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Explainer: Ready for your close-up?

Ready for your close-up?

Should you ever find yourself ambling down the street and suddenly accosted by someone who tells you they "love your style," you may soon show up on a new local street style blog. Explainer strikes a pose for MTL Street.

1 Meet Isabelle Hayes, a 25-year-old Montrealer about to begin fashion school. She is co-founder of the three-week-old blog MTL Street (http://mtlst.blogspot.com). Hayes started it with David-Alexandre (no last name given) after they met in La Gaillarde, a clothing store he works at, and began talking about street style. The pair were inspired by sites like The Commodified in Vancouver and others around the world that catalogue the unique style of people on the street. Hayes, David-Alexandre and a photographer named Leah now scour the city to bring Montreal street style to the world. "We look for people wearing lots of colours and who are original in the way they dress," she says. "The recipe is to get a good shot of the person from head to toe, preferably in daylight. The first thing we say when we approach them is, ‘We like your style.’ Sometimes the person is really flattered, but a couple of times a person said ‘Get away from me.’" Fortunately, she says, that doesn’t happen too often.

2 Hayes likes to rock a little colour (as is the case with her leggings and socks here), and that’s what often attracts her to people on the street. The other necessary element is confidence. "People who are dressed the best believe in what they’re wearing," she says. "To us it really shows your personality without even talking. I try to dress fun every day." Hayes says the trio will attempt to hit different neighbourhoods all over the city to capture different people and styles. "We go to Ste-Catherine, St-Denis, St-Henri, Verdun, Hochelaga. We don’t want to discriminate or just focus on the Plateau where all the hipsters are." The site attracted a little over 5,500 hits in its first few weeks and as of this writing had 50 photos and mini-profiles of stylish Montrealers. You could be next. "We want to inspire people in Montreal and around the world and show that we have style," she says.

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  13 comments

  • by Peter Paul - April 26, 2007, 2:21 pm

    ever seen the book fruits? If you haven’t well maybe you should, no, you have to see it. A similar style, showing the wonderful outfits dawned by locals in Japan. Of course Montreal needs it’s own book of stylish fashionistas since this city is packed in with beautifully well dressed people.

  • by Ariane Lasalle - April 26, 2007, 2:27 pm

    Isabelle lives with her mom and grand-mom, and all I can say is that we benefit from her extraordinaire sense of style. We are always complimented on what we wear, Izzy has a critical eye!! Hope she goes far, she deserves it, she will be a super stylist, anyone needing fashion tips, well, you know who to ask!

    This article is great and we are very proud.

  • by Charles Montpetit - April 26, 2007, 3:40 pm

    It’s kind of a pity that so many individuals crave other people’s approval of the way they dress, and are compelled to imitate what they see elsewhere (including Isabelle’s website, I’m afraid) in order to feel validated. Besides, the vague concept of “style” varies so much from one person to the next that telling someone “I like your style” is often just a shortcut for “You happen to match my random criteria (as opposed to the guy standing next to you, who obviously has no style since I personally disapprove of his clothing choices).” In that sense, the idea of showing the world that an entire city like Montreal has style is a bit presumptuous, isn’t it? Will we ever stop passing judgment and let people dress however they fucking please?

  • by Ruxandra Niculescu - April 26, 2007, 6:11 pm

    I have been waiting for a site like this forever!
    I’m so glad Isabelle Hayes had this idea. I’m a regular on sites like The Sartorialist or Face Hunter, but I was quite disappointed that a site like this had not yet popped up in Montreal. We are a very fashionable city and I’m sure that this site is gonna represent what Montreal fashion is all about.
    I’ve come to notice that I have actually seen some of the people on this site on the street. Anyways, I think this is a great initiative and I wish the best of luck to the creators of the blog.

