Pavement Power?

Street Style - London - Sep 2011Iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel once famously said,

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”


The statement suggests that fashion is not purely about clothes. It’s about our lifestyles; events that happen to us, what jobs we have, how we think, who we are as a person and how we dress. Fashion is personal.


In today’s society, the phenomenon of ‘street style’ is everywhere. Every fashion magazine, newspaper supplement and countless fashion blogs have their own version of a street-style-type feature which scours the nation’s towns and cities asking the all-important question; “What are YOU wearing?”


In a culture where people share their every thought and action with each other via social networking sites – it seems that we are now obsessed with sharing our style and outfits too. Website is dedicated entirely to sharing ‘looks’ with one another. The interest in what each other are wearing has steadily gained popularity – with recent Channel 4 programme “New Look – Style The Nation” scouting promising stylists straight from the street and priding itself on “celebrating the style and creativity of everyday girls and guys up and down the country”.  New Look Group Creative Director Barbara Horspool, who was on the panel for the programme, notably used the term “pavement power” claiming that style starts right on our streets amongst each other.


Alternatively, Coco Chanel was also quoted as saying,

“I like fashion to go down to the street, but I can’t accept that it should originate there.”


Everyone has their own sense of style, but where do we find inspiration from? Catwalks? Magazines? Each other? Is street style important to fashion? Are designers influenced by it? Or like Chanel infers, is it rather that our street style is influenced by what we see designers produce and what we see in magazines?  Or is it simply a mesh of the two?


In the past, fashion has took direct inspiration from the streets. Denim jeans are a prime example. Initially a sturdy garment worn by factory workers, jeans are now a true fashion staple of casual dress – synonymous with Americana and James Dean-esque cool.


I must admit, that I personally am an avid follower of street style. To know what others are wearing, how people have chose to put an outfit together really interests me. Don’t get me wrong, what’s on the catwalk is integral to fashion – but it’s rare than any of us would dress in the very outfits that models strut down the runway wearing.


To me, in today’s society, street style is about us taking the trends that we see on catwalks and making them more personal – adding our own touches, putting our stamp on an outfit and sharing our interpretations with each other. Choosing to wear a trend in our own way.


So whether it inspires you or not – there’s no doubting that street style is current phenomenon and perhaps it’s the next step in how fashion is expressed in our culture.


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