October 3, 2013

Interview | Chic Is The New Punk

Genuinely attracted to fashion, Parisian born Aurelien Violet is the very talented photographer behind street style blog, Chic Is The New Punk. Now working as contributor for Nylon Indonesia, his photographs are a mix of street style and street shooting, taken in countries where he had the chance to travel including Japan, Romania, Indonesia, the UK, Italy...and of course his native Paris. 

Always looking for people with strong charisma and good sense of style, his blog is the perfect reflection of his different passions. Whether it be fashion, traveling or discovering new cultures and new people.

Get to know more about Aurelien and his work through this Interview: 

1) How did your passion for photography first started? Did you have other aspirations before you took the path of fashion photography?

I think I’ve been snapping pictures ever since I was a kid, my dad used to have a very cool Ricoh (that I got now) and I also received several cameras as presents for my birthdays.

In 2007, I started travelling a lot, meeting a lot of  new people, so consequently in 2010 I decided to create a blog in order to share my travel pictures, my outfits for the nights out and finally decided to focus more on street style fashion.

I've always been very passionate about fashion, I’ve worked as a wardrobe consultant before, but my other passions are music (I’m training to DJ, but that’s just a hobby) and basketball. As a matter of fact I was a coach for a few years and I’m keeping a very good memory of it. But when I’ll become older I would like to have my own bar, somewhere cozy where I can have my pictures hanged on the wall.

2) How did you come up with the name Chic Is The New Punk

Unlike the 70s where you had to put on extreme and outstanding outfits to show your disapproval and disapprobation of the society following the example of groups like the Sex Pistols or the Clash, nowadays it’s quite easy to make things move or change when you’re elegantly dressed. When you’re well-dressed doors open up for you. That's the basic idea behind the name « Chic is the new punk ».

Mayu & Yuri 

3) We see several major magazines, freelance photographers and even clothing brands devoting a significant part for street snaps, could you explain this phenomenon?

The street style phenomenon expanded and became popular thanks to internet and photographers such as Scott Schuman, Yvan Rodic or Tommy Ton, but in reality it started quite some time ago. Take a look back in the 50s with Bill Cuningham, he was one of the pioneers in street style photography.

The advantage of internet is that it’s now possible for each of us (and not only for professionals journalists and/or fashion stylists) to show fashion coming from their own country, with the extent it took there was no other alternatives for brands and magazines to include that in their campaigns or pages.

4) The people you choose to snap are all different, which gives a very eclectic and unique feeling to your blog, how do you choose the people you decide to photograph?

It is true that there's a lot of eclecticism in my work, but if you look at it more closely, I think the editorial line is always the same, I look for people with charisma, that have a certain knowledge of fashion and what they wear. I must have a little spark when I meet people.

For example when I'm in Tokyo, I try to represent all styles, and it is only normal that there's a little more eccentricity than in Paris for example, where I'm looking for a more sober look.

My different contacts are also part of my selection. I love to spend time for a simple street style look, but also for real street shooting series with different outfits taking place in different locations.

Kozue Akimoto 

5 ) Who was the person you loved photographing the most? Any "coup de coeur"?

There are a lot of series that I love and I would not denigrate one over the other. I will mention two of the most recent in Tokyo, the bloggers and designers Mayu & Yuri, that I photographed somewhere a bit far from Harajuku, in a tourist district of Tokyo, and also Kelly-Ann, a young Japanese/American, that I met last year during a street style shooting, we kept in touch and I was able to photograph her several times this year including during her shooting for Japanese brand Gyda .

I love all the work that I've done so far and that can be seen on citnp, but if I feel like the end result of a photoshoot was not good, I will not post it.


6) How would you describe your personal style?

As I grew older, I started dressing in a more conventional manner (suit, tie, bow tie) even though I love wearing a good pair of Jordans from time to time.

I would say my own look is a mix of Mad Men and Beastie Boys, I also love the 60s look, a mix of Motown and English mods. Twisted with a passion for retail clothing.

Also music has a great influence on my look, I would dress differently in the morning if I listened to Joy Division, Sinatra or Kanye West.

But here's a funny little story that happened to me recently, I thought I was dressed in a classic way, you know...Mad Men style, and as I was walking in the street I heard some young kids comparing me to Justin Timberlake...That made me laugh a lot!

Alisa Ueno

7 ) How is a typical day in your shoes? Do you always have your camera on you to not miss the opportunity to capture people with a unique style?

In the morning , I do everything that has to do with public relation, I respond to messages or send emails to organize street shootings, then in the afternoon I walk from one neighborhood to another to find interesting looks and people.

I always have my camera on me to make sure I'm not going to miss anyone, thanks to this, I was able to shoot Terry Richardson at the airport in Tokyo or Alizee in Paris .

Nylon Indonesia

8) What was your biggest accomplishments so far?

My achievements were made ​​by steps, there was the first fan mail, the first interviews with other bloggers and journalists, the first invitations for fashion week, and then my first publication on Nylon magazine Indonesia.

My collaborations with Japanese brands like Gyda, or American Apparel Japan where I had the chance to photograph their employees.

Finally, this year I had my first exhibition in partnership with Mam shop AvantGarde located in Harajuku, it was great to see all these people taking their time to come and see my work.

My ultimate goal is to have my work and my citnp collection of polaroid (orlpresentspola.tumblr.com ) published.

9) You participated in several important collaborations, what would you be the ultimate collaboration?

As I just mentioned, Nylon, American Apparel , that was already something for me, the ultimate dream would be to work with brands that I love such as Brooks Brothers, Fred Perry, Paul Smith, Tom Browne, LV...or have my own Nike shoe ( I can already imagine the Nike Air CITNP!). And of course with other magazines in different countries.

10) One person in particular that you would love to photograph?

I already had the chance to meet many celebrities, Jessica Alba , Amy Winehouse, Terry Richardson ...I would love to photograph the Olsen sisters or President Obama.

I would have also liked photographing people such as Otis Redding, Steve McQueen, Serge Gainsbourg...These people with a strong charisma and career.

11) What was the city where you found the most inspiring people? Which city would you like to go and snap pictures? 

While I'm in Tokyo, which I love and where I go between 3 and 6 months each year, there is always a new place and/or new people to photograph.

For my future trips, I would like to go in the Nordic countries (Sweden , Norway, Denmark), in South America and also meet the "Sapologue" from Congo.

12 ) Chic Is The New Punk in a few words:

Be nice and open-minded (and a little rebellious) .

13) Any final words?

Thank you very much , I hope to see you soon!


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