If you were to look at the myriad street style blogs across the web you would hear the invisible voices proclaiming aloud down the photographer's lens that they are the most stylish, they the coolest, their city the humble abode of thousands of equally well dressed and coiffed individuals.
At least that is what I hear.
Photos ABOUND of bloggers capturing their own daily style offerings, or presenting the most eye-catching looks of passers-by which they have 'discovered'.
I don't wish to be misunderstood- I neither feel any disdain for such sites, nor do I profess to avoid them disinterestedly. Quite the opposite. If you were to look at the bookmarks bar on my beloved macbook you would see countless links to blogs, worldwide, whose content matches the above description. I like to keep abreast of what people in different cities are wearing, what trends seem to be proliferating across the globe like a virus, and what minor tweaks of styling I can pick up from the creative mind of another.
But as the months have rolled on since I first became an avid observer of the online fashion community I have grown...tired, of the repetitive nature of posts: the same poses, same camera angles, same hairstyles.... but most of all, the same subjects. Despite the existence of some menswear blogs like stylesalvage or thestyleblogger, the stylings of girls and women dominate online content. Due to this lack, I devour the intermittent bites of well-dressed gentlemen on the Sartorialist. But, still, Scott Schuman, master as he is of the street-style genre, primarily captures the more traditional, suited and booted gent.
I am looking for something a bit different.
In London, the tailors of Saville Row are world renowned for their pristinely created masterpieces of suits. This is truly a craft, and one which supplies the demand of many a city businessman for the week's work and beyond. But London is also home to a wealth of other men's styling choices: from the customised creations of Camden punks, the preppy urbanites of Clapham, the wacky try-anything Shordites, the 'rude-boy' young guns of Brixton and everything in between.
For men, as well as women, vintage has made a major come-back in the noughties. You only have to walk through the door of the major Beyond Retro warehouse store on Cheshire Street to be confronted by a visual assault of 90s era colour pops or grunge gear. From neon string vests, thick sweatshirts emblazoned with everything from WWF to Americana style eagles, stars and stripes, oversized and over-bleached denim jackets, roughed up old black worker boots and many, many, many plaid shirts of every variety. Beyond Retro has it all. And if it all is too much of an attack on your senses and you feel overwhelmed by choice just look to the staff. The many guys there are sporting looks from grunge rock'n'roll, 80s colour craziness and all out Fresh Prince of Bel Air chav-glam.
The 90s are coming back around. The fashion world is returning full circuit through the 60s, 70s and 80s onto that beautiful era of our childhood (if, like me, you are a twenty-something with fond memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Care Bears). If you want proof, just begin to count the number of hi-tops you're seeing around, gracing the feet of men and women alike. Take a trip to the Nike flagship store at Oxford Circus where all the sales assistants are decked in their finest street-sports gear with a custom pair of Zooms or Air Jordans.
Embrace the colour. Embrace the hi-tops. Experiment. Enjoy.
We are lucky to live in a time of continual renewal, rejuvenation and creativity where you can wear what you want, dress how you like and change your style each day as the mood strikes. Ditch the standard and try something new.
(All photos by me on the trusty iphone)