From the outset, The Sartorialist and FRUiTS appear to be the same in their purpose and intention. Both in their own right, are considered to be ‘street style’/democratic-fashion-journalism trailblazers and noticeable parallels can be drawn in their ‘straight up’ photographic style to document clothing, which captures a ‘real’ subject in a ‘real’ moment (ii). However, it is this subject of ‘realness’ that questions how alike they truly are.

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According to Rosser, the nature of the street as a site of display; plays the part of a photographer’s studio, runway or catwalk for the expression of creativity and the ‘articulation of fashion’ with the addition of presumed authenticity. The ‘straight- up’ style of photography implies an element of direct reporting (ii). FRUiTS, the Japanese fashion magazine born from the streets of Hirajuku, Tokyo, was created by photographer Shoichi Aoki and was the first to document the individualistic styles present in street fashion, back in 1994. As a ‘fanzine’, the editions were created to show the development of an emerging fashion movement in the youth of Hirajuku, where Aoki observed that people on the street, in particular teenagers and young adults, had begun to perform a ‘silent rebellion’ in how they dressed and styled themselves that was both decidedly different from Western fashion and uniquely Japanese (i). It can be evidenced in photos from FRUiTS that a feeling of spontaneity, ‘conscious gaze’ and the photographer/viewer’s role acting as ‘witness’; corresponds with the suggestion that Aoki’s aim was to simply record and circulate the images.

A decade later in 2005, Scott Schuman created The Sartorialist, a blog touted by Time magazine as one of 100 top designer influences (ii). He, like Aoki, wanted to publish the photos he took of street fashion in New York City. However, it is well known that before blogging, Schuman worked in the fashion industry and now uses his connections to photograph not the average person as it may seem, but people in fashion. Furthermore, images on his blog are curated to depict usually ‘model-esque’ women and men that fit his particular visual ideal. It could be seen that in terms of working under a guise of ‘documentary style’ and ‘chance,’ The Sartorialist is not a truly alternative fashion press and is instead a reflection of normal fashion media with Schuman acting in the role of editor.


(i) Kawamura, Y 2012, Fashioning Japanese Subcultures, New York: Berg. 3,4,29,30.

(ii) Rosser, E 2010, ‘Photographing Fashion: a critical look at The Sartorialist’, Image and Narrative, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 158-170

(iii) Schuman, S 2009, The Sartorialist, London: Penguin Books

Photos: (Scans originally from FRUiTS magazine)