This week we chatted with Amy Creyer, a social media consultant and the photographer behind Chicago Street Style. In the latest installment of our interview series, Amy discusses growing up in Greenwich Village and Arkansas, her inspiration behind starting the popular street style blog, and her own personal style.
Twenty Two: Let’s start with the basics. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Amy: I spent my childhood in Greenwich Village Manhattan before moving to Arkansas at age nine. I would definitely say I am a combination of both places. Although I was built to live in a big city like Chicago, I developed an appreciation for rural communities. Growing up in Arkansas, a state with a lot of poverty, taught me to see beyond money in contrast to a place like New York that celebrates wealth.
Twenty Two: Have you always been interested in fashion and photography?
Amy: I’ve been interested ever since I was a child in Manhattan. I have vivid memories of the punks with their spiked hair and studs along with the models, all of whom hung out around NYU where my mom was a business professor. As I grew up I would draw fashion illustrations in elementary school, and I escaped into fashion magazines as a teenager.
This always shocks people; I didn’t appreciate photography until I started my blog two years ago. I trained as an oil painter for three years in high school, so I always assumed photography was for people who weren’t skilled enough to draw. It wasn’t until I picked up a real camera and became serious about improving the quality of my images that I learned how tough photography is to do well.
Twenty Two: What inspired you to start Chicago Street Style?
Amy: I had been a fan of street-style photography ever since I found the Japanese street-style book Fruits at age 14. When I went back to grad school, I finally had the free time to start my own street-style blog. I saw all these well-dressed people on the streets of Chicago all the time, and I wanted to capture them and share their style with the world. Chicago used to have a bad reputation as a fashion city; that’s changing now. People are finally starting to see that Chicago is a very fashionable city.
Twenty Two: When you’re looking for potential subjects, what stands out for you the most?
Amy: Their spirit. I am looking for a certain type of energy. It’s difficult to put into words, but there has to be an internal experience within me for me to approach a person on the sidewalk. I walk past a lot of conventionally “well-dressed” people in Chicago because they don’t interest me. I’m looking for individuals.
Twenty Two: What did you take away the most from working with brands like J Brand and Michael Kors?
Amy: Companies are finally starting to understand why it’s important to view the relationship with their consumers as a two-way street. Before the social media revolution the fashion industry was a very top-down business. Now brands are starting to see why it’s so critical for them to authentically connect to their audience through bloggers like me.
Twenty Two: Do you use any of the same thought processes as a street style photographer and a social media consultant?
Amy: Both require the ability to use non-traditional problem solving techniques and the ability to not only understand, but anticipate what people what.
Twenty Two: How would you describe your own personal style?
Amy: My personal style is a complete mash up and reflects my personality, which is just as multifaceted and complex. I prefer the word “enigma” to describe myself. I have a dark side, exemplified by leather jackets and skulls, but also a bright and optimistic side dominated by neons and bold geometric prints. As a Pisces I also adore dreamlike and ethereal aesthetics, and often find myself purchasing sheer items and neutral, flowy dresses fit for a nymph. When I’m getting dressed, I like the idea that I channel different sides of myself depending on the day. A friend of mine who recently hung out at my apartment told me that she could really see the different sides of my personality in my wardrobe (I converted an entire room to a walk-in closet).
Twenty Two: Where do you find inspiration?
Amy: I look for inspiration on the streets when I’m style hunting. The people who I’ve photographed have influenced me far more than anything else. However, I do read niche fashion magazines like Gentlewoman, Lula, i-D, and mainstream publications like British Vogue and W Magazine for ideas and inspiration.
Twenty Two: How has living in Chicago influenced your work?
Amy: I am constantly thinking of ways to integrate the city’s architecture into my photos. For me, the person who I’m photographing is always at the center of the image, but Chicago is a photographer’s paradise.
Twenty Two: You seem like an active Twitter user. Who are some of your favorite people to follow?
Amy: I love to follow my friend @AskMrMickey, Mickey Boardman of Paper Magazine. He’s cool as hell, side-splitting hilarious, and has a warm heart. I also love Goldman Sachs Elevator because those tweets are always appallingly spot-on for the way financiers think. I worked at a trust and estate financial law firm for a year after college. That was all I could take.
Twenty Two: When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?
Amy: I spend my free time (what little I have) hanging out with my close personal friends. I recharge with them since they loved me before I had the blog, love me today despite the blog, and will love me after the blog. I don’t see that happening with a lot of the people I’ve met through fashion blogging. The public demands of being a successful blogger can be stressful at times and there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that people don’t see.
Twenty Two: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Amy: I don’t know. That’s the beauty of watching life unfold!
A special thanks to Amy for giving us the opportunity to learn more about Chicago Street Style. You can keep up with her by checking out her blog, portfolio, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Click on the images below to see more from Chicago Street Style.
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- Interview: Graham Keegan, Artist
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