Street photographer has fashion world's attention

MILAN Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:06pm GMT

MILAN Jan 21 (Reuters Life!) - Street snapper The Sartorialist is expanding from blogs to books, hoping fashion fans will pin his pictures of everyday people on their walls to inspire the way they dress.

Scott Schuman, a fashion industry veteran-turned blogger, has become a favourite among fashionistas around the world for his photos of people who catch his eye on the street.

His blog thesartorialist.blogspot.com/ has become required reading for the fashion industry and he was named one of Time Magazine's top 100 design influencers.

"For me it's about being able to be inspired by someone without having to try to be like them," Schuman told Reuters in an interview during Milan's menswear fashion shows this week.

"The message is to make up your own story, and hopefully keep your mind open enough ... In a sense ... guys can look at a woman's outfit... be inspired ... before they just would never even have thought they could look at a woman and be inspired."

Schuman, who also has a column in GQ magazine and a guest blog on style.com, is now set to publish a book in September. There will be a paperback version and a hard cover "bespoke" version.

"I want people to really look at it, use it, be inspired, rip the pages out and put them up on their wall ... really to have a relationship with the book," he said.

Schuman, in his 40s, hardly ever takes pictures of models and his subjects are of all ages, races, shapes and sizes.

"I shoot a much wider range of ages than any other fashion magazine," he said. "I don't really care what age someone is, and I don't put them all in a special age issue."

He says he shoots men and women differently. "I shoot men's (pictures) on instinct, what I like, what I think is interesting, whether I think it's my style or not. I shoot women's on experience, what I know," said Schuman, who used to work in womemswear.

NOT JUST ANY PICTURE

The blog is very different from best-dressed lists which tend to only feature celebrities in designer outfits and he says he won't put up just any picture.

"I shoot in a very instinctual way. A lot of times I don't really like the whole outfit, I only like a little bit of it, or sometimes I don't like the outfit at all, but it's ... because of the way they're sitting or the grace of the person, or the light in the outfit," he said.

"It's the picture that makes you go 'wow, that looks cool, that's inspiring in some way'."

He spends about four hours a day taking pictures, which will get about 100 comments. "A good one will get 200," he said.

A fan of designer Dries Van Noten, Schuman says on a good day he'll get five shots and makes a point of going to different areas. He also takes pictures when he travels to other countries.

"Milan is the best for the men, Paris is the best for women. Stockholm is really good for kids from 15 to 23. New York and London I think are very much alike ... there's tons of colours, vintage," he said.

"I like going to new places and discovering -- I don't try to impose my view, and I don't try to report what the fashion is," said Schuman, who is originally from Indiana, adding this year he wants to go to Japan.

Schuman, for whom Cary Grant is a style icon, says his blog is popular because his audience "can tell it's done from a very authentic point of view."

"I'm really proud of the fact that it's a seriously considered kind of fashion media," he said.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)