In India, street-style photography is still a new idea. One person who has been able to capture the true style from the streets of India is Manou in his blog Wearabout. Based in Mumbai, Manou has a nonchalant approach towards fashion. His shutter clicks are based on instinct, while most of his subjects have never heard of Fashion Week or even a mass luxury brand like Gucci or Louis Vuitton before. The result is a unique and varied compilation of Indian style.
How & when did you start street-style photography?
In 2009, I was volunteering in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala at an NGO - teaching English, basic computer skills, and Photoshop to monks and local Tibetans. On weekends I'd have nothing to do, so I'd sit on the streets and take photos for hours. That's when and how I started. I did that for about 4 months...oblivious to any kind of fashion blogs.
Where do you go to shoot stylish and fashionable looks in India?
I have not gone specifically anywhere to shoot fashion as such. I went to cities that I thought I'd like to stay in for a while and ended up photographing street fashion. By trendy if you mean urban crowd, then in Bombay I'd say Bandra & Colaba.
How do you feel Indian style differs from other places?
I'm not sure if a certain style can be particularly termed as Indian. However to stereotype you could say here we have women in saris with bindi+bling and men in kurta/pajamas & in various variations of the same - and that is different from other countries + it's a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society so almost each state has people who follow different traditions, speak different languages, & have different styles of dressing. Not sure if that exists in any other country at such big scale.
Do you feel Indian style has changed for the better or worse over the past 5 years?
I'm not sure if I can correctly comment on this. I've only been following fashion a bit seriously for last 6 months.
What is the element of a person?s style that catches your attention first? Example: colors, silhouettes, beauty...
Colors could be the first thing. But I guess it's the overall look-from head to toe.
What was your first brush with ?street style photographer? claim to fame?
Being shortlisted for British Vogue's Gen-next street style photographer & Elle India featuring me in their power list.
Do you shoot only street style images? What is about street style that you like the most?
I shoot a lot of other stuff...however what goes on the blog is mostly street style.
Tell us about your association with Bungalow 8.
Association with Bungalow 8 was amazing; we shared the same aesthetics, and I personally like both Maithili and Mathieu. So far I've worked with them twice. I shot their A/W 10 lookbook & then a few months later I did a street style project for them-documenting men's fashion in Bombay which was presented along with their men's wear line earlier this year in April.
Mathieu Gugumus-Leguillon of Bungalow 8
What according to you is the main difference between a metropolitan city style and country style?
Metro city style in India seems to be influenced by fashion magazines, films, celebrities, internet etc. It Seems a little forced & everybody looks the same. While a non-urban/poor class style is more inconsistent, unexpected, and free from all these modern influences - and I like that.
What are your favorite places to shoot in India?
Shillong, Jodhpur, Mcleod, Salem? I liked them because of the reason stated in one of the answers above- "...style in these cities is more inconsistent, unexpected, and free." And I'm not looking at anything in particular from any place. I think it is kind of obvious if you go to a city that has strong cultural traditions, untouched countryside, architecture that you'd find a lot to like. The people, the food, streets, clothes? I also went to these places for the first time and so wasn't really expecting anything. If I go visit them again after 5 years then I might have some notions of what I want to shoot & maybe subconsciously draw comparisons with whatever I've shot previously.
How would you describe your own style?
Umm...simple I think? I'm not sure.