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Free Content Shooting street style in Indonesia: A photo essay

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Street-style blogs have become a major Internet phenomenon in the last few years, luring millions of readers and documenting everyday fashion in diverse cities around the globe. But the Southeast Asian island nation of Indonesia, despite an abundance of other varieties of fashion blogs and a population with some of the highest percentages of social media use in the world, remains decidedly off the street style map. This photo essay seeks both to understand why and to begin filling in that gap. Through full-colour and black and white photographs taken by the author on a recent trip to Indonesia, along with reflections and thoughts inspired by the photographs, it investigates the vibrant and idiosyncratic expressions of style happening in Indonesia today. But it also questions the very qualification of these images as ‘street style photographs.’ Does street style have to happen on ‘the streets’, this essay asks, to be street style? For if so, Indonesia’s urban model seems to preclude participation. And does ‘cool,’ that occult quality ascribed to the subjects of street style photographs, translate to an Indonesian context? This essay both adheres to, and calls into question, the conventions of street style photography to document the myriad meanings of ‘style’ and ‘street’ in contemporary Indonesia.
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Keywords: Indonesia; blogs; fashion; photography; street style

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Drexel University

Publication date: 2013-10-01

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  • We all wear clothes. We are all therefore invested at some level in the production and consumption of clothing. This journal intends to embrace issues and themes that are both universal and personal, addressing [and dressing] us all. Increasingly, as we all become accomplished semioticians, clothing becomes the key signifier in determining social interaction and behaviour, and sartorial norms dictate socio-cultural appropriateness. Following the rise of fashion theory, on an everyday level, we all understand that our clothes 'say' something about us, about our times, nation, system of values. Yet clothing is not fashion; clothing is a term derivative from 'cloth', to cover the body, whereas fashion alludes to the glamorous, the ephemeral and the avant garde. We wear clothes, but imagine fashion-an unattainable ideal.
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