Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 10 December 2007

The Sartorialist interviewed


Jess Cartner-Morley in yesterday's Observer, interviews Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, who has perhaps the single most important fashion blog.

Armed with a Canon G5 camera, Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, has created a photo blog that is required reading for the fashion industry - despite featuring no celebrities and barely any It bags. With his portraits of real people who look great, Schuman "has firmly established himself as a fashion authority", says Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter.com and a pivotal figure in the fashion world. "We are huge fans of The Sartorialist at Net-a-Porter. The photography is sharp, the commentary astute, and we love that it celebrates individual style."

The celebration of the individual is at the core of what makes The Sartorialist different. By avoiding pigeonholing the subject into "tribes", Schuman has subverted all the rules dividing street style from high style. What's more, he may just have stumbled on the only people left who have the mystery necessary to capture our imagination as style icons: normal people, not the ones in reality TV shows, but the ones in real life. Clare Coulson, fashion features editor of Harper's Bazaar, finds the site compulsive viewing. "I am way more interested in what people on the street are wearing than I am in celebrities, who I just find quite dull these days. The Sartorialist is such a simple idea, but so clever. It's like those moments on the street where you see someone who looks fabulous and you wish you were them."

12 comments:

Toby Wollin said...

One of the things I especially like about Scott's "eye" is that he is just as interested in stylish men as he is in stylish women and his taste definitely runs the gamut from older black men in electric blue suits to Frenchmen riding bicycles with umbrellas hanging over the handlebars. Always an interesting read.

Morty said...

I have read and looked at the sartorialist blog. It is sometimes a pleasure book. If the intention is to photo ordinary people in different places and countries, I don´t think he has fully succeeded in his mission.There are celebs,models and lots of times crazy clothes on people that are supposed to represent ordinary people. Naturally I have avoided to say anything not nice of the people pictured. But then again, I´m sure nobody has been photod without asking if it is ok for them . To be presented to the whole wild world.

Linda Grant said...

I think 'ordinary people' is a misnomer. People with style who are not famous, is closer to the mark.

Deja Pseu said...

Yes, I think he does tend to feature a lot of models and fashion insiders. But still inspiring, much more so than a fashion spread in a glossy.

Thomas said...

I'm fairly certain Scott wouldn't be able to get the shots he does without asking for permission. The author Jonathan Carrol wrote something interesting about how happy his subjects look, and I am certain that part of Scott's skill-a large part-is his ability to put people at ease.

But as for the "astute commentary," I'm not sure I can agree. I don't want to beat up on Scott's writing style, but I often find the obvious mistakes distracting from the skill of the pictures.

Morty said...

Hi Linda,do you think that people who dress in weird and crazy outfits are stylish? There are some personal pictures that I like,but then there are lots of clothing I never knew someone would want to wear. My opinion is that this Scott S is a skillfull photohgrapher,but maybe all the fame around him is a bit too much.

Ms Baroque said...

Linda, thanks for this. I knew this blog already, in its deceptively simple charm... Morty, you seem to have a bit of a downer on the Sartorialist! I think it's a charming blog. The great thing is that he doesn't photograph only people who look good in one way, but people who are cleverly using clothing to establish their own look. Some of his pictures you have to look at a bit to see what the fuss is, but others are almost shocking! (The wonderful girl in the white coat and tights, featured in the Guardian, is an example.)

I think one secret of the Sartorialist is that there is fabulous stuff to look at all around us, and people often DO look amazing. It's as much about us noticing it as it is about them (or indeed us) doing it.

Linda Grant said...

Style is not simply good taste that everyone can agree on; it can be the classic simplicity of Audrey Hepburn or Naomi Campbell in a mini crini. Great style is having the confidence to carry off self-expression.

Brooksie said...

Sart mixes in the famous and not so famous, the super expensive and the cheap....but the celebs he chooses are usually fashion insiders (Franca Sonazzi, Carine Roitfeld, tho Steven Tyler and Chloe Sevigny have been featured too, etc...) that many folks don't know. I do like his site alot...visit everyday and sometimes comment, but people should know that many of these folks aren't just "normal" people, but fashion insiders. The key to The Sartorialist is the mix.

A few things that accounts for his popularity is not only is HE well-dressed, he's organized his blog to where it's easier to look at and follow (unlike Face Hunter...they have edgier fashion tho).

brooksie said...

BTW, what is a "crini"?

Linda Grant said...

Short for crinoline, it was a brief and difficult look introduced by Vivienne Westwood.

morty said...

I guess this will be my last comment on the sartorialist business. Someone called me a downer and that I can´t accept. SS is a great photographer,no doubt about that. It´s the people pictured that sometimes shock me-especially when most commentators -all they have to say is awsome,awsome,where can I buy this and that. I don´t think a little critic now and then does harm the maestro photographer,but I think he is a little touchy if someone doesn´t share his thoughts.When you become famous,obviously you loose contact with the retality.