  • by Francisco Uribe - April 26, 2007, 11:46 pm

    I do like colorful clothing. But, Fashion? One of the themes and topics least dear to my heart. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn how cool or drab your style is. My philosophy is be clean and dress for the weather, and don’t shiver & complain that you’re cold if you’re not wearing a hat and your belly button’s showing. I read this article on the bus, and was a little miffed by the line “Hayes likes to rock a little colour (as is the case with her leggings and socks here)…” Fact is the paper copy of Hour has color only on the cover and in a few of the pricier ads. So in the illustration Ms Hayes was all-smiles in black & grey. Does this mean that to get the full experience of your articles we MUST go on-line? What kind of message does that convey to those who buy ads in your publication? I usually enjoy Explainer, but this was a less-than inspired topic.

  • by David St Pierre - April 27, 2007, 3:33 pm

    Montreal fashionistas take note – you’re going to be targeted! Great idea – after all, Montreal has a distinctive fashion flair – whether it be high-end couture or the more bohemian layered aesthetic – Motrealers take pride in how they dress up and dress down and we’re not just talking about the folks in Montreal’s more trendy neighbourhoods like Westmount, Mile-End, and le Plateau but St-Henri, the Point, and Verdun (my ‘hood!) too!

  • by Anny Truong - April 28, 2007, 1:04 am

    I enjoy looking at urban/street style and try to get ideas to make it my own. Finally, someone else out there is an anti-conformist! I hate it when everyone becomes a total trend whore and over do it to the extreme to look like everyone else. Oh yeah, hipsters definitely have an individual kind of style. I’ve read a kind of book at Urban Outfitters about street styles before, you guys should definitely check it out.

  • by Stephen Talko - April 29, 2007, 8:54 pm

    It is too sad that many students have to wear school uniforms so that they will look all alike. It is hard to develop a fashion sense growing up when you are resigned to wearing the same outfit every day. If students could be trusted to put on clean pressed clothes instead of torn and faded ones their parents could provide more latitude. Even many employees these days such as in industries that deliver mail and parcels have to wear the company uniform. Lawyers wear their black robes and doctors their white coats. The police wear blue and soldiers green khaki. Those people photographed on the fashion website should consider themselves very lucky.

  • by Reuven De Souza - April 30, 2007, 10:47 am

    I cannot stop looking at that terrific smile of Isabelle Hayes. Unlike my fellow stylish Montrealers I have the awful tendency to dress like I am always going to work except weekends when jeans are de rigeur. I may have to dress at least half as well as my contemporaries if I am to even be considered to be stopped by the seeming effervescent Ms Hayes!

  • by Mark St Pierre - May 1, 2007, 10:38 pm

    Sure Montreal is renowned for it’s unassailable and cooler than thou fashion sense. We’re known far and wide for our unique fashion aesthetic and so this website makes perfect sense. If people are hoping to emulate the Montreal look, then they’ll know where to go and for us Montrealers, it’ll be really interesting to see the variance in fashion from one district to another.

  • by Pedro Eggers - May 7, 2007, 4:23 pm

    Dude, if anybody ambles down the street and suddenly accosts me and tells you they “love your style” I’d friggin’ deck them, tell them to bugger off or if I’m feeling particularly charitable, ignore them. Do I give a crap what other people think about me? My friends and family, sure, but anyone else? That’s just too much senseless noise in my life. I don’t know if I’ve got a specific style besides the basic need to be comfortable. If someone else likes it, then bully for them.

  • by Rob Postuma - May 8, 2007, 7:38 pm

    If someone stopped me on the street, and told me that they “loved my style” – I somehow doubt I’d take them seriously if they wanted to take pictures and post it on their blog. If it was a magazine or newspaper MAYBE, but somehow blogging still seems kind of like masturbation to me – it’s fun to do, a lot of people do it, but no one takes it that seriously – it’s not as good as the “real” thing.

  • by Daudi Saidi - May 9, 2007, 8:44 pm

    Good idea to showcase what Montreal has to offer in the fashion dept. I have seen similar projects(websites) for different cities and I love it. It gives me ideas on styles so I’m not left far behind fashion wise. But, just wondering do they have a say in deciding what is the colour for this summer? If they don’t, I think they should.

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