I selected the book “Street Style; An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging” because I was very interested in learning more about blogging and what really goes into it. My expectations were obviously to learn more about blogging but I was also expecting to learn more about the psychological outlook on the bloggers themselves and why they photograph the people they do. Before reading this book, I had little experience with blogging however, I did follow a few fashion bloggers on an app called Tumblr. I loved looking at all of the different blogs and seeing how different each blog was compared to one another. Each blog had its own style and were interested in photographing different types of people and styles. I was already interested in reading this book after reading the title but I also really liked how the front of the book was set up. I liked the font, the colors, and the picture on the front cover. The cover is a very clear photograph of the author who is put together very nicely and seems very fashionable which makes him seem more credible to be talking about being a street style blogger.
I would say that my expectations were beyond met as I learned what I expected and more. This book supports my studies in “Fashion Fundamentals” because it shows how fashion is always changing and how style is a way that an individual can express themselves. Everyone has a different sense of style whether that be bohemian, chic, glamorous, or a punk rock style. Style is not only a way that someone expresses themselves but it also says something about culture, time period, and location which is where the word ethnography comes in. Ethnography is defined as the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures. With the title of the book being “Street Style; An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging” I was expecting to learn more about the different styles and fashions in different places.
Brent Luvaas is an associate professor of anthropology at Drexel University who not only wrote the book “Street Style an Ethnography of Fashion Blogging” but has also written “DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Cultures”. Luuvas is more importantly known for being the blogger for Urban Fieldnotes and for his street photography. He had started his blog to get a better understanding of fashion street style blogging of different individuals and cultures. In this book Luvaas shared his ideas on street style, fashion branding, and blogging.
This book is an overall documentation of the evolution of street style photography. It starts by introducing the conceptual history of street style photography, evaluating amateur anthropology from around the world, and reflects on becoming a street style blogger and knowing whom to shoot. He then goes on to discuss street portraits as fashion singularities, the business of blogging, which he goes into detail about free labour, freelancing, and receiving free stuff, and to lastly shooting street style in New York Fashion Week. The book itself looks at anthropology and evaluates the photography from the ground level- from the streets of Philadelphia to the sidewalks of New York fashion week. We are able to see Luvaas own take on street style and how style of our visual culture, playing a huge role in building our identities, and communicating to others.
Luvaas had noticed that street style blogs were popping up in big cities throughout the world, representing style in places well off the fashion map and attracting hundreds of thousands of readers. Street style quickly evolved into the fashion world. He had mentioned how if you go to any show of well known designers that there will be a crowd of street style photographers who hover near the entrance, stopping rising street style stars to snap a picture. Street style has gone from an amateur practice of documenting everyday looks of regular people around the globe to a professional documentation of fashion industry insiders, marketing both clothes they are wearing and their own personal brand.
Throughout this book, Luvaas also gives some insight on branding and how it reflects the notion of street style. Street styles permeated through and through with the logic of branding. Street style photographers use their blogs to build their own professional brands and designers often look to the photos they take to find inspiration for their latest collections. It is safe to say that street style has become a significant part of the fashion industry branding process.
Something that I learned from reading this book would be that blogging is not as simple as one might think. To begin with there is a difference between a blogger and someone who has a blog. A blogger is someone who maintains there blog and continuously adds photos that they took themselves while someone who has a blog reposts pictures, keeps up with other blogs, and occasionally posts a picture or two. There are many people that think blogging is just taking pictures of just anybody or anything and posting it online when in fact there is so much that goes into the process. A real blogger must have a “style radar” which can be read as a kind of class based alarm that goes off as when one is confronted with the presence of “style”. The style radar can be a characteristic that someone naturally has but it also comes with experience. The more time a blogger spends trying to __ the more the individual is able to spot a certain style that catches their eye.
Additionally, I had also learned what style is and that it is not just expressed in clothing. Style is expressed in the way a person presents themselves, the way they walk, the way they
talk, and how they move throughout the street. All of these characteristics can be seen as the individual is casually walking down the street. It is a natural characteristic and is based off of the individual's personality. Style is something that is a personal value and varies from one person to another.
Another thing that I had learned in this book is that in terms of blogging it is better to do before thinking. If a blogger thinks too much before actually taking the photo then they might not get the opportunity to take it. This is caused by over thinking the style, becoming to nervous to ask to take the photo, or thinking way too much that the potential person of style already passed. This connects back to the style radar. It is such an important skill to have because it affects who will be photographed.
This book has shaped my point of view about fashion because it has made me realize that fashion and style are not just about the physical clothing but it is about who wears the clothes and how they are worn. It has expanded my view and outlook on fashion. After reading this book I think that I am more or just as likely to read a book as I continue my studies at LIM because reading a book goes into much greater detail and you can gain so much more information rather than scanning the internet for information. Books can also give insight from another person's point of view which is important because everyone has a different approach on fashion and they perceive it differently. By taking in other people's point of views you can really gain a better understanding of the fashion industry.
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