New York Times Beefs Up Street Style Blogging, With a Focus on Staten Island Chic Over Paris Haute Couture

New York Times Beefs Up Street Style Blogging, With a Focus on Staten Island Chic Over Paris Haute Couture
Michelle Harper in Prabal Gurung

This week, the New York Times will introduce a biweekly street style video, “Intersection: Where Culture Meets Style,” as part of a push for more on-the-corner fashion coverage. Today’s feature focuses on a stylist who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and is partial to clogs and her boyfriend’s sweaters.

For now it’s just this video series, but there is more to come. In an interview with WWD, the Times’ online fashion editor Simone Oliver said she wants to embrace the obsessive nature of street fashion blogs and apply it to the diversity of New York City. It’s a nod to the blogosphere’s fascination with endless scroll-enabled depositories of people walking the metropolises of the world, with a focus on the boroughs the Sartorialist never gets to.

The paper does, of course, already have its own rich background in the subject.

“I started photographing people on the street during World War II,” wrote Bill Cunningham, bard of the lens, in a story for the Times in 2002. “I used a little box Brownie. Nothing too expensive. The problem is I’m not a good photographer … I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

Cunningham’s On the Street column has been running in the Times for decades, but this street style vertical may be a new tack for the Gray Lady. The paper seems to be looking for inspiration from the blogs, Tumblr sites, and Instagram handles that have amassed large and loyal fan bases in the last few years.

“We’re slowly beefing up our team, as in, now we have two people who are trying to do more all the time,” Oliver said.

While details are still up in the air, this looks like another part of the gradual shift that has seen the methods of popular online-only shutterbugs move up to powerhouse media outlets.

Tommy Ton started the blog Jak & Jil, boosted his reputation enough to collaborate with Anna Dello Russo, and ended up — inevitably — as a GQ contributor. This has happened before. Scott Schuman, the guy behind the Sartorialist and perhaps the most prominent of the crew, also shot and edited a page each month for GQ from October 2006 to September 2009. And street photographer Garance Doré, a Frenchwoman inspired by Schuman (they are now dating), ended up shooting for French Vogue.

All of these photographers, with their meticulous work at Pitti Uomo or jaunts through the couture shows in Paris, are similar to Cunningham, but the ways in which they developed their fan bases — likes, reblogs, tweets — is not. These blogs have proven that a well-curated collection of pictures can bring in the page views. Doré was, at one point, getting 50,000 hits a day. Perhaps that’s another reason behind the general ramped-up approach to street style. Fifty thousand viewers each day is substantial even at the Times, and all extra traffic makes a difference.

Regardless of why the paper has decided to roll out all this new street style content, we’re glad that it will spotlight the outer boroughs. The next video will be set in Forest Hills, Queens, and that’s refreshing. We thought a blogger’s camera only worked around the traffic circles of Paris, by the ancient walls of Milan, or on the bent cobblestones of Crosby Street.