Interview with Editors: Mary Scherpe & Dario Natale

Mary Scherpe and Benjamin Richter founded the blog Stil in Berlin in March 2006, and though they thought it was a late bloomer in terms of streetstyle blogging, being inspired by, e.g. terrific Hel-Looks, it turned out Stil in Berlin was one of the early birds and is named by various international bloggers as their main inspirational influence. In January 2009 Dario Natale joined the team which was further enhanced by free contributors like Antje Stahl and Trevor Good in Autumn 2010.

Natasha Stagg: What does Stil in Berlin do?

Mary Scherpe & Dario Natale: We try to capture the essence of “Stil” in our city.  Initially we were only focused on streetstyle, but have recently expanded to other forms of this definition, outside of the fashion world.  On top of our street style photography, we now also conduct interviews with creative young Berliners, and photograph them in their living spaces as part of our “At Home” series.  The blog is seen through our own eyes, but we try to be as inclusive as possible.

NS: Do you consider it a “fashion blog” or has it evolved into something bigger?

MS & DN: It’s an ever changing process and we are always redefining what we are doing.  At this point we don’t consider ourselves to be just a fashion blog any longer.  We are more focused on photography now, and also as in capturing our specific moment in Berlin.

NS: What do you think of when you hear the term “fashion blog”?

MS & DN: We might have a different relationship to the word than most.  The definition of what a fashion blog is has changed since we began five years ago.  We never identified ourselves as bloggers, but rather as photographers working on a project, which happened to use a blog as our way of spreading and sharing our work.  As blogging grew in popularity, we sort of got lumped together with a large group of people who were also using blogs to work with fashion, but doing very different things – writing, photographing, collecting, archiving, curating, illustration, etc.  Except for other streetstyle photographers, we don’t necessarily see a connection between the work we do and the work that others are doing in what is today understood as a “fashion blog”.

NS: Tell me about the traveling aspect. Do you go to other countries for the blog, or does the blog go to other countries for you? (I mean, do you take pictures wherever you go, or do you go specific places because you’re interested in the street fashion there?)

MS & DN: We try to take photos wherever we go, and don’t necessarily go anywhere for a specific reason. There is something interesting to see in every city we visit. Besides, we both like it a lot to travel.

NS: And what do these other places say about Berlin?

MS & DN: As always when traveling, one gets a different perspective about the place they live.  We like traveling so that we can get a fresh view on the way we live here in Berlin.

NS: What place has your favorite street fashion?

MS & DN: New York and London have the most varied styles, it’s inspiring to see, not necessarily from a fashion perspective, but just in terms of cultural groups and their use of clothes to express themselves.  Berlin can seem a bit singular at times.

NS: What place has your favorite people?

MS & DN: Berlin of course.  But after that we would say New York.

NS: What are you wearing now?

MS & DN: Nothing special!

NS: What are your summer inspirations?

MS & DN: Sea, sex & sun.

NS: What are you reading?

DN: I’ve been trying to get through 100 Years of Solitude for 7 years now but have never managed to get past the halfway mark.  I’m attempting it again and have nearly broken my record.

MS: I have the same project with David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest.

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