Why Street Style Is Bullshit

by Christie Grimm · September 15, 2016

You know when models or actresses leave the house, and walk a few feet to their getaway car? Yeah, well apparently that two second stroll of necessity is the magic-making moment that turns that which is otherwise just a pure human's ensemble into the flash loving spectacle of Street Style. The elevated state of being in which every sartorial slice of a person is colored with deep intent and brilliance.

What a statement maker Gigi Hadid is? How daring is Kendall? Can you believe that Rihanna thought to wear that?

These days especially, this being the week of Fashion and all, the concept of Street Style is violently unavoidable. Slapped in the face by daily best look roundups (we're guilty of it, too), Instagram outfit shots - editors, bloggers, and interns aplenty teetering down the streets in droves. It's so much, it's almost enough to convince even the most realistic New Yorker that all of this is actually how life is.

But alas, not in the least.

Every day it seems this notion of Street Style pervades magazines and blogs and sites, captivating the big eyes of many an aspiring fashionite. Though the reality of it lies absent. Think it's funny that most of those outfits sitting in the front row are also walking down the runway? Or that a person's full head to toe designer look is straight out of Moschino's last collection? Every piece of every outfit is either placed on show-goers by strategizing PR people, or begged for desperately by the show-goers themselves.

Here today, gone tomorrow, Street Style as we've come to identify it is inherently the opposite of Personal Style. An army of stylists, and designer loans ensure the perfect look every time.  An ensemble which coincidentally you will never see repeated, considering the next day it's in a garment bag on it's way back to a showroom or to be tossed around by interns in a messy PR closet.

And those street style shots themselves? Not always as candid as may appear.

Fashion being a world of shameless people, very few are above taking matters into their own hands to ensure their outfit documentation. Hiring "Fashion Week Husbands" and paying photographers to follow them around. After all, Phil Oh's not just going to stop and snap just anyone.

So who does he snap? Well, there are the names to know of course - the Anna Wintours, the Karlie Klosses. But also the names to make. And so the more ridiculous and unwearable a girl's outfit may be (though admittedly often still chic, divine, glamorous), the more likely she is to get photographed. Cue: Anna Dello Russo. And so a class of emerging editors and fashion assistants and aspiring It Girls and muses take elaborately to the sidewalk, peacocking their brains out and pulling out all the sartorial stops. In no way a real image of themselves, let alone their usual streetwalking look. 

All of fashion is a show. Just hope all of fashion realizes that.

I want to blame Anna Wintour. Because, since nothing happens in this sphere without her blessing or permission, but alas, I don't think it's as easy as pointing at her. 

Ruthless self promotional game. As designers, editors and stylists fight to be seen. 

How did Anya Ziourova, Miroslava Duma, Taylor Tomasi Hill, Leandra Medine, Giovanna Battaglia and the lot of them create these photographable personas? Curate themselves as recognized personalities in the industry, simply by their costumes du jour? In this ruthless game of self promotion, where designers and editors and stylists fight to be seen, at stake is the ultimate advertisement opportunity. Just think of the number of national ad campaigns Gucci has currently walking around the street in Manhattan - slip sliding all over the place in those Kangaroo fur mules. 

Just think of what a different appeal seeing items in the wild has when compared to seeing them statically in a magazine? To see how something moves, how it can be "realistically" styled, it's a far more "authentic" way to witness clothing. 

And sure, though annoying, this street style silliness is not the end of things as we know it. It's a reality television world after all, and we're just living in it. But oh how many other ways you are being lied to without knowing.

[Photos by Style and the City, via @_livefashionista]