By Tobias van Schneider Published November 13, 2020
We've said that a portfolio should be curated. This brings the picture of you are and what you want into clear view. Few portfolios accomplish this better than The Locals.
The Locals was created by Søren Jepsen, a Danish fashion and lifestyle photographer based in Germany. Upon first landing on the site, you might assume it's a fashion publication. It is in fact Jepsen's collection of street photography, curated separately from his other work and branded with its own name.
Jepsen has accomplished something smart yet simple here. In creating a narrative around his photography, he's made it stick in your mind. He's focused the spotlight on the work he's presumably proud of, and elevated it to its own brand. The Locals website aligns beautifully with our philosophy around portfolios, and just so happens to be built on Semplice.
Here we talk to Søren about the thought behind the website, how the pandemic has affected his work and what he sees ahead for the fashion industry.
Søren Jepsen, founder of The Locals – thelocals.dk
Hey Søren, can you tell us about yourself and what you do? How did you get into fashion photography?
I started out with my own street style blog about 13 years ago, documenting the style of regular people on the streets of Copenhagen, my hometown. Today, I still shoot street style, but I also do a lot of editorials, campaigns and travel photography.
Tell us about The Locals. What is it and how did it come to be?
The Locals is my home on the internet. It’s where my street style photography lives. I also have a portfolio site that showcases all aspects of my work but on The Locals, I only present my latest street style pictures.
It grew out of my first blog, which was called Copenhagen Street Style. After a few years, I felt that that name limited the scope of my work, as street style photography became more mainstream a decade ago, and I branched out to different cities and events.
Today, I travel to all of the big fashion weeks and shoot most of my pictures there. The Locals is linked to a custom archive, where my clients can find all of my pictures from previous seasons and sort them by trend, person, fabric color, etc.
The Locals website feels so branded and curated, I thought it was a publication at first. This is such a smart way to position yourself, especially if you have a very specific interest and line of work. Did you do this intentionally from the start? How has it worked out for you?
Yes, it was very intentional to build it that way. I have a giant archive of thousands of pictures but felt that they needed heavy curation. It is very important to me that there is a red line in everything I do and that my work is presented in a visually pleasing way. That not only makes me stand out among my competition, but also lets the people looking at my work get the full experience that I intended.
I also love to change it up. If someone is looking for something specific, I direct them to my archive.
How has the pandemic affected your work? I know most fashion weeks were canceled or moved online. Do you see this impacting the fashion and/or fashion photography world in any permanent way – besides masks becoming the new accessory?
The pandemic had a massive impact on my work. I used to travel almost non-stop. I just looked it up: in 2019, I took 24 different trips to more than a dozen different countries. This year, I have mostly been at home since I returned from Paris fashion week in early March. There were a few short trips during the summer, but generally, work is very sparse. It is quite scary. Most fashion weeks have been cancelled, and travel restrictions and quarantine requirements make it very hard to plan anything.
At the moment, I have no idea if and when things will be picking up again. I am sure that fashion weeks will continue to take place and be back once a vaccine is available. But I also think that the public might be looking for new ways of covering these events. People start to pause and question this all-out consumerism and the constant travel.
You’ve been doing fashion photography for more than a decade, and I see you catalog trends and your own OOTDs as well. What do you predict for the next decade of fashion? What trends do you hope or believe will come back?
I’m sure we will continue to see a revival of some specific trends, as we always do. But that doesn’t really interest me. What I do hope is that we can take this forced break and this general reckoning with the status quo that we have seen at the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer to question the industry itself. I am hoping for a slowing down and for far more inclusive representation of marginalized groups, be it color of skin, gender or size.
One of Søren's OOTDs, featured on his site
Last question: Why did you choose Semplice for your portfolio?
Because it’s the best. I have built my own websites for more than a decade and Semplice is far and away my favorite service. It doesn’t require a lot of programming skills to achieve beautiful and well-designed results. On top, it’s very fast and very easy to adapt to different screen sizes, which is just so important these days.
I am not the only one who likes it, by the way. I get a lot of positive feedback about my websites from people, and Apple even featured another one of my Semplice websites in a keynote.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the founder of DESK, nice to meet you!