On Saturday, June 25 the fashion community lost Bill Cunningham, a photographer known for cultivating street-style into cultural anthropology. He was hospitalized from a stroked, and was pronounced dead two days later by the New York Times.
His work could be traced back to the 70’s, and archived in his “On the Street” news columns of the New York Times. Here he would keep track of changes in clothing, with a distinctive and pure interest. “The best fashion show is on the streets. Always has been. Always will be.” His approach was patient, and honest, “ I don’t decide anything. I let the street speak to me, and in order for the street to speak to you, you’ve got to stay out there and see what it is.”
His photos were compelled with stories that were real. He believed that the clothes were the main focus, and inspiration for his photography, an enlightened viewpoint used to understand the fashion industry and role in everyday life. “The point is that fashion is armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”
Bill Cunningham could be spotted by New Yorkers wearing his conspicuous blue workman jacket doing what he did best, reporting fashion. Bill Cunningham’s legacy as photographer and reporter of style will forever live on, and continue to pave the way for those to follow.