Sydney beats the pants off Melbourne in fashion
Meet 33 year old Swiss native Yvan Rodic.
He’s the brains and discerning eye behind fashion street blog, Face Hunter and he’s been trotting around the world taking pictures of hip looking people since about 2006.
Surprisingly, he thinks Australians aren’t that bad when it comes to getting dressed, even Aussie men. But here’s the really big shock…
Despite having just spent several days drinking short blacks in Melbourne, Rodic says Sydney kicks Melbourne’s butt when it comes to everyday style and elegance.
“I find people in Sydney more refined [when it comes to fashion], they have a high standard of originality, elegance and beauty,” he says.
“More people look incredible and there is a higher quality than when I visited last time ”.
He’d also like to set the record straight on his perception of Sydney men.
It’s not that he thinks they’re bad dressers, it’s just there are less men “generally everywhere that are worthy of a photograph”.
And they’re not alone.
Teenagers and older people rarely grace his lens either; the first group tend to “clone” each other, leading to “stereotypes” while the later have less and less need to “define themselves visually”:
“Careers and family responsibility largely defines who you are and how you dress as you get older, we have less need to show the world who you are through your clothes,” he says.
Young women, on the other hand, are ideal subjects for Rodic’s work.
And while often awkward, protective or “seeking compliments” when approached for a photograph in the street, Rodic says, in the end, most become willing subjects of the hyper-fragmented, throw-it-all-together and define-your-true-self fashion mix that is the focus of his work.
“I like to photograph people who express who they are not just a fantasy of what they want to be,” said Rodic of his body of work to date; a collection of photographs, a bustling blog (begun back in 2006) that has attracted the attention of great fashion stalwarts like the houses of Dior and Chanel, a visual diary that has since expanded into a television show and now a book, Face Hunter, that he’s here in Australia to promote.
To the untrained eye, Rodic’s collection of photographs are a striking combination of the eccentric, kitsch and bizarrely beautiful. They also stand alone, at least on his blog, where images are posted without explanations, stockists or the bitchy banter of more generic fashion discussion boards:
“There are just too many things to say about the photographs and so many words and explanations in fashion magazines that I decided to say nothing at all,“
“I wanted this project to be pure visual inspiration” he says.
But the philosophy behind Rodic’s work is deeply rooted; linking contemporary fashion to pre-war history, street culture and the global reach of the internet and is divided into three stages.
The first is pre World War Two when people were limited by their social status that determined who they worked for, what they did and therefore what they wore.
“Your social ranking was a fatality, most people had no freedom to choose how they appeared to the world,” says Rodic.
This was followed by the post-war years right up to the first stages of the internet when fashion was defined by “consumerism”.
“[The} emergence of sub cultures and tribes, like punks, hippies and mods; it was now possible to choose who you wanted to be but you were still tied to some degree to how you were raised and your family structure. For example, my mother was a hippie but then again forced by social convention to get married,” he said.
Bringing us to the third and present stage that Rodic describes as “hyper-fragmented”.
“Our identity now is all about free choice and just like we use our iPods, so that we can listen to all kinds of music all at once.
“We sample and mix a hybrid from all cultures and all eras, without consideration or rules and with little value or care for the meaning,” he says.
Rodic in person appears soberly well-dressed. And while happy to admit that he does not adopt the style of his photographic subjects, he assures me his life is “eccentric” enough.
“This year alone I have taken 104 international flights and visited 35 countries. Just last month I touched down in Turkey and Colombia in the same week.”
It’s a hectic and privileged pace of life that reflects the philosophy of his business and also brings him great personal rewards:
“It has helped me understand the world, in the sense it has shown me just how diverse it can be, an awareness of culture, commodities and different ways of thinking.”
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