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Scott Schuman credits the success of his street style blog The Sartorialist, which garners about 14 million page views and 1 million uniques a month, to the 15 years he spent working in the fashion industry.
This story first appeared in the March 28, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Schuman said his experience at places like Bergdorf Goodman has allowed him to better talk about men’s wear from both a creative and a commercial standpoint. But it’s a certain set of characteristics that has transformed his site into such a “unique proposition” — diversification being key.
“What I saw was cool guys — preppy, tailored or Rick Owens guys — and I’d shoot them at the same level with the same respect. It’s the ability to look at cool guys look cool,” Schuman said, adding that he never thinks about who the person is and instead focuses on the visual image of what he’s seeing.
Romance is another word he uses to describe his street style destination.
“Facts are uninteresting. I fell in love with fashion through photos. Guys want to look good. Guys are more visual than women,” he said.
He added that he always maintains an air of mystery — which began with the very name of the blog, The Sartorialist. “Blogs have very descriptive names, and I knew this name would make people click,” Schuman said. For him it’s not always about telling everything — he makes sure to keep that “veil” on at all times. This means he doesn’t conduct interviews with his subjects.
Schuman contended that he’s celebrating men with experience — and pointed out that hardly any of the guys featured on The Sartorialist are in their early twenties. For example, Lino Ieluzzi, owner of the Milanese men’s wear boutique Al Bazar, which is more than 40 years old, has become a street style celebrity from Schuman’s frequent photo documentation of him over the past few years.
Schuman also talked about the early days of blogging and how difficult it was initially because brands were scared of “unfiltered public reactions.”
“Now brands are unfiltered and are going after blogs because all they want is reaction,” Schuman said. “In the future, blogs will get better. We’re getting ready for a new generation of fashion communicators.”
To him the notion of a “fashion writer” today is “quaint” — and he prefers to use the term “fashion communicators” to describe this growing segment of individuals who he said will one day be able to shoot a runway shot or a video, edit it and have it posted on their own site within an hour.
These people will be able to communicate and engage with their audience — what Schuman is hopeful will transform from “fashion dictation” to the “golden age of fashion communication.”
“If you’re just trying to shoot out your message without interacting with your audience, then it doesn’t matter. You’re looking at it the wrong way,” Schuman said.