The Sartorialist

BATD ON Dec 12, 2008 AT 11:05 am

“The Sartorialist” is the perfect pseudonym for fashion blogger Scott Schuman. As a master of the sartorial, it is only fitting that he tailored the title, with the careful use of the definite article, to invoke his own authority and a sense of chic majesty.

But while the name The Sartorialist may stir visions of circuses or magic shows for its sheer ostentation, the man himself hasn’t the slightest inclination toward smoke and mirrors. In fact, Scott Schuman’s claim to fame is his ability to put on a fashion show outside the context of a big Bryant Park production and inside the comfort of his own home. All he needs is a camera.  

Years of labour running high-fashion showrooms for designers like Valentino and Jean-Paul Gaultier led Schuman to the conclusion that there was too big a disconnect between what was gracing the New York City runways and what the city’s vital residents were actually wearing on the street. So when he quit the fashion world to become a stay-at-home dad to his daughter, he dedicated himself instead to finding and capturing the raw style of the city through the lens of his digital camera, and closing that gap.

As a photography hobbyist, Schuman has a very keen eye, and combined with his fashion background, he found himself uncommonly gifted at finding people who embodied the city’s cool and diverse material sensibility. His goal to “try and shoot style in a way that I knew most designers hunted for inspiration,” paying special attention to “the abstract concepts of colour, proportion, pattern mixing or mixed genres,” was realized in the form of his blog, TheSartorialist.com.

Schuman’s idea to post photos of ordinary people (albeit possessing extraordinary style) in addition to the been-there-done-that practice of posting celebrity photos was totally innovative. His artistic photos and narrative captions quickly enticed designers and commoners alike to join his fan club.  Schuman’s blog recently reached the million monthly hits mark, making it among the most popular fashion blogs, of which the numbers are growing exponentially. The Sartorialist, named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Design Influences, should not have any trouble staying afloat however, despite the competition.

The site has a loyal fan-base, and Schuman, after quitting fashion in 2005, has been thrust back into the business more aggressively than ever, with frequent invitations from Style.com, French Vogue, and Saks Fifth Avenue to lend them his many talents. In further testament to its establishment as a sustainable presence online, TheSartorial.com has spawned a whole class of similar blogs looking to appeal to its superiorly cool constituency of artists and trendsters.

Be it a little kid on a bike in New Delhi wearing a bright red and blue shirt (Schuman has been travelling regularly outside NYC to give his work more international colour and relevance) or an elegant woman in fur hailing a taxi on the street in the East Village, no subject is off limits for the immensely talented The Sartorialist. You might even want to check the site to see if he and his camera are in your city. If so, make sure to leave your house wearing something fabulous- or fabulously odd, just make sure that it’s quintessentially you.

With a little luck from the fashion blogging gods, your style could end up being the inspiration for next year’s Versace collection or something.

Scott Schuman

Scott Schuman

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