Monday, 20 August 2012

The Street Style Hunters (with video)

These four are from the delectable Dvora of Fashionistable, who is currently shooting all sorts of wonderful street style photos for Vogue UK. The green sixties dress visible in the photo above was the first ever item posted on this blog over three years ago. It defines longevity to me!

This was shot by Candice Lake for - catching me in the act of some note-taking that later formed the basis for my poem. The pink coat was a second hand eBay buy, but was spruced up with some vintage Chanel buttons kindly given to me by my grandma. 

The whizzing, flashing merry-go-round that is fashion month is about to take another spin. There are certain calendar dates that, no matter how regularly and evenly they are organized, seem to pop up (or rather wobble around the corner in high heels) unexpectedly. When new schedules are being released already, it’s easy to fall into predictable cries of “What? But we’ve only just had the last one!”
Maybe part of the puzzlement lies in the pace of the fashion industry. It’s something I’ve touched on before – the idea that everything is increasingly instant and up to the minute. Platforms such as twitter and instagram allow for snippets and sneak peaks in a matter of seconds. A word often used in relation to this relatively new phenomenon is the “democratization” of fashion.

Whether it’s truly democratic is a debate for another time, but the word seems strangely apt in relation to what happens on the streets and pavements outside each venue. It is only in recent years that the interest at each fashion week has been divided between the inside and the outside. The inside is host to shows, presentations and exhibitions – new designs showcased for approval of the press and buyers. The outside is the land of street style. Here the cameras are not organized, brick-like, at the end of a catwalk as shutters click and flashes pop. Instead they are roaming – hung around necks and slung across shoulders – always on the move. Sometimes there are swarms of lenses, appearing like a chorus of clicking insects around a particular figure. It’s fascinating.

What this movement has given flight to are some fantastic street style photographers, including Vanessa Jackman, DvoraDavid Nyanzi, Tommy Ton, Phil Oh and Candice Lake. Some photographers have an eye for colour, others for shape or a particularly mesmerizing face. It strikes me that the very best are those who capture the people as well as the outfits – celebrating both personality and creativity. Their work is compelling. I've been lucky enough to be shot by all of them, and was excitingly recently featured as a 'one to watch' on

Last time I was at LFW in February, I was standing outside a show with a notebook in hand. In fact,  the purple penguin-cover one featured in the last photo. I was scribbling down the details of the outfits around me: from glittering heels to cropped trousers to incredibly suave suits. From this messy list I extracted and shaped some of the images into the outline of a poem. The sight of twenty or thirty photographers hanging around outside the Royal Courts of Justice seemed to be the defining moment of LFW for me, and I wanted to preserve it. It’s easy to lose sight of the effort and hours put into producing and providing street style images. The ones I most appreciate are those who do not scrimp on their skill or integrity, no matter how little they slept the night before (thanks to uploading, editing and sending duties). I shall let the rest of the poem speak for itself:   

'Shooting Party' poem from Rosalind Jana on Vimeo.

Shooting Party

They gather for the hunt,
Grouping, readying, checking the light;
Wearing practical footwear and warm woolen coats
for air iced at the edges.
Smoke and gossip rise.
A glimpse of colour; a snap to attention; the shooting begins.

Shearling coats and spotted fur and shiny Chelsea boots,
Tailored waistcoats, thin, black gloves and khaki tweed cut suits.

Birds emerge past curlicued railings.
Every variety! Some with plumage of soft grey,
others with yellow or dusted pink.
The hunters point, focus, click
and chase down chosen subjects.

Floral blazers, patterned trousers, satin billowed skirts,
Pastel pleats and pointed toes and classic cream silk shirts.

Bright birds are briefly caught, ringed, recorded, set free.
Breeze lifts wings of fur and leather.
A flock of heels,
A ‘v’ of brogues,
tip-tapping on wet pavements.

Belted jumpers, purple blazers, a yellow, vintage mac,
Beanie hats and umbrellas – a suitcase stamped in black.

