Grazia Daily meets the man who WROTE THE BOOK ‘Street Style’

01 October 2010

Ravers, Goths, Mods, Teddy Boys, New Romantics, Rude Boys and so many MANY more subcultures have been immortalised in books, plays and films (Why, just think of the intricately stylised costumes of This Is England ’86, for example) OR documented in their modern day equivilants – blogs like Grazia’s Style Hunter, the Sartorialist or even Susie Bubble.


Covers stars - twins Chuka and Dubem a few years on!

Nowadays photographing ‘ordinary’ people is an accepted form of fashion documentation, but when Ted Polhemus picked up his camera back in the 80’s it was the beginning of the most well-known, widely read and addictive catalogue of the many tribes and sub groups there is – Street Style.

Now, it is being re-launched, with additional up-to-date photographs from the very brilliant PYMCA archive. Of course, you can’t launch a book without a party, so we headed off The Book Club in Shoreditch to raise a glass to this splendid project, admire the framed original prints from the book on the bar’s walls and best of all, queue up for a signature and chat with the author himself.  


Fred Butler and friends at the launch party

Grazia Daily: Hello! We LOVE your books. I read them all at College, and all the library copies always had pages falling out because people had read them so much!

Ted Polhemus: Oh thank you! I always think that no-one ever reads them. I never believe it. I thought that people just looked at the pictures!

GD: Not at all, they are a great read!  Do you keep up with style blogs these days? Which ones are your favourites?

TP: Yes I do. My favourites are – which is street style from Helsinki in Finland,  I’m also very interested in what people are wearing in Zagreb, Tahron in Iran, Mexico and my friend has a great blog based in Buenos Aires, Argentina (We think it is this)

GD: What would you say are the biggest trends or style tribes to have come out of the last few years?

TP: When anybody asks me what is ‘the Next Big Thing’ I always say there will never ever ever be a next big thing. Nowadays its all about diversity, choice and possibility.

GD: So . . . after all those years of style searching, do you have a favourite location to go, or is your favourite place always the next one?

TP: I always want to be surprised. So, by definition, somewhere that has has the media spotlight shone on it always dies a bit. For example London. When somewhere becomes known for its street style I like to leave it alone for a bit. I want to go somewhere no one else is interested in or knows about.

- Naomi Attwood


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