It used to be that designers dictated what people wore on the street, but since the emergence of street style blogs such as The Sartorialist (www.thesartorialist.blogspot.com), it’s the fashionable everyday people who are influencing the biggest names in fashion. In fact, street style photographers themselves, including Scott Schuman (of the Sartorialist) and Tommy Ton (of jakandjil.com), are becoming household names and front row figures at the biggest fashion shows.
Schuman’s regular haunts include Milan, Paris and New York, while Toronto-born Ton hardly photographs on Canadian soil anymore. Why are these popular blogs virtually ignoring the Great White North as a legitimate source of interesting street fashion? Of course, there are street style blogs that include Canadian content, such as youjustgotspotted.blogspot.com and torontostreetfashion.com, but many stick with the more obvious choice of Toronto as a source for subjects.
This is why I love Canadastreetstyle.com – the fantastic street style blog created by the brother-sister team of Janelle and Jérémie Wookey. I spoke with Janelle via email about the blog, style, and choosing subjects to shoot.
Emma Truswell: What made you want to start a Canadian street style blog?
Janelle Wookey: I just got tired of seeing so many overly-elite fashion photos out there from New York, Paris and Milan. I wanted to prove that you don’t have to own the entire Celine Spring collection or live in a high-society/high-fashion community to have wicked style. I think that our photos and the people and the clothes in them are just as beautiful. The looks are just as stylish and creative, just far more practical and affordable.
In terms of keeping it Canadian, I’ve always felt a little “miffed” as a Canadian at how often our country is overlooked and stereotyped. This is my part in fighting those indifferences and stereotypes.
ET: What do you feel sets your blog apart from the thousands of style blogs out there?
JW: I think the fact that our photos show only Canadians on the streets of Canada makes it unique and really attractive to Canadians. I think that I’m not alone in feeling annoyed that Canada is often discounted by Americans and Europeans as a place full of fashion. People appreciate that Canada finally has a place of its own to show off. Other than that, I think the simplicity of the blog sets it apart and is what people really love about it.
ET: How do you choose your subjects?
JW: I always keep two words in mind – “well dressed,” and that can mean all kinds of things. It’s hard to define, but I know it when I see it. However, we’re still learning what shoots well and what doesn’t.
ET: What brings you to different locations to shoot in?
JW: I have photographers all across Canada who help out, but whenever I do travel – which is mostly to Montreal and Vancouver – I try to take a bunch myself.
ET: What has been the most stylish Canadian city you’ve visited so far?
JW: I’d have to say Montreal. The men there are amazingly dressed. After that, it’s a tie between Toronto and Winnipeg. People are always shocked when I say that. Winnipeg has an incredible amount of young, creative, stylish people.
Writer’s note: C’mon Ottawa! Let’s add our city to that list!
ET: What sort of response have you gotten to the blog? Do you have any international readers?
JW: According to our Blogger Stats, people from all over the world are tuning in and discovering Canada for the fashionable place it is. People really seem to love the site. More and more, when I go out and shoot, people know what I’m talking about when I say CanadaStreetStyle, which is always a nice little thrill!
Inspired by the Wookeys’ blog, I headed out on the streets of Ottawa with my fellow intern, Thabi, to photograph the stylish people of the capital city. Judging by the results, we’ll be on Janelle’s list of the most stylish Canadian cities in no time!
Photos by Emma Truswell.
- Barbara, Sparks Street. Favourite places to shop: H&M and Zara.
If you want to see more Ottawa street style photos, comment on this article, the OLM facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Life-Magazine/112384398822238), or on twitter @OLMFashion!