Eye for Style
Part street style photographer and part ad agency art director, Emma Arnold knows a striking look when she sees it.
Emma Arnold spends her days prowling the streets of Chicago, on the hunt for stylish citizens to photograph for her street style blog, TresAwesome.com. Her ability to capture interesting and perfectly executed street style shots has brought her national recognition in the New York Times and Refinery 29 and, along with it, opportunities as a street style correspondent for Elle and NBC. She has become particularly known for shooting festival fashion, and this year, she’s headed to LouFest in St. Louis (Sept.
7-8) to host the Best Dressed at LouFest contest.
ALIVE: How did you get started shooting street style?
Emma Arnold: The funny thing about my photographs is that when I first got started was they never featured people. I would take pictures of really interesting cracks in a sidewalk or gorgeous vines on a wall, but I wanted to begin incorporating people. Since I have always been obsessed with clothes and fashion, it felt really logical to combine that passion with my desire to begin photographing people.
ALIVE: Can you give us a little bit of history behind the name of your blog?
EA: I actually had a blog before Tres Awesome called “The Clothes You Wear.” I had it online for a month or two and wasn't really taking it seriously, when I decided to Google my blog and found that there was already an established fashion blog with the same name. At that point, I decided it was time to get serious and made a list of names I liked for my blog—everything was taken by other blogs. I had always liked the phrase “Tres Awesome.” The combination of French and English was really cool to me, and I had played around with some artwork around the phrase, so it just seemed perfect for the blog. I still love the phrase and am totally happy that's the name I ended up choosing.
ALIVE: How did you begin branching out and working with brands?
EA: When you are creating interesting content online, you will catch the attention of brands. Companies are constantly on the lookout for content creators. I am an art director at an advertising agency as well, so I see it from the other side—every single idea that we come up with for a client has a section that is specific to engaging influencers and user-generated content. Reaching out to influencers (bloggers, etc.) is just a way that brands think nowadays. I have been really lucky to have been noticed by brands like ModCloth, Madewell and Frye. I have had some great opportunities to shoot with some really cool publications like Elle.com and Teen Vogue, as well.
ALIVE: Who has been your favorite person to photograph and why?
EA: I have shot Ashley Scott, a local Chicago jewelry designer, a lot. She's a beautiful girl with a unique look and a sense of style that's always evolving. She's great at expressing herself through her clothing, which makes hervery easy to capture.
ALIVE: What do you look for when scouting looks for your blog?
EA: I look for a unique perspective—someone who has thought about what they put on that day. One of the most stylish people I have ever seen was a woman outside of thepost office in her postal uniform—she had used the minutia of the uniform to tie in all these additional pieces that she added together. She had red and blue Bic pens strategically placed in her shirt pocket, and her hair was done perfectly…every minisculedetail was thought out. I kick myself to this day for not having my camera on me when I saw her.
ALIVE: Are people typically pretty open to having their picture taken when you approach them?
EA: I have become pretty good at feeling out who will say yes,and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that thepeople I want to shoot want to have their picture taken. They are invested in style and fashion, so they appreciate my interest. It's really exciting that, now that I have been doing this for a while, people have started recognizing me and are happy to be photographed and featured on the blog.
ALIVE: Are the winter months a challenge when it comes to shooting street style?
EA: Chicago winters present opportunities to people with style that theywouldn't necessarily be able to take if the winters weren't as cold as they are. Men, for example, begin to incorporate accessories that they wouldn't normally wear, and women will wear these amazing hats and scarves. Shooting is definitely more grueling during the winter months, but there is a lot of amazing style to be shot during those months.
ALIVE: Aside from street style, you have become well known for shooting music festivals as well. What got you interested in that aspect of street style?
EA: When I first started my blog, one of my goals was to be able to get press passes to music festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza. I have always loved music and attending festivals, so having a purpose while attending these festivals was really appealing to me. I love shooting festivals because people are always so happy, and it's always cool to see the sort of costume element that goes into festival dressing. I have also had the opportunity to meet and photograph a lot of my favorite bands, which is amazing.
ALIVE: You'll be shooting and judging the Best Dressed at LouFest contest this year—any style advice for festivalgoers?
EA: Go with your heart—if you love wearing something, go for it! You know the saying, “Look in the mirror before you leave the house and remove one item”? Don't do that! Pile it all on.
ALIVE: What band are you most excited to see perform at LouFest this year?
EA: I am really excited to see Icona Pop—they have a great sound and amazing style. I really hope I get a chance to photograph them.
Eye for Style
Photo credit: Mallory Talty