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Wearabout: Indian Street Fashion Is Turning Heads

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Manou’s blog Wearabout has turned his curious observations into a popular blog that has turned heads the world over. An intriguing juxtaposition of rich and poor, luxury and functionality but all united by style and beauty...

Manou’s journey started with a girl, the main motivation for his choice to study fashion at the age of 16. This led to a playful relationship with the camera and in 2009 after volunteering in a project in Dharamsala his unique snaps were spotted by a colleague who opened his eyes to the vibrant and eccentric world of street fashion in Tokyo with Shoichi Aoki’s book ‘FRUiTS’. Since then there has been no turning back.

Naturally drawn to colder environments, Manou seems particularly fascinated with areas in the north east of country. “Street fashion, the way people dress up there is very different from other Indian cities,” they seem less affected by stereotypical Bollywood and cricket culture but draw more from Korean pop and American/Japanese music and film as influences.

His technique is very simple. He chooses a place to anchor himself and then observes the world pass him by: “I think it’s just easier technically. Most towns have at least one street area where everybody goes. By being at one spot on such a street for an hour or two, one can pretty much document the essence and spirit of the entire town.”

Needless to say this has often gotten him into trouble. He was once detained and questioned for two hours by police in Aurangabad for taking photos inside the High Court car park; he has been mobbed in a clothes market in Bareilly by excited people wanting their picture taken and has found his way out of a sticky situation or two, always camera in tact.

Manou is genuinely fascinated with street style and capturing what isn’t already documented. The success of his blog shows that he is not the only one intrigued with this view on Indian culture. The V&A in London have invited him to submit photographs for their India Design Now exhibition taking place next year, Burberry have commissioned him on several shoots, and Cobra Beer recently snapped him up to work with them on their recent campaign in India. All of these have been simply because of his blog.

So what’s next for Manou? He has never left India and is currently hatching a plan to visit Tokyo as well as the many other Indian destinations on the agenda.

And for those of you thinking about starting your own blog, Manou has some very practical and wise words: “Use a clean, simple layout. Keep one constant size for the images. Create original content and don't reblog views of mainstream media. Choose your collaborators wisely and with patience. Blog regularly.”

Check Manou out in action below in one of the short docs that recently appeared in the Guardian online as part of their Mumbai city guide:

http://youtu.be/y2AhPZ-e3rA

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21 March 2012