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Visiting Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in February, it was striking to notice how many “unknowns” were being asked to pose for photos against the sweeping apron of Lincoln Plaza. Very smartly dressed unknowns to be exact. Bloggers such as Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist have elevated everyday people, to taste maker levels and this week, Bill Cunningham New York, a film by Richard Press, opens in select theaters. The film celebrates the life and work of photographer and fashion writer, Bill Cunningham, who has been documenting clothes and how they are worn on the streets of New York since 1978 for The New York Times.
The sidewalk is in in fact a runway, and now with the ease of digital photography and Internet the audience expands miles beyond the swath of concrete that separates fashionista from passerby. In recent years Getty Images has added more “street fashionesque” shots to their creative collection, such as the image above or directly below. Attractive people with a confident sense of style, somewhat caught in the moment but model released and art directed in some cases.
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Inspiration from the masses has always been at play for designers, but it seems like when times are tough, the common man is focused upon. Photographers have always been documenting street style, especially in the days of social and cultural expansion, when subcultures came out of the closet. Below are Mod revivalists from the 1980s, a Beatnik from 1962, young men from the south side of Chicago from 1967 and at the bottom are some of the guests who dressed to impress for fashion week 2011. Next time we’ll take it to the nightclub. See more ground up style here.
Caroline Greville-Morris/Redferns/Getty Images
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Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz