July 2, 2016, American lost one of the most beloved photojournalists of all times. Bill Cunningham passed away at age 87, after a life-long career of photographing street fashion on the streets of NYC. Always riding a bike, sporting a blue jacket, khakis, sensible black sneakers, and a camera around his neck, Bill was an iconic New York treasure.
Bill started taking photographs of women on the streets during WW11. He supported himself making hats, working retail, and waiting tables. Over time, he became a well- recognized fixture on the streets of NYC, capturing emerging fashion trends with candid photos of anonymous women and men. Although he often photographed well-known celebrities at fancy galas and fundraisers, he was pure in his intent to share real people at important moments. His photographs became so well- recognized, he was hired to be a contributing photojournalist to the NEW YORK TIMES, his regular features being “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.”
As Ralph Lauren quoted in the NYT, the day after Bill’s death,
“For over 40 years, bill Cunningham pointed his lens at the true heart of fashion-the personal style of those that walked the most democratic runway of all, the sidewalks of New York City. Every day we saw him pedaling his bike uptown and downtown, capturing the true spontaneity and fun of a style created and worn by real people going about their daily lives.”
I have been a fan of Bill Cunningham for years. I loved his commitment to street fashion and his passion for capturing “in the moment” photos of women, men, and children demonstrating their personal style.
So, what does this have to do with Foot Traffic? We have always understood that our legwear and socks are an accessory and are just one piece of the bigger picture. We know that a woman (or man) has many clothing and accessory choices to play with when putting together an outfit. Socks are part of a fashion solution depending on so many variables, such as time of year, need for color, comfort, and of course as an additional texture or color that pulls an outfit together. Perhaps Foot Traffic knee highs are the warm socks that peek out of the top of a boot for not only warmth but that added touch of color, lace, or design that helps YOU be YOU.
Bill appreciated anyone that looked good in what they were wearing and it made no difference if they paid a fancy price, were celebrities, or trend followers. He recognized and photographed personal style every day and celebrated fashion confidence through his lens.
We will miss you, Bill Cunningham, and your honest commitment and passion to capture, share, and respect personal style.