Don’t Call It Street Style – Dec. 30, 2017


This year, 21 photographers captured the ways we present ourselves to the world.

the look

Clockwise from top left: Jake Michaels for The New York Times; Andre D. Wagner for The New York Times; Daniel Arnold for The New York Times; Rose Marie Cromwell for The New York Times

In a photograph by Sara Hylton, a confident woman stands in profile for a portrait. Wearing a patterned shirtdress and gleaming brass jewelry, she exudes style. What is not immediately apparent is that the picture was shot in South Sudan, a young, war-torn country where even carrying a camera in public is dangerous.

In this moment, though, the conflict is quiet; commanding the frame is Akuja de Garang’s self-possession, her unbroken spirit. What you see and what surrounds the subject are two seemingly contradictory stories, raising the question of how content and context inform each other.

Before the South Sudanese Civil War broke out, Akuja de Garang, 41, would organize fashion shows and markets. But even in wartime, she believes that style is essential. “We all have to wake up in the morning and get dressed,” she said. “Whatever is happening, life has to go on.”Sara Hylton for The New York Times

Over the past year, for The Look, I have assigned 21 photographers around the globe, including Andre Wagner, who navigated the streets of New York, capturing moments that celebrate race and community; Rose Marie Cromwell, who documented Latino culture in Cuba, Colombia and Panama; and An Rong Xu, who explored the hip-hop style of B-boys in South Korea.

The column features a rich perspective that examines style, identity and culture.

In the photo essay by Ms. Hylton, style tells a larger story about pride in South Sudan. Self-expression acts as a way to maintain a sense of normalcy in a place where there is constant conflict. The column will continue to uncover a diverse range of stories that are amplified, or hidden, by the way people present themselves in the world. Here are highlights from The Look in 2017.

Andre D. Wagner for The New York Times

How to take on winter in New York.

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