Friday, May 7, 2010

Fashion Digs Real

Click! Click! Fashion Digs Real
Samidha Sharma, 26 April 2010, 04:27 PM IST
Move over those perfectly turned out Hollywood actors, supermodels and hip-shaking pop stars, here come the real hotsteppers --- self- styled girls and guys spotted on the streets, in clubs etcetera. Thanks to the internet, the rage around the world for street fashion blogs and websites is getting bigger by the day. I don’t need your fashion bible à la a Vogue or a GQ; I got my own community of hip and fashionable friends to take tips from.

Call it fashion’s subculture or the underground scene sweeping fashionville, the diktat here is loud and clear and that is to create and not blindly follow. And why not? Every form of art, be it music, literature or films, has an independent streak which thrives alongside the commercial. And maybe this is the big subculture, the indie influence that fashion is witnessing aided by the growing consciousness of young people to look stylish.

Try searching for street fashion and it won’t be surprising if you find thousands of websites trying to chronicle the latest on the streets of Berlin, New York and Paris. Although, not a completely new phenomenon, what with Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist having been around for over five years, the exciting thing I see now is the new breed of street fashion websites and blogs, which are not necessarily by fashion industry professionals but are run by just about anyone.

In the process, communities such as “Lookbook” have gained mammoth traction, in fact, Wikipedia- the online encyclopaedia, says that it boasts of over 50,000 members and over one million unique hits per month. An invitation- only community site, Lookbook—collective fashion consciousness, lets you post your unique looks/styles which are liked and commented on by fellow members.

The popularity of the community is evident in the fact that Los Angeles based- clothing brand American Apparel partnered with Lookbook to bring out a catalogue to showcase its clothes being worn by the Lookbook members.

For me the mushrooming of such alternative style platforms signals that celebrity fashion is no more the quintessential reference point for youngsters around the world to look edgy. As these street fashion blogs and communities attempt to capture unique, individual styles and not necessarily the big labels sported by celebrities, more crowds will flock towards sites like Lookbook to keep their style quotient up and running. Till a few years back celebrities more or less topped your list of influences if you wanted to be fashionably dressed but now youngsters check these blogs and communities for tips to get street-ready while wanting to be featured there themselves.

If you thought street fashion is only a big phenomenon globally, you will be surprised to see a lot of Indians doing the rounds of the fashion blogosphere. How this sub-consciously inspired me to start a page on the social networking site Facebook called Street Style is another story but that it’s filtering into the Indian fashion scene is anything but evident. Although, most Indian blogs and websites are a far cry from their Western counterparts that such a movement has begun is encouraging enough.

And my blog-- Style De:Coded- is another way to help push this subculture to grow in India as well as its doing worldwide. I would welcome your thoughts on what you feel about this parallel universe that is taking shape in the world of fashion. Please write to me and let me know your ideas and comments on the way forward for this movement.

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