One part grunge, one part Parisian influence, then rolled around in the San Diego sand and dipped into a giant jewelry box.
And this is Jane Aldridge, author of fashion blog Sea of Shoes
who in Lookbook.nu says that
Lately I've been listening to Suicide, Japan, Boredoms, Ex Models, and
The last book I read was 'Kafka on the Shore' by Haruki Murakami and
the next book I'm going to read is 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm
A couple of weeks ago, I was with fashion designer Mark Ely of Ely Kishimoto and we talked a lot about Jane Aldridge. And here's a reason why.
First, Bruce Nussbaum of Business Week wrote the other day that:
I’m working with Parson’s grad Kelsey Meuse to build out a Gen Y Research Collaborative and she pointed me to Lookbook.nu. It’s a simple digg-type platform where Gen Yers around the world are posting their fashion creations and getting rated by their peers. It’s simple, beautiful and wonderfully innovative in a quietly disruptive way.
Add that American Vogue magazine featured Jane Aldridge's 'Most Wanted' back in July.
Now there's nothing new about (photo) journalists becoming celebrities - er, Norman Mailer.
But there is something materially different in these three bloggers - and there are many others - becoming models, designers and ad-men in one of the most brand-pure conscious parts of consumer culture.
Back in 2004, writers Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller introduced to culture their idea of the Pro-Am Revolution:
...amateurs who work to professional standards. These are not the gentlemanly amateurs of old - George Orwell's blimpocracy, the men in blazers who sustained amateur cricket and clubs. The Pro-Ams are knowledgeable, educated, committed and networked, by new technology.
Now Charlie and Paul were writing principally about the emerging army of people using open source technology and innovation, flattened heirachies, knowledge and passion to make social, economic and cultural change.
But fashiontoast, Jane Aldrige and The Sartorialist and what's happening to them shows something more.
Amateurs are not just busy in online playgrounds, mish-mashing taste and sharing it in walled gardens.
Their values and skill are now starting to influence - and be commodified - in not just offline culture but the most brand-dilution-obsessed part of it all.
Maybe it wasn't open-source-wash when Stefano Pilati of Yves Saint Laurent told the London Financial Times on the publication of the company's fifth 'manifesto' just a few weeks ago:
If they take my manifesto, go to a vintage store somewhere and are inspired to make their own outfit, I think that's great. Then we've helped them dream a new idea of themselves. Isn't that the point?
Maybe fashion, a key part of the creative economy, is going Pro-Am and genuinely changing its spots.
If so, it'll be interesting to see how the aesthetic changes - or not.
(See good links here at Gawker on post that disses front-row bloggers as an old story, or "tired dead horse linguistic chicken bone?")