According to one definition, fashion is the prevailing style or trend, perceived and used by groups of people, in a given timeframe. There are several tendencies in fashion. The “trickle down” effect describes how haute couture and the fashion leaders influence the mass consumer. The “trickle across” effect is a horizontal evolution of fashion in various social groups with leaders influencing their followers’ style. The third possibility is called “trickle up” and it describe the effect of street fashion over designers and haute couture.
In the end of 2007 the first street style website was created in Bulgaria. It’s called Cool Bulgarians and it’s author is Linka Toneva, 24 year-old girl from Sofia. She has a degree in European Studies and Politics and works in a non-governmental organization against corruption.
Linka Toneva’s idea is to present the fashion sense and style of common people, photographed spontaneously on the streets – elegant, extravagant, unusual, surprising. “It’s not just about designer luxury goods, brands and latest trends”, says the author. “The idea of the website is to show how different people perceive themselves through fashion, how they see the world around them, what inspires them, what they like and dislike. I am interested in the way young and creative people dress. And why. I hope that people see style as something separate from designer goods and popular brands. I also disagree with the general understanding that stylish means expensive. I am looking for people who experiment and who are willing to stand out from the crowd in their own very personal way. This could mean, for instance, wearing head-to-toe vintage or second-hand. I recently came across a material by the authors of Copenhagen street style – who were literally displeased with the fact that people in Denmark have too much money and “don’t even flinch when they buy a scarf for 2000 Danish kronor (around 150 dollars)”. Style in fact is a question of interpretation, of your personal sense of fashion. That’s why I try to present the largest possible variety of the styles I capture. I wouldn’t like it if I were too biased, taking pictures of only those styles that I like or I would wear myself. I actually prefer shooting people who are a surprise to me too, people wearing things I wouldn’t dare try on”. Street style websites emerged several years ago and they are a mass phenomenon already. Almost all capital cities in the world have them – New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow. A similar project was developed in Bucharest recently. “It was just a matter of time that someone started such a website in Bulgaria”, says the author of the Bulgarian version. According to Linka people in Bulgaria are still a bit skeptical towards such projects. It’s generally the young people who respond positively. I guess it takes a bit of self-confidence to agree to be taken picture of and displayed to the public. “I am currently shooting almost entirely in Sofia as my job takes a lot of my time and I cannot travel and seek the interestingly dressed people in other Bulgarian cities. I have taken pictures of foreigners though. I am interested in the way they perceive street fashion in Bulgaria, how they have adjusted to it or have not. I hope the project will expand and there will be reporters in the largest Bulgarian cities”. The author is also hoping for more open-minded people on the streets, larger variety of styles and trends, for real vintage shops in Bulgaria where you can buy that 70’s Chanel or Dior handbag. You can access Cool Bulgarians at http://coolbulgarians.blogspot.com.