A bespectacled hipster sporting facial hair almost as woolly as his cardigan. An ever-so-fey Asian boy, his sleek, hairless legs on show in tiny shorts and metal-studded loafers.
An impossibly gorgeous Zoolander type, pouting proudly in oversized stripey pants with a dramatically cinched waist.
If you thought these examples of fearless fashion had come from a catwalk or downtown Soho, think again. These men are all on the streets of Sydney — and on photographer/blogger Matt Jordan’s love letter to male fashion, The Style Tyrant.
Jordan, who first gained attention as the sharp-tongued voice of women’s shoe blog Imelda, started Style Tyrant last year after Sony lent him an SLR digital camera and allowed him free rein to follow his passion for fashion.
“There just isn’t a lot online that examines men’s fashion. After four years of talking about women’s shoes, I wanted to try something different, and it felt like there was a gap in the market for a look at men’s street style,” he told Sydney Star Observer.
It was also, he admitted, born partly out of revenge.
“I wanted to prove my now-ex-partner wrong. We’re both from Melbourne, and he’d always bang on about how there’s no style in Sydney, which I just refused to believe. Sure, there are a lot of badly dressed men around, but I knew there were stylish men out there too.”
And how. The men Jordan documents are an eclectic bunch, with their only uniting feature being their complete individuality.
“I find it really fascinating how men engage with fashion. For most guys, during the week it’s a suit and on the weekend it’s jeans and a T-shirt. Finding people who go beyond that interests me.”
Jordan said he often spends the whole day in search of that one perfect shot.
“That’s why I’m not blogging every day, because guys like that are few and far between. When the weather allows it, I spend a couple of hours just wandering the streets,” he said.
“I know what I’m looking for. I could spend hours in Surry Hills photographing the same guys with that skinny jeans, Surry Hills/Paddington look — it’s the same in Melbourne. But that doesn’t interest me.”
As someone who’s lived in both cities, Jordan seems more than qualified to weigh in on the Sydney vs Melbourne debate. He was diplomatic, but conceded that our southern brothers had the upper hand.
“Look, collectively, men in Melbourne are much better dressed. But what you find in any city in the world is some people who are so cutting-edge they’re on the bleeding edge of fashion; people who want to push the boundaries.
“There tend to be more of those guys in Melbourne, although of course they’re around in Sydney too.
“But then there are also so many of those same indie-looking guys in both Melbourne and Sydney, it’s almost like they’ve been cloned. That ‘hipster uniform’. It makes you think, Jesus, how many of you are there?”
What Jordan finds more inspiring are the men who don’t dress for others, but for themselves. Those who look just as glam doing their grocery shopping as they would at a big red carpet event.
“I actually try to steer clear of fashion events,” he said.
“The people there are dressed to impress, which can come across as a little forced. It’s not what street style is about — it’s about crossing paths with someone in their day-to-day life, when they’re off to the post office or picking up a carton of milk.”
Jordan’s background is in trend forecasting, that oddest of professions in which impossibly trendy people decide what we’ll be wearing a year from now.
He said he had unearthed a few emerging fads during his time combing the streets.
“I pick up on micro-trends. I’ve discovered this collective of ’80s-inspired cock-rockers. I know there’s a nest of them somewhere in Sydney… I love those boys the most because they just put so much effort into their look. Shellacking the hair to get it that big must take about an hour and a half every morning.”
Even when dealing with poodle-haired retro rockers, Jordan’s tone remains completely non-judgemental, and he will also censor reader posts if some use the anonymity of the internet as an excuse to get nasty.
“It has to be [non-judgemental]. The whole photographing experience usually happens in about two minutes, and you then have a duty to that person to not be judgemental about their outfit. I wouldn’t put someone on Style Tyrant just to tear them apart.”
With this ever-growing catalogue of stylish Sydney men, it seems natural some would get their own admirers. Jordan admitted some comments on the site left little to the imagination.
“I photographed this guy called Azaria, and I had no idea he was the lead singer of [Sydney rock band] The Art. Some girl made a comment underneath his photo that she wanted to ‘track him down and let him fuck her in any hole, or tear her a new one’, ” he laughed.
“Sometimes I get emails about guys that I’ve posted too; people ask me for their contact details. What am I, Dolly Levi?”
Surely there’s an untapped revenue stream there — Style Tyrant as online matchmaker?
“You could be on to something. Some of these boys definitely create a bit of stir.”
info: Visit www.thestyletyrant.com