The abstract moment of talking to Scott Schuman
He is said to be the most influential fashion blogger. On his site The Sartorialist, he documents street styles from around the world. No matter how big, influential or different, he’s certainly the blogger with the largest carbon footprint. We’ve met him in Berlin.

DERZEIT: What does the Sartorialist offer to its readers that online versions of fashion magazines don’t, or can’t?
Schuman: It’s free of any advertising pressure. This is the most sincere, honest form of fashion journalism right now.

But you’re here for a campaign event.
And how would that affect my blog? If I put photographs of it on my site, I will reference the job. It’s not like in a fashion magazine. My blog is totally honest, totally sincere. I shot 100 images for Burberry and I only put about 9 on my site. I liked all 100 that I did and was proud of the work. I said very clearly that this was a project for Burberry and quoted the link. In that way it’s absolutely honest and sincere.

How do you understand your work?

I’d describe myself as a photo-journalist, but as opposed to a journalist telling facts, I’m just giving you my opinion. I don’t have the patience to sit down and get all the facts right. I feel like the master of ceremonies of like-minded people. The comments are incredibly important on the site. My question about "Would you rather be the Celine woman or the Louis Vuitton woman" got like 600 comments.


There are a lot of blogs about street photography. What makes your blog different?
My girlfriend Garrance has a blog, but we shoot in two very different ways. She shoots in a much more personal way, things that literally inspire her to buy something or something she’d like to wear or a girl whose persona inspires her. My approach is much more abstract. Sometimes there might be a photograph that I take and I don’t necessarily like the outfit, but you look at it and think: that’s a great, abstract moment. There is one I haven’t put up yet of a girl with a big, floppy purple hat and a tailored purple coat. I don’t really like the two things together, but it’s an undeniably beautiful shot. She’s just in mid-step, there are always people around her, beautiful light. If I were a designer, I would look at that and go: I love that moment, but I would change her hat this way, I would make the jacket this way. Maybe that abstract moment that the designer takes away from it is the idea of a hat that matches your coat. It’s much more abstract than to stamp in: This person is nicely dressed.
Also, there is so much more variety on my site, with so many style blogs it’s twenty-somethings shooting twenty-somethings. It’s incredibly narrow what some people shoot, whereas I shoot Cowboys, old guys, a 17-year old girl.
The thing that separates me from the other blogs is that I have a 60-40 split between men and women, so the comments come from both sides – straight men, gay men, women, lesbians, old, young, European, American, such a diverse group that’s creating such an interesting variety of comments. Many other blogs are so narrow, you really only get one opinion.  

Do you think that web content needs to be printed to last? Is that something that’s important to you?
I think there is a difference between web content and photographs. I like to hold photographs, that’s why I did the book. But I think the internet is going to hold a lot longer than the photographs are.

What do you personally gain from your work? 

I love the variety and I love fashion. Some people think I started this as something against fashion, to go away from it. But I love the fashion system; I just see it in a slightly different way. In the months in between the fashion shows I go to Berlin or Japan, India or Peru – to walk around all over these places. Sometimes you get something and sometimes you don’t. Seeing how people live, seeing the different cultures, the different expectations, I think it’s fascinating.

If it wasn’t fashion, what would you obsess about? 

A lot of what I do in my blogging is based on what I know from the sports world. It is so far ahead of fashion, e.g. in terms of marketing, because it’s so much bigger. The fashion blog is not much different from Sports Talk Radio, where you have sportscasters who talk about what’s going on with the local soccer team and then callers call in to say their two things. A lot of my concept of how I wanted to have the blog is based on that.

Print publications always have a last page. What do you imagine the end of the Sartorialist to be like? 

A worldview. Hopefully, I will have the chance to do this for 40 years and hopefully I will have a snapshot catalogue of style from around the world during that period.

My next question would have been when would it be time to move on, but you just said that you are planning on blogging for the next 40 years... 

They will have to pull me out of this thing. It’s the perfect lifestyle for me. It might evolve and not always be a blog though.  - SSt

(Picture credits/  Portrait: Nespresso, Street scenes: Scott Schumann für Nespresso)

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