Street style, or photographs of ‘real’ people doing everyday things in ‘ordinary’ clothes, inspires me for its extraordinary diversity and true individuality. The best street style celebrates people who really stand out because they dress in some unique way, whilst at the same time remaining ‘stylish’ — at least in the eyes of the photographer. By Sonya Leusink Sladen. Photography by Jaymee Morrison.

We are individuals
Amber Groves
Amber Groves
Adam Cohn
Adam Cohn
Annie James and Cleo
Annie James and Cleo
Francesca Morton
Francesca Mor­ton

For years now I have fol­lowed the likes of Inter­net-based blog­gers Scott Schu­man of The Sar­tori­al­ist, Yvan Rod­ic of Face­hunter and Tommy Ton from These street style pho­to­graph­ers have an eye for find­ing that spe­cial some­thing about the men and women of some of the world’s big cit­ies. Each blog­ger has a slightly dif­fer­ent point of view and inter­pret­a­tion of what makes for great style, and their images provide me with a con­stant stream of inspiration.

Wel­ling­ton pho­to­graph­er Jay­mee Mor­ris­on has taken the concept of street style a step fur­ther with her New Zea­l­and-wide pro­ject We Are Indi­vidu­als. She has been doc­u­ment­ing the style of Wel­ling­to­ni­ans who dress with ori­gin­al­ity and pas­sion for some time and I caught up with her to find out more.

What is We Are Indi­vidu­als?

We Are Indi­vidu­als is a pho­to­graph­ic doc­u­ment­a­tion of people who dress with a strong sense of iden­tity. I stud­ied for three years (Bach­el­or of Applied Arts) at The Photo School in Rau­mati on the Kāpiti Coast. We Are Indi­vidu­als is a pro­ject I began dur­ing my third year. I am grate­ful to have had Pro­fess­or Tony Whin­cup as my tutor through­out this year. The pro­cess he taught our class changed my think­ing as a pho­to­graph­er and shaped this pro­ject into what it is today.

Harris Paris
Har­ris Paris
Kirsty McKay
Kirsty McKay
Kristelle Plimmer and Josephine Lala
Kris­telle Plim­mer and Josephine Lala

Where did the idea come from?

While I was study­ing we were asked to estab­lish a ‘ques­tion’ of interest. My ques­tion was ‘How do we dif­fer­en­ti­ate ourselves?’. This formed the basis of a major body of work.

I’ve always felt pas­sion­ate about fash­ion. I knew that I wanted this to be a key theme in my work. I star­ted research­ing dif­fer­ent types of fash­ion in sub­cul­tures, fash­ion his­tory and unique trends. I star­ted noti­cing how people dif­fer­en­ti­ated them­selves through fashion.

Dur­ing the devel­op­ment stage I was influ­enced by a num­ber of street style blogs like The Sar­tori­al­ist, Humans of New York and Advanced Style. I estab­lished that I wanted a street style aes­thet­ic in my portraits.

How is it sim­il­ar to or dif­fer­ent from oth­er street style initiatives?

The main dif­fer­ence between my work and oth­er street style pro­jects is that my images are taken in loc­a­tions sig­ni­fic­ant to each per­son, as opposed to spon­tan­eous por­traits taken on the street. Once I find a per­son to pho­to­graph I inter­view them, estab­lish a loc­a­tion that suits their iden­tity and then take their por­trait. The pro­cess is more personal.

Tess Norquay
Tess Nor­quay

What is the sig­ni­fic­ance of indi­vidu­al­ity? Why ‘indi­vidu­als’?

I first began research­ing fash­ion in sub­cul­tures and real­ised that people in New Zea­l­and don’t seem to belong to one par­tic­u­lar sub­cul­ture any­more. Fash­ion is influ­enced by a num­ber of these groups and one per­son can style from mul­tiple sub­cul­tures. The idea of doc­u­ment­ing sub­cul­ture felt too broad and undefined for me. This is why I decided to focus on the individual.

We are all indi­vidu­als and how we choose to show this through our cloth­ing var­ies from per­son to per­son. I do believe that we all par­ti­cip­ate in fash­ion on some level. We make indi­vidu­al choices as to what clothes we wear.

What can you say about ‘Wel­ling­ton style’ or how your sub­jects regarded the way they dress?

I feel like I have covered a broad range of styles from Wel­ling­ton. I didn’t focus on one par­tic­u­lar age group which meant that I got to meet a lot of people. Those who I pho­to­graphed were really sup­port­ive and inter­ested in tak­ing part, for some it was a new experience.

I am drawn to the people I pho­to­graph because they express more than just a fash­ion state­ment. They aren’t afraid to be them­selves and speak con­fid­ently about what style they like. I enjoy hear­ing about what col­ours they would and wouldn’t wear, the pat­terns they are drawn to, the type of fit in gar­ments they prefer and their influences.

Roxan Coerrers
Rox­an Coerrers
Clare Christian
Clare Chris­ti­an
Suzanne Tamaki (1)
Suz­anne Tamaki

What can you say about your own style?

This pro­ject has had a huge influ­ence on my own indi­vidu­al style and con­fid­ence. I feel inspired by these people there­fore I am con­stantly evolving.

I like being noticed as look­ing present­able and a little unique. I love new and pre-loved cloth­ing. I love dress­ing up every day and hav­ing a ward­robe full of clothing.

Is fash­ion and style import­ant to you?

Fash­ion has always been import­ant to me. It’s a part of my life­style and devel­op­ment as a young woman. It’s import­ant for self-expres­sion. I also think there is poten­tial to be ori­gin­al when it comes to the fash­ion industry.

Where can we find out more about what you do?

Over the next two or three years I’d like to con­tin­ue tak­ing these por­traits all over New Zea­l­and and post­ing them to my blog. Even­tu­ally I’d like to pub­lish a book with a selec­tion of the por­traits and inter­views. I’d also like to exhib­it the work at some point.

Jaymee’s web­site,, fea­tures the We Are Indi­vidu­al series and her port­fo­lio. You can also ‘like’ her Face­book page,

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