Street Style Backlash: The Peak of Peacocking

Still from Take My Picture by Garage Magazine.

Still from Take My Picture by Garage Magazine.

Russian based Garage Magazine (brainchild of Dasha Zhukova), recently released the below short that discusses what they see as a ballooning saturation in the world of fashion, street style, and subsequent street style blogs.  According to Garage, there are the “fashion editors frustrated by the ensuing commotion outside of shows, and the rise of ‘peacocking’ street style stars as a result of the proliferation of blogs,” but beyond the editors and the “stars,” are the photographers, the designers who benefit from the free publicity, and a greedy voyeuristic public, who together form one unhappy cluster (though at times symbiotic) of a relationship.

Garage refers to this period in fashion’s narrative as a trend, but like all trends, which are by definition as fleeting Taylor Swift’s relationships, we have to wonder if the current balloon will simply deflate, or if it is doomed to pop. Either or, the footage makes one point abundantly clear: as it stands, this can’t last.

The short examines multiple sides of the issue, and fashion journalist Tim Blanks, who does an excellent job parsing the information in digestible and inoffensive bites, raises a supplemental and incredibly vital question: “Is there some kind of use for the material that they are creating?”

He doesn’t know, nor do we (though we are quick to clarify, we love street style blogs and the bit of zest they bring to our mornings).

As with any kind of user generated content, there are great street style blogs (the film points to Jak and Jil, as well as Streetpeeper), there are the average, and there are the plain terrible (no examples given).

Not everyone will grow to be street style photographer Phil Oh, who makes an appearance toward the end luxuriating in a bubble bath and reminiscing about the good old days (eh, 2007) when the Tuileries were devoid of the rash of photographers.  Those were the days when he could “walk up to anybody…and just say hi, how’s it going, build a repertoire.”  Nowadays he equates the profession to “trench warfare.” Perhaps hyperbolic, but from the tub comes some truth.

 Take My Picture by Garage Magazine 

How many times can a website proliferate the same image? At what point is unique content no longer unique, no matter who uploads it or snaps it first?

Even while writing this, we realize the hypocrisy: how many times has this very topic been discussed? How many other websites and blogs posted the same information? In this sense the internet superhighway has become a long, self-perpetuating line of monotonously unique general stores. Each new blog no better than a McDonald’s franchise; each new competitor obeying Hotelling’s Law (aka if your competitor has found a way to sell something, the easiest way in is to sell the same thing in the same way). At this juncture, the information superhighway is no more impressive than a super-sized big gulp.

How much of the internet, let alone street style and style blogging has become about “peacocking?” Anyone with a keyboard can be a writer. Anyone with a Vimeo account, a director. We’ve lost the ability to filter.

Perhaps the culture of me (#selfie) will finally implode. Here’s hoping. –Arianna Schioldager





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