Photo by Andrew Nawrocki
Fashionable people astound me. Whereas others roll out of bed and into the perfect skinny jeans/plaid shirt/mussed cardigan/Converse combo, when assembling an outfit, I apply the sort of concentration normally associated with defusing a bomb, and still wind up realizing hours into my day that what seemed fresh and daring in my early morning mirror actually makes me look like I was styled by an Olson twin and K.D. Lang, each drunk and angry. Plus I almost always forget to brush my hair.
Amy Creyer faces none of these problems. Currently a DePaul graduate student studying the role of public policy in the fashion and apparel industries, Creyer eats sleeps and breathes fashion. As the owner of chicagostreetstyle.com, a website dedicated to providing high quality street style photographs, Creyer captures Chicago’s most fashionable perambulators. A self-taught photographer, Creyer’s influence is two-fold. Not only does she showcase cresting styles, but by virtue of what she chooses to photograph, she also shapes trends.
Our Town First off, what are you wearing right now?
Amy Creyer My Proenza Schouler for J. Brand paint-splattered jeans, Erin Gordon for Sarca bracelets, a Graham & Spencer top, my black leather Chucks, and a Giorgio Brato leather jacket.
OT You grew up in Greenwich. Style-wise, how is NYC different than Chicago?
AC In New York, people are very concerned with wearing the right brands or the hottest designers. You see a lot of clothing straight off the runway. I love to photograph and wear designer clothing, but I find the authenticity in Chicago far more interesting. There is an organic and authentic development of personal style in Chicago that I think is directly related to the absence of a strongly entrenched fashion establishment.
OT Describe your website’s genesis.
AC I was the little girl who always wore dresses to run around the playground. My website is the culmination of my lifelong love of fashion and decade long obsession with street style. Every aspect of being a street style photographer, from stopping random people on the street to using social media to connect with my followers, came naturally to me.
OT How do you choose and reel in potential subjects?
AC I constantly scan my surroundings for anything unusual; perhaps a woman's unique hairstyle or the way a man tied his scarf. Sometimes there's skepticism, but I always cut through with my charm. As the art form becomes more popular, individuals are excited about getting stopped for a photo, and I am definitely seeing stronger style on the streets as a result.
OT Do you shoot daily?
AC [Initially] I had too many experiences where, grocery shopping or running errands, I saw someone I would have loved to photograph. Now, I'm always armed with my Olympus PEN and prepared to capture a subject to share with my readers.
OT You study the role of social media in fashion marketing. What role do bloggers play?
AC Bloggers are essentially innovators and trendsetters, early adopters in marketing terminology. These people hold considerable influence over their networks, and social media has dramatically increased that sphere of influence. Before the rise of blogging a trendsetter like Tavi Gevinson would have been limited to influencing people in her local community, but with the Internet she can set trends across the world. Her sway in the fashion industry stems from her authenticity as a consumer, which is extremely valuable to a brand. I'm really interested in how brands build relationships with bloggers and the role of authenticity in those partnerships.
Jealous of my fashion prowess?
OT What’s trending in fashion now?
AC Before the rise of social media, only the most daring people took fashion risks. Now I'm seeing people of all subcultures and social classes using fashion to define themselves against the world, rather than using clothing to conform. I would say individuality is the dominant fashion movement of the 21st century.
OT What piece do you recommend for spring?
AC Flatforms, seen all over the Spring 2011 runways. Before you write them off as ugly or trendy, think about all those times you got home from a long day of shopping on Rush Street only to see how dirty your feet [were] from wearing sandals on the city streets.
OT What designers inspire you?
AC I am inspired by the American fashion designer partnerships between New York's Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough at Proenza Schouler and Rodarte's Mulleavy sisters in California. These design duos fascinate me because of the synergy evident in their lines. Both relationships are quite special, as Lazaro and Jack have a romantic past and Laura and Kate Mulleavy are siblings. When I look at the collections, I can see passion and explosive tension expressed in Proenza Schouler's use of bright colors and graphic prints. In contrast, the sibling dynamism at Rodarte is far gentler. [The] pale shades, delicate fabrics, and endlessly intricate designs reveal a psychic understanding only two close sisters could maintain. Or maybe I'm just a psychology major who reads too much into fashion.
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following Our Town on Facebook and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez