In Focus: Summerfest 2016 Street Style

Summerfest has become THE annual event that Milwaukee is known for. But veterans of the “Big Gig” will be quick to tell you that the music is nice, but the reason people come back year after year is for the premium people watching. And in this segment, not only are we watching people, with the help of local street style photographer Rae Bu, we’re breaking down what they’re wearing. Get ready for your close up, Milwaukee.

It’s perhaps fitting with last month's passing of legendary New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham that we decided to take to the Summerfest grounds to seek out the best dressed.

Cunningham pioneered the street style photography craze, capturing elegant ladies and dapper dudes on the streets of Manhattan from the seat of his bicycle.

It was an acknowledgment that style trends aren’t always incubated on the runway, but best exemplified by ordinary people with the natural ability to exhibit their inner panache through their clothing.

Cunningham’s pioneering work and the emergence of social media combined to create the perfect storm that is street style fashion photography.

Milwaukee's Rae Bu jumped on this sartorial train several years ago, curating local street style fashion for the Shepherd Express and on her own blog.

Bu doesn’t believe in the stereotypes that characterize Wisconsin style as a combination of layered-up, dressed down Packers chic.

Sure, Milwaukee will never be mistaken for Fifth Avenue, but Summerfest provides the perfect opportunity for that regional creativity to shine through.

“I think you can make anything look good if you are confident when you wear it,” Bu says. “If you choose your items carefully, you can pair something you got for 99 cents with something a little more pricey and yet not designer. It’s really about how you wear it and the story that you’re telling, and it will come through with your confidence.”

Credit: Rae Bu

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