PEOPLE OF THE 21st CENTURY


Think back to Streetstyle on its ascension to mainstream media over the last half century, and one encounter may have been the genre's less-sophisticated and meaner brother in the shape of the Vice 'Dos and Don'ts' section, where you could peruse the mockery of hapless hipster prototypes receiving the thumbs down or the thumbs very down, by cruel hispter prototypes channeling Charlie Brooker. Around the same time, photographer Hans Eijkelboom began work on his own catalogue of streetstyle images from around the world.  Here the aim was not ridicule, at least not intentionally, rather identifying trends in how people dressed in a certain place at a certain time, and now these subjects have been arranged like rare sometimes extinct butterflies in a museum archive.  Like a pre-2013 normcore identikit.

The first interesting thing you notice about the book is how it reminds us how destination-specific certain styles used to be - 'I never remembered the plaited belt over the tanktop with flares thing?!' - probably because that was only in Singapore.  And because it begins pre-internet explosion(when companies actually had to pay WGSN rather than refer to Tumblr) you can watch shopping and personal styles evolve across this period, and via a variety of socioeconomic influences.

We get swallowed up by trends so easily, and fashion moves so fast the high street invented something called fast fashion - this book documents all of it, obsessively and borderline scientifically, fetishising the finished product in sets of twelve per page, catalogued dated and location stamped - documenting how we have recently expressed ourselves en masse.

 

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