The Big Business Of Street Style Bait

by MR Magazine Staff

It is Fashion Week, and I am crouching behind an overflowing rubbish bin, trying to make myself invisible. I’m hiding so I can avoid getting in the shot of Zanita Whittington, who is on a mission to do the exact opposite. Pretty in a way that unnerves average humans and wearing a leopard-spotted silk dress that floats behind her as she walks, Whittington tries to make herself appear like the only person in the world. And it’s working. Photographers swarm her as she takes her time crossing a busy intersection. She graciously acknowledges a traffic guard yelling at her to mind the cars while completely ignoring him as well. “WATCH YOURSELF!” he barks, as she peers over her shoulder at the cameras, watching them as they’re watching her. While most people think Fashion Week is about the runway shows, there’s an alternative industry that happens outside on the streets that’s often at odds with and scoffed at by the fashion establishment. It’s one Whittington has been inhabiting for nine years. As one of the most established influencers on the scene (she was on one of the last covers of Lucky magazine in 2015, along with fellow bloggers Chiara Ferragni and Nicole Warne), Whittington boasts 354k followers on Instagram and has expanded her blog with an online-learning platform for digital creatives, Azalle. But the bulk of Whittington’s business is based on convincing others that her style is something worth paying for. The photos being taken of her will eventually populate street style slideshows and fashion trend pieces for the next few months, and eventually lead to paid deals that’ll oftentimes feed images. And although each photo will appear as if the photographer captured a candid moment of a woman mid-step, most moves are practiced. Read more at Refinery 29.