Two friends — one in burnt orange cargo pants and Vans, the other in a sunny button-up dress and leopard-print loafers — outside of a record shop; a mask-clad 20-something in baggy jeans, an oversized Purple Rain T-shirt, and a shoulder bag made from denim à la the early ‘00s, shopping with girlfriends; a pink-haired woman, wearing silver jewelry, smiling so big her emerald green tooth gem is on full display. Any other year, you might think you were looking at street style photos outside fashion shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan. But that’s not the case here. Welcome to 2020, where nothing about Fashion Month — or fashion, in general — looks the same.
For the last six months, with a lot of fashion events on hold, we turned away from our usual suspects for outfit inspiration (street style, runways, etc.), and toward the people that live and dress all around us. In doing so, we found something even better than New York Fashion Week street style, or any from the fashion weeks that traditionally follow it: true, authentic style. Living outside the “fashion capitals” are people that dress in looks that are personal and expressive of their individual style.
Over the last decade, we’ve let hype designer labels and kitschy, one-and-done trends steer us away from being uniquely us, and toward dressing like, well, everybody else. But at the end of the day, personal style has nothing to do with what those on social media are wearing, nor should it be influenced by the items a fashion publication reports are trending out of Paris. Instead, it should be about conveying aspects of your individual personality, from the same lace-up boots you slip on before heading out the door to the worn-in T-shirt you always end up choosing after trying on everything else in your wardrobe — twice.
All around us, people are still getting dressed during a pandemic and, subsequently in the absence of formal street style, molding what fashion in 2020 looks like. With that in mind, we asked local photographers from Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans to document the incredible style that’s presented on their city streets each and every day. And unlike before COVID-19, when getting dressed was more about how an outfit would look on film than the wearer’s own satisfaction, the images featured ahead are a reminder that fashion can be expressive, authentic, and unique when it’s just for you.
And that — the new wave of street style inspiration — is something worth celebrating.