Suffice it to say, 2020 street style isn’t what it used to be. With everyone living a WFH life, the idea of getting dressed up and hitting the town just doesn’t resonate for now. But Rei Shito’s new book, Style on the Street: From Tokyo and Beyond, lets us relive the best street style moments of the past decade. Published by Rizzoli, Style on the Street is a comprehensive look at Shito’s global archive.
Shito has chronicled New York, London, Milan, and Paris fashion weeks for 16 years and remains one of the best-dressed and most unmissable photographers outside the shows. “I started shooting in 2004 when Shoichi Aoki, the editor in chief of FRUiTS, asked me to be a street photographer,” Shito says, “suddenly, so it happened.” Since that serendipitous moment, Shito has traveled the world, helping shape the look of contemporary street style photography.
Though the book starts with a self-described “boast”—“I take photos around the globe, and I can’t help but feel that Tokyo is head and shoulders above other cities when it comes to street fashion,” Shito writes—it is a comprehensive look at how the fashionable have dressed for the better part of a decade. “There were many changes over the years. There are times when men’s fashion is more energetic than women’s, and other times on the contrary. There was a movement called Mori-girl in Japan, which was based on the concept of a girl who looks like she is living in the forest, and there were times when normcore was a trend on the other hand,” Shito says. “Sometimes the whole industry is very vigorous and there are times when it’s not. I think the young kids, especially men’s fashion in Tokyo nowadays, is so powerful and fun. They are so passionate about fashion!”
Sorted by trends, the tome cycles through styles from “Pattern on Pattern” to “Hazushi / Zurashi” (Undoing/Shifting) as a means to encourage readers to try the styles themselves. “Throughout street photography, I strongly felt that fashion provides an opportunity to live your ideal life, a life that affirms who you are, and a power to change your life positively,” she says. “I hope that this book will become a way for readers to enjoy fashion.”
As for where street style is headed next, Shito feels as unsure as the rest of us. “I don’t know, to be honest, and I think that may be the reason why I do street photography,” she says. “I want to photograph people on the street for as long as I can; it is my lifelong mission.”
Here, she selects five favorite images from her new book.