A Letter from the Editor
In the early 20th century, French postcard photographers (and brothers) Jules, Louis, and Henri Séeberger were commissioned by fashion magazine La Mode Pratique to capture the socialites of high society around Paris. A unique idea at the time, the brothers traveled about town, capturing the elegance and splendor of the Parisian elite, along with their luxurious outfits. From private party poses to candid snapshots on the streets, the result was dubbed as “instantanés de Haute-Mode” or “snapshots of high fashion.”
It didn’t take long for publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Femina to take notice. And by the 1920s, the Séebergers were documenting events all across France. In an attempt to gain publicity for their new collections, fashion houses sent models to those parties the Séebergers were shooting. It was an exceptional and unique way to create new imagery. Imagery that was less constructed and, as such, more interesting. To this day, the Séebergers are heralded as the founding fathers of street fashion photography.
Fast forward nearly a century and, while the clothing has changed considerably, the inspiration drawn from such style on the streets has remained. From Bill Cunningham to Scott Schuman to Tommy Ton, we’re still capturing style on the streets. And we can’t get enough of it. That kind of style that’s expressed in the wild, in those quiet moments of daily life. When you witness someone’s personal expression that isn’t manufactured with the help of stylists but simply how they dress themselves, it’s intriguing and inspiring and energizing.
It’s this type of expression we find most interesting. The expression of style that’s honest. That wasn’t developed to be noticed but, rather, was developed to reveal. In part by necessity. In part by functionality. And, of course, with a good amount of personality. This kind of style manifests itself day to day: during the morning commute or on a night out with friends. And it’s witnessed, perhaps most eclectically, in those urban centers that are home to some of the world’s most brilliant creatives.
Creatives like Ms. Ashley Owens, our cover story this month. With a style all her own, Ms. Owens is the creator of the online personality @grandpastyle, as well as the strikingly beautiful Suited magazine. We also spent time with Mr. Chris Molnar, who channels urban casual with an intentional but inconspicuous uniform, daily donning his own Goodlife tees and hoodies atop 3×1 denim and clean Common Projects sneakers. It’s simple and distinctly urban, yet distinctly him. This spirit of distinct city style is further exhibited by the spirit of such brands like Comme des Garcons, Wildfang, and through the gummed soles and worn-out denim of inner city skateboarders.
Finding this type of true expression takes a little bit of knowing where to look. And it also takes a decent amount of luck. So if you’re up for it, let’s roll together into the streets and see what we might find.
Ian Deming, Editor-in-Chief