February 1, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Scott Schuman aka "The Sartorialist"

I ♥ street style. Love, love, love it! It's fashion in it's rawest and purest form. The inspirational aspect of regular people styling themselves is almost limitless. And Scott Schuman, "The Sartorialist" has been shining a wonderful spotlight on street fashion on his blog for the last 4 years:

via Forbes
Blogs have transformed fashion photography--witness the spectacular rise of Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist.

Four years ago, street-fashion photographer and blogger Scott Schuman was a stay-at-home dad--walking his kids to and from school, indulging in strawberry margaritas in the early afternoon, taking pictures to post on his new fashion Web site, The Sartorialist. Now, he travels to Paris and Milan for fashion shows, sits on panel discussions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has even starred in an ad campaign (the Gap, fall 2008; he wore a white oxford shirt).

"I try not to think about it too much," he says of his burgeoning fame. "I realize that I have a really romantic life right now, but I try not to take myself too seriously. I try to have fun." Indeed. He then orders his third strawberry margarita, blended, no salt. (The awesome thing about his current job, he confides: "As long as I can keep my camera steady, I can have as many margaritas as I want.")

Schuman's leap from dilettante photographer to superstar blogger is rather unusual. He doesn't particularly look like a Web celeb (Schuman just barely missed making our list of the top 25 Web celebrities this year) or even that cool; his work uniform generally consists of J. Crew cargo shorts and flip-flops, and he prefers conservative tailored suits (with a pocket square or scarf) when going out. His blog isn't flashy--just pictures on a plain white background with minimal text--and features photos of fashion editors, shop clerks, college students, fishermen, dandies, skaters and, once, a former drug dealer, rather than celebrities.

His work is modest but captivating: the insouciance of the skateboarders in their mop tops and slim jeans in Manhattan's Washington Square Park, the freedom of a diaphanous dress on a young woman on the first day of summer, the quiet dignity of an elderly man in newly polished shoes.

"He elevates that kind of street-style photography," says Dirk Standen, editor-in-chief of Style.com who also gave Schuman his first paid photography gig. "He takes it to a higher level."

In his former life, the 41-year-old Schuman worked 15 years in fashion marketing and branding and had his own showroom representing up-and-coming designers such as James Coviello and Peter Som. After the economic downturn in the industry spurred by 9/11, however, finding new designers was a struggle. Schuman let the lease run out of his space and decided to devote his time to raising his two daughters, Isabel, 10, and Claudia, 6.

"It was tough when I decided to start watching my kids," he admits. "I'm a super type-A personality, but I was really focused on the kids. I loved it, but I knew that when I found something that was right, I would do it."
See a quick snapshot of what The Sartorialist does in the video below.
Location, NYC: 57th and 5th 

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