Bill Cunningham: An Unexpected Sartorial Soul


If anyone knows best about the fashion world, it’s Bill Cunningham. And if you don’t know who that is, you’ve seriously been missing out.

Bill Cunningham is an 85-year-old fashion photographer who roams the sidewalks of New York City, capturing life through the street style of ordinary people. In his trademark blue coat, Bill has used his lens to mold the perception of fashion into something that is more than just labels and price tags.

The Harvard dropout is a simple and humble gentleman who is unfazed by wealth or status, and unbelievably passionate about his work. Every Sunday he compiles a collage of his photographs for the New York Times where he highlights trends and popular styles of the week, focusing on how people take a trend and make it their own.

For those who don’t receive the paper, his finds are recapped in short video clips on the New York Times website, and the excitement in his voice when talking about these styles might be the cutest thing you’ll hear all week. Bill has spent many years informing us with his favorite snaps of influential style, doing so in a way that only suggests his interpretation while allowing others to experience it for themselves.

Bill Cunningham embodies everything that I love about fashion. He speaks his mind regardless of popular opinions, forges his own path and offers an honest depiction of how the everyday people of New York take fashion into their own hands. While he may wear the same blue jacket everyday, his excitement for the individuality of others and love for fashion and style is contagious. He’s loyal to his love for fashion and determined to share it with others. For this, Bill Cunningham is a model of the purest and most genuine outlook on the modern world of fashion, and an inspiration for us all.

A link to his inspiring and influential documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, can be found here and is also available on iTunes and Netflix.

And of course, the link to his video feed for the New York Times.

So, if you’re looking for a mid-week sartorial inspiration, Bill is the place to turn.

“The wider world has perceived fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armor to survive everyday life,” Cunningham said. “I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”