Socialite Olivia Palermo, Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko, model Frida Gustavsson—these are just some of the fashion heavyhitters that Jason Jean, founder of the blog Citizen Couture, has worked with. Loved for its street-style photos, Citizen Couture has helped change the conversation about media in the fashion industry.
Jean, an American-born Taiwanese based in New York, first started Citizen Couture in 2009 as an outlet for artistic expression. At the time, he was working as an accountant but found time to squeeze in shoots of Fashion Week in New York. His interest in art and clean design started at an early age. “I used to sketch a lot when I was younger,” Jean says. These days, he says, “I love to find people on the street and capture them in that moment. Although I consider myself an introvert at times, I find street photography very refreshing and real. Meeting people and seeing how the clothes they wear come alive always intrigues me.”
The title of Jean’s blog, Citizen Couture, came during a moment of inspiration and represents his knack for capturing fashion in everyday settings. In each impeccably designed blog post, he showcases a portrait shot that shows a person with an ensemble of their choice—a style which has become his signature trademark. The design of the blog, with a portrait image, has become his signature.
Not surprisingly, Jean’s a firm believer in quality over quantity, and many of his posts feature the smallest details and design elements. “I’m more focused on the photography aspect of it, documenting people and fashion,” he says of his philosophy. “Blogging is a great way to reach the public, but I probably won’t be able to write an entire excerpt on a trend.”
As a part-time fashion blogger, Jean juggles a number of different projects. “I’m fortunate that my day job allows me to take time off for assignments and travels, but I always feel that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Being organized and able to prioritize task helps me manage my day job and blogging.”
With bloggers like Jean on the rise, there’s no argument that new media is helping to reinvent the fashion industry. Many bloggers have sat in the front row at fashion shows and consulted with designers. They can connect to readers and give voice to a new generation of fashion lovers. Social media in particular has been a powerful role in this, Jean believes. “The fashion industry isn’t necessarily more exclusive to a certain group of people, but we’re seeing it becoming smarter and opening the doors to the public by collaborating with style bloggers and individuals inside and outside of the industry.”
Along with his work on Citizen Couture, there are a few exciting projects on Jean’s horizon, like working with Allure magazine. Of course, none of this happened overnight. He encourages aspiring fashion bloggers to network with others in the fashion industry to remember that, at the end of the day, it’s still a business and you need to connect with people in order to get exposure. But most importantly, Jean believes that one of the biggest things that pushed him to learn and grow was to take on new challenges. It might have been said before, but Jean will say it again: “Remember to get out of your comfort zone!”