After visiting London in April, I declared that London was my "fashion-city soulmate." Well, the blog of London-based, street-style photographer Anne Bernecker confirms that declaration. Even better, the lovely Anne was so gracious to accept an interview for this post at Passport Smiles. So here it goes...
1) What inspired you to start this blog Fall 2009? Do or did you have a goal in mind for the blog?
I had just left my last job, started working freelance again and also just returned from an amazing detoxing holiday in Thailand. It was a period where I just wanted to do something for myself. I always loved people watching and also taking pictures and to start a Street Style blog just felt like the right thing to do. A project for www.wgsn.com where I was reporting from London Fashion Week and taking pictures was the last stepping stone into just getting on with it!
2) You are located in London. Are you originally from London? If not, where are you from? Why did you move and how long have you resided in London?
I am based in London, but I am originally from Germany. I was studying Fashion Design in Trier/Germany and came to London to do a work placement with some fashion designers. I fell in love with the vibe of the city, wanted to stay on and managed to get into the Fashion Course at Central Saint Martins where I finished my degree. Well and that was all around 15 years ago.
3) What are your favorite things about the fashion of London compared to other major global cities? Where is your favorite place to people watch/ take photographs in London?
I love all the personalities in London. People feel free to express themselves without just following trends or feeling like they have to look the part. This freedom of course is very inspiring. Most of the time I take pictures in East London, just because I live there and feel most connected to the people and vibe.
4) When I look at street style websites, I'm always curious about the play-by-play process of asking some random person if you can take their picture. Do you have any interesting anecdotes? Has anyone flat out refused or been rude? Are you ever nervous about asking?
Yes in the beginning I did find it quite hard to approach people on the street as I am naturally quite reserved with strangers. But it started to get a bit easier, mainly because so far I just had really nice experiences and you can just gain from being open to people. But of course you will hear a "No" from time to time and there are also days, where I just don't feel like approaching someone and then its best to go home again!
5) What have been some of the best benefits of blogging thus far?
Well doing something for yourself which you are passionate about is the best. Also always having a good excuse to go abroad, to festivals and other exciting events.
6) You always post photos of other people. but there are none (to my knowledge) of yourself. How would you describe your personal style?
Yes so far I have not posted a picture of myself. The blog really is more about my view of the world, how I see people rather then presenting myself. I would say my personal style is mixing classic elements with quirky and cool in a modern, reduced and German kind of way.
7) Have you ever been photographed for a street style blog?
Yes, but I can't remember which one.
8) On your website, you list that you are a fashion designer and Trend Consultant. Do you have a personal line? Who have been your favorite designers to work with?
I have been working with a couple of different designers and on different projects and it would be impossible to choose one. Well actually I used to work for my friend Markus Lupfer, so he will be my favourite designer to work for :+)
9) What's the most rewarding and (on the flip-side) the most challenging (or worst) thing about working in the fashion industry?
Well the most rewarding thing is being creative and seeing a collection or just one piece of clothing grow and develop. Of course a fashion Show is always a highlight once you and the fashion press can really see what you have designed. After a show there is always a sense of feeling tired and quite lost as you finished the season. Then everything starts again from scratch.
7) What are some of your favourite bloggers/ websites?
I do like the masters Scott from The Sartorialist, Tommy from Jak&Jil and Hedi Slimane's Diary. Apart from street style blogs I really like photography, so I enjoy the Photodiarist and Monochrome. And Passport Smiles [woohoo!] is great too and Rack and Ruin.
8) My blog "Passport Smiles" was really invented out of my passion for culture and traveling. So, about travel:
A) Where is your favorite place to travel and why?
My favourite place to travel to so far has been Thailand. I think I have been 4 times so far, with my trip to Kho Phanghan last year being the highlight. I did a detox and fasting program with daily yoga and pilates...yes deep down I am quite a Hippy :+) In Europe I always loved Italy where I also used to live twice and I just discovered the beauty of Greece.
B) To where would you love to travel? (somewhere you haven't been).
Next Year I would love to travel to India or Brazil and South America is still on my wish list.
C) Do you speak other languages (I've seen German on your site :) )
Languages, well German is my mother tongue, then English and also Italian.
9) Passport Smiles is also about finding the great places to go when you arrive in an unknown city. When I go to a city, I want to know where "the locals" go. So for London, where are you favorite places to go...
a) Shopping (local boutiques):
For clothes shopping Dover Street Market in town is the best and most inspiring in London. And I always find something at Browns Focus on South Molton Street. Locally in the East End Start Boutique is stocking great Designers like Vanessa Bruno, Sonia Rykiel, Markus Lupfer, See by Chloe, Acne and Margiela.
b) Eat (affordable, not too outrageous in price)
For food locally I go to Bistrotheque, Shoreditch House and The Grocers for a lovely organic vegetarian lunch. Isarn is a great for Thai food and also Basuba Thai.
c) Drinking (cocktails/ beer/etc)
Drinking is mainly locally at the Royal Oak on Columbia Road or the Scolts Head. If I feel like venturing west I usually end up at the Cow in Notting Hill which also does great seafood
d) anything else you want to add
For Art and Photography books I go to Artwords and Donlon Books on Broadway Market. For food locally I go to Bistrotheque, Shoreditch House and The Grocers for a lovely organic vegetarian lunch. Isarn is a great for Thai food and also Basuba Thai.
10) On my blog, I also post a lot about music. I've seen that your photos have recently been at music festivals. What are you favorite bands at the moment?
I am really into Fever Ray at the moment, Laura Marling for a more folky vibe and the Dead Weather for its raw energy.
Thanks again so much to Anne for the interview. Please check out her blog for some great photos!