I wanted to find out what people’s style said about this city and decided to ‘Face hunt’ in the streets of London, preying on a particular tribe: the Lomographers. Find out the style and the faces behind the plastic cameras, just after the jump!
Coco Chanel once said “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different”. Nobody could take this more to the letter of the law than Londoners. The streets are like kaleidoscopic catwalks. In the bus, in the tube or in a restaurant you can find many examples of the wild, creative, individual self-expression that characterizes Londoners’ sense of style. Fashion in London is less about the industry and all about personal expression.
Like it or not, what you wear greatly influences the first impression you present to the world. In that sense, what can Londoners’ unique style say about London? Do the clothes make the city? If Paris is a perfectly ironed Chanel suit and New York a slick wrinkle-free Donna Karan dress, then London would have to be an oversized and over-colored vintage jumper paired with animal print leggings and colorful shoes.
London is undoubtedly one of the great fashion capitals of the World. Much like in New York, Paris and Milan, twice a year fashionistas from all over the Globe flock to London Fashion Week to take a pick at next season’s trends. Ironically enough, Londoners’ style is characterized by a charming ‘devil may care’ attitude towards whatever the fashion industry dictates. In fact, this is a city where creative self-expression plays a huge role on the collective sense of style. Fashion in London is limited by whatever is available in the multitude of vintage stores and street markets and one’s own imagination. You can mix high street with high-end fashion and personalize your look with a touch of vintage. Anything goes; everything is allowed. And what’s fascinating is that this diversity results in people from all walks of life, all kinds of backgrounds and sense of style coexisting side by side with equal property.
Having all this in mind, I was curious to find out exactly how much variety this city can accommodate. If I was to randomly pick a number of people living in London, how many similarities and differences would I be able to spot? Could I draw a stereotype of what a quintessential Londoner might look like? I was exceptionally interested in finding more about one group of people in particular: the Lomographers living in London. Who are they? What do they like to do? Where do they hang out? And more importantly – at least for the scope of this article – what do they wear?
For a month I got in touch with as many Lomographers as I could, got to meet some of London’s Lomography Royalty as well as a few rookies. I literally ran around from East to West London, always carrying my bag full of many different types of cameras and films. I wanted to capture every little detail of each and every one of them and I wanted to learn as much as possible about who they where and what they liked to do, in order to understand who are the faces behind our beloved plastic lenses.
What have I learned from this exercise? According to my expectations, Lomo-londoners are style aware people, with a personal approach to fashion. They do not follow trends dictated by huge labels, but rather reinvent them in each detail of their outfits: a small hair accessory, a colorful necklace, a funky t-shirt, a quirky watch, some impressive eyewear or an original hat. Nothing over the top – but distinctive enough to pass the message “here, this is me”. Their most indispensable accessory? I would have to guess their cameras – with them they capture the world the way they see, making it an extension of who they are and how they live. But the most striking characteristic, common to each and every Lomo-londoner I have met, would have to be their sense of individuality.
Quoting Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashions fade, style is eternal”. Londoners (and Lomo-Londoners in particular) bring back the fashion to the grittiness of the streets and have their way with it – always in great style!
I want to thank all of my models for being such troopers and agreeing to help me out with this crazy project of mine. If it hadn’t been for them, their patience and generosity with their time and image, this article wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you so much to my dear friend Ricardo, to uslan , to neja, to ereen, to harrietgreen, to decat, to fafascinado, to giorgious, to julietalucca and to sandkorn.
The Lomo-faces of London is still a running project. I would love to meet more Lomographers in London and take their pictures. I would also like to extend this concept to other cities. If this is a project you could see yourself being involved in, please get in touch with me!