he has been invited to assist other buzzworthy establishments like Esquire magazine and The National Gallery of Art in Washington and it's probably just the beginning.

Meanwhile, with so much focus on what we are wearing to fashion events, some argue that we've lost the "street" in street style. There's a difference between Bill Cunningham's legendary photos capturing real clothing and today's overflow of excessively styled looks characterizing the season's top trends. What was once impromptu, has become just as constructed as any runway show now that everyone from editors to models to ordinary people preen and pose ready to be photographed.

As for fashion labels, it's all about seeding product to someone cool with an influential following and so much less about the actual art of dress. Now that the ultimate road to exposure has been established, brands from high to low are striving to get a pretty face snapped wearing their products and if they are lucky a tag or shout-out. Which is why we have coined the term "street style bait," or key items from each season that grab the attention of photographers like Valentino's studded pumps or Givenchy printed tees.

That's why we love sites like The SartorialistChinatown Sartorialist and Humans of New York who capture spontaneous shots of pedestrian fashion at its finest. These are the "real" street style photographers that are bringing things back to the basics by telling people's stories through a picture.

Blogging in general in no longer organic, especially now that everyone is doing it. However, the one thing that leading bloggers and street style stars have, is a business mindset to reinvent themselves and turn their blogs into lifestyles. With just as much influence as any A list celeb, some have even evolved their brand names to include clothing and accessory lines, book launches, speaking tours, and journalism. And these are the social media gurus at the forefront of the industry that will continue to thrive under any circumstances. 

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