The Sartorialist Captures Subtle Details of Street Style

The Sartorialist Captures Subtle Details of Street Style
By Jonas Pelli
(originally posted at Blogs We Like)

Scott “The Sartorialist” Schuman strides confidently up to a leggy brunette, who is sipping an iced coffee outside a Soho boutique.

“Excuse me, miss. I run a fashion blog, and I was wondering …” he begins.

“Of course, I love your site,” she gushes before he can finish.

After instructing the young woman to position her hair slightly to achieve proper lighting conditions, Schuman takes out his camera and starts shooting. The whole process lasts less than two minutes.

“Thank you very much,” he says, extending his hand. She smiles, and shakes. Her friend, who has been seated next to her, keenly observing all the while, turns and whispers, “Oh my gosh, how flattering … You’re going to be famous!”

Indeed, she may well be. More than 1 million people are going to see her this month. Schuman’s reputation precedes him now that his blog, The Sartorialist, is quickly becoming the most linked-to street-style fashion site on the Net. It recently broke the 1 million views a month mark, a first for an independent street-style site.

Conde Nast recognized his potential and offered Schuman a yearlong contract in 2006, shooting fashion show attendees worldwide for As the popularity of his photography started picking up, offers started pouring in. Schuman’s recent and upcoming projects include travels to Milan for Wallpaper magazine, Sweden for, and Germany for German Vogue.

For a man of such burgeoning fashion icon status, Schuman dresses rather modestly while out shooting. Apart from one of his signature paisley scarves elegantly tucked into his cashmere sweater and conspicuously professional Nikon D50 camera in his hand, one wouldn’t guess that Time Style & Design has just named him one of the top 100 most influential people in the design world.

On this particular spring day, Schuman is going sockless in Italian wingtip loafers, paired with cuffed vintage Levis 501s. He describes his own style as “an American dressing with an Italian accent,” citing his influences as “old school Italian mixed with Ralph Lauren.”

His outfit, given the genesis and history behind each piece, speaks volumes. The faded denim in particular, knowing their history, tells much about the story of his life. Upon further inspection, the right knee of Schuman’s jeans is noticeably lighter than the left.

“It’s my ‘daddy knee,’” he explains, “where my daughters sit.” That exact spot, however, serves dual purposes. It’s both an impromptu seat and consistent stabilizer for his camera as he poses to shoot. Over time, that spot has been faded and now divulges the two main focuses of his life: his family and passion for fashion photography.

His interest in photography evolved from shooting his children playing in the park. His first “office,” or, in a sense, photo studio, was the Bleecker Street Playground. “I used to run this place,” he says, a nostalgic smile creeping across his face.

Schuman has over 15 years of experience in the fashion world. He was the curator of a showroom and worked as an executive for Bloomingdale’s. However, he left to pursue his individual interests after realizing he wanted to move in his own creative direction.

Schuman’s passion and point of view is what makes The Sartorialist so successful. The site is not a popularity contest or “who’s who” of elite fashion types. The reason fans are so loyal, and the community so influential, is because The Sartorialist is “a brand, a level of taste,” he explains; one that captures the underlying, and often very subtle, details of subjects that transcend fashion boundaries.

It’s style, not fashion, that Schuman looks for and captures on the streets. “It’s about keeping an open mind,” he says. His subjects range from industry deity types like Karl Lagerfeld to a grinning Parisian painter splattered head to toe after a day’s work, baguette tucked nonchalantly under his arm.

To Schuman, and his 1 million-plus readers, style can be found equally in both kinds of people. He says, “I always try to find the positive and take whatever little bit I like. It can be anything.”
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