Winding galleries display the trophies,
prize selections framed by screens.
Magnificent finery
draws praise for a feather’s breath,
while the hunters return to tread grey paths
and shoot under London clouds.       

As an addendum, I must mention that even my mum agreed that my voice sounds very different in this video. Oh, and as is apparent, I have braces (two months so far). 


100%soie said...

you say it with such passion !! I am not sure I understood everything but I listrn to the entire video and was captured by your way to say it !!! beautiful outfits too !

West End Girl said...

What a smooth, sibilant poem! I love 'A flock of heels/A 'v' of brogues'. I couldn't help noticing your notebook, with the 'A Room of One's Own' cover. I recently wrote a poem that was partly inspired by the Shakespeare's Sister section in it - have you read the book?
Once again, beautiful shots.
West End Girl x

Zoƫ said...

I am not a frequent visitor to your blog i must confess, having visited it sporadically on and off for the past two years, but everytime i do chance to "stop by", I always take away something very special with me. Be it inspiration for an outfit, or food for thought, or merely feeling uplifted by how you write. Beautiful concept for a poem, and looking a vision, as ever.

Closet Fashionista said...

Wowza!!! That poem was amazing! And it was actually one that I understood, ha ha. I do love that ;)
And all the shots of you up top are gorgeous. :)

Frocktasia said...

You are totally amazing!
I agree with Zoe, every single time I come here, you blow me away.
Wonderful poem and I love the way you delivered it, injecting such drama into each and every word.
I listen to a lot of audio books when I work and I'm a bit of a "voice snob" if someones voice grates on me I can't listen to the end; your voice however I'd quite happily listen to for hours...Roz' poetry audio book, yes please!

Lacee Swan said...

Love this blog post! and this poem, you really describe what is happening outside the tents!! xx

Izzy/Bella said...

First my comment is going to read like a modernist poem-- my computer broke but only one key isn't working. An important one! I'll let you puzzle it out, but sorry if my comment is a bit oddly worded. I love your recording of a poem. A wonderful idea. I grew up listening to poets as well as reading poetry. You read it perfectly. Very nice intonation and breaks. It's not fair...all poems sound better read by Brits! I've got loads of poems read by Fiennes' bros on my iPod. I also love your natural style. It's so complex but never looks like you're trying. You are a bird of rare plumage. O! And last item I loved about your post: mention of all sorts of great street style sites. I can't wait to go visit all you mentioned!

Rebeccak said...

what a pleasure to hear you read your work! I really enjoyed this. There is something special about hearing an author put voice to their words. The recent 'This American Life' tribute to David Rakoff reminded me of this as he hurried to record his latest book before his death. It was something I hadn't properly appreciated before. I'd love to hear you record more!

Willow said...

I loved this poem! The way you compared photographers to hunters and the subjects to birds - what a perfect comparison. I can very much imagine that's what it would be like: street style photographers chasing down their subjects.

You have a gorgeous voice (as soon as I heard it I was reminded of Keira Knightly's voice.) I want a British accent more than ever now.

An "A room of one's own" penguin notepad - how wonderful!
You look so sweet in all the photos, I love both the outfits - lovely combinations of pink and green.

- Willow

Cassandra Liu said...

Beautiful! You read it with passion! Also love the first outfit so much, simply beautiful!

Natalie Suarez said...

you look beautiful as usual!! love u xx

Ireland Casswell-Clarkson said...

Your cheekbones look absolutely mesmerising in the second picture, I'm in raptures with your poem, it's fantastically original. And not to mention the comparison is very well thought out.
As for the video I believe everyone's voice sounds incredible unlike their own in videos.

Melanie said...

Your hunting analogy and return to the feathers and birds motif is so attuned to this flurry of fashion activity. Your reading is passionate and compelling. Thanks for posting that. I agree that you are truly "one to watch." I went through braces when they were hideous. How exciting it will be when yours are removed - I remember the feeling like yesterday.

Natural said...

Even if it's not your actual voice, it was incredibly beautiful. You really remind me of Keira Knightly - or rather, a role she would play or do a perfect job of playing. Your mouths are quite similar in my opinion!

Tara said...

I agree entirely on the "fascinating" world of street style. In fact, of late, street style photography - as opposed to the rigidy of catwalk and fashion shoot photography - has become a firm favourite of mine. It, I believe, breaks down so many barriers in relation to trends and conventional beauty and makes fashion so much more accessible and fluid.
Also - what a wonderful poem, Roz! I think what "Shooting Party" encaptured best was the intensity on the streets of London during fashion week and your reading heightened this sense of intensity, drama and warmth in such a lovely way.

Best Wishes,


The Cat Who Walked by Herself said...

Love the metaphor!
You made the 'prey' sound like really panicky exotic birds..haha
The bag in the first picture is most scrumptious.On a different and quite unrelated note,I noticed you don't blink!

Much love

Vix said...

You are utterly mesmerising on film, Roz! That poem is astounding, you are always a joy and an inspiration.
I feel you pain with the braces. I had those hideous things that fastened behind my head like cat's whiskers! xxx

Albina said...

cool inpsiring pictures!

Sasha said...

That was a truly amazing poem, I wish I could right like that

Pearl Westwood said...

It seems to have crept up on me this season too. It is hard to put into words how fashion week works but your poem justifies it wonderfully. I will be seeing you soon!

The Lady Nerd said...

What lovely candid photos! I should take notes on you for posing. (Seriously, I wish I could figure out how to make my legs look so long! :P )

A beautiful poem that was, indeed. I can see your love of the written word shining through. And what a lovely voice to accompany it!

Alicia said...

Hello! Your poem is lovely, a wonderful pleasure to listen to and read. Do you mind sharing where you purchased your penguin notebook from?

Alicia (

The Foolish Aesthete said...

You are certainly eye candy for all those lenses!

I wonder how it must feel to be at the receiving end of these firing squads, trigger-happy fingers shooting in rapid succession. I would guess the lovely birds feel nothing more than momentary blindness from popping flash bulbs!

Wonderfully apt poem and it was lovely to see and hear you (nearly) in the flesh. I adore the pink coat. I still use a dark pink coat nearly exactly the same as yours. You have given me an idea on how to give it new life with Chanel buttons. -- J xxx

Lydia said...

FLOORED. I went straight for the video and was mesmerized by your charming lilt and beautiful poem. Verse is definitely your strong suit, and your reading is perfection.

Jean at said...

Now when I read your posts, I hear your voice! That makes is very special and more personal. Lovely.

Your poem is delicious and of course your outfits are divine. One to watch, indeed!

adrielleroyale said...

Ah the poet reciting the poem gives it so much more feeling and romance! Love it!! :)

Fashionistable said...

What a lovely surprise. It is great to see you using the pictures. And to at last see and hear the poem you were busy constructing the last time we ran together come to life. And to life in such a wonderful way in your reading of it. Xxxx said...

Lovely to hear poetry recited - all the more so when the speaker is the poet! Thank you for sharing.
By the way, I wore braces myself. It was totally worth it.

Maya Topadze Griggs (Soccer Mom Style) said...

I really enjoyed hearing your poem. Thanks for sharing it. You're so talented.
Absolutely love what you did with your pink coat. Great idea to revamp a vintage coat with new or fancy vintage buttons. I'm Pinning your look to my list of DIY on pinterest :)
I think this look in pink coat and green dress might be my favorite of yours, although it is very hard to pick a favorite :)

Hope Adela Pasztor said...

Your voice is beautiful! As someone who has been admiring your blog for several years now, it's lovely to watch a video of you "in person". I wish we lived closer together...I just know that we'd have the best of times thrifting, taking pictures in the wilderness, and raving about Kate Bush! Here's to meeting in person someday! =)

EquestrianPrincess said...

You're hair is so beautiful! love love love<3

EquestrianPrincess said...

You're hair is so beautiful! love love love<3