Sidney Prawatyotin is creating his own rules regarding the consumption of all things fashion.
Sidney Prawatyotin is creating his own rules regarding the consumption of all things fashion.
Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG
Every fashion month, social media rolls into a peak frenzy as designer after designer present their highly anticipated collections, complete with the 'it' faces of the moment. In the midst of this manic-certified atmosphere, one's Instagram feed may easily become blurred by a hoard of identical posts and stories, all reaching for immediate satisfaction. One creative using his own unique perspective and algorithm to break the mold of how fashion month is consumed is artist Sidney Prawatyotin, or as you may know him, @siduations.
We got the chance to chat with @siduations on the current state of fashion, living in Los Angeles, and his process of becoming the Instagram sensation he's now bloomed into.
So you live in L.A. and you’re just visiting New York right now, correct?
Yes. I’m actually from New York. I was born and raised here and I moved to L.A. three years ago. I don’t know what I’m doing over there. I moved there with my husband who’s a native. I had no idea that he ever wanted to move back. Fifteen years later, we’re back there.
Well there you go. Can you give me like a quick New York vs. L.A. synopsis?
Gosh, well… L.A. is nice. I don’t mind it at all. Have you ever been on a long vacation to a place and you’re like, I need to go home?
It sometimes just feels way too long. I miss my friends and I feel like I’ve just been there for too long. So whenever you have something that’s nice for way too long, you have nothing to compare it to. So it’s just boring. It’s not bad. It’s not bad at all. I keep on telling you that I’m having such a horrible time there. It’s not bad. I’m not having a horrible time. I’m just having… well there’s nothing really going on there--for me! There is stuff going on in L.A. It’s just not for me. So in order to keep things fresh, I just have to leave for like a week or so and go back, you know?
No I hear you. I know exactly what you mean. I moved to Stockholm like a month ago or something. And I actually really love it and it’s really calm and it’s beautiful, but I’m also getting to that point now where I’m like this is so nice but I really want a bagel. I don’t know where any of my friends are. It’s not homesickness, but it’s kind of like homesickness.
You moved to Stockholm from where?
I was in New York for eight years before I moved here.
Oh my gosh. Yeah the first month or so you’re probably like this is amazing.
Like a honeymoon period.
Yes and I’ve always said that once you retire, you die. You have to keep on doing something, like go play golf or something, I don’t know. Once you stop thinking or struggling and the struggle is not there anymore, you die. You have to keep on doing something, you know?
Now, about your work, do you feel like being in L.A. is actually conducive to actually having time to work on art like this. Obviously New York is a clear hub for artists, but it’s also such an expensive city and such a busy city that a lot of people get distracted by having to pay rent on something. So I was wondering if L.A. makes it easier?
I don’t think this would have happened if I wasn’t in L.A.. I hope that’s a good answer to your question. Because I was so bored and it was so isolating, I had to find something to do and it was kind of the impetus to why I did it. I was making images as I was sitting in traffic. Seriously, it sounds so silly but I don’t drive so I’ll be in traffic with the driver, whoever, sitting in the car waiting and uh I’m so bored. So I would just play with different photo editing apps, off the phone. So then I would make photos of you know, my friends back at home, New York, and just send it to them instead of an emoji. Instead of like a text, wish you were here. Just like stupid things like photoshopping people’s faces into a scenario with me or something like that. Or just going through Instagram and I don’t know if this is the right word, but re-appropriating their images. So just funny things like that, you know playing with my phone pretty much.
But I kind of assumed, you probably do, but you also probably had a background in graphic design or something where you were learning photoshop, or did you really just kind of learn this stuff more on the fly?
Oh gosh. I’ve always played with it. I never took a photo class of any sort… actually I’m lying I took one class like 20 years ago, when I was in high school but I honestly don’t remember much of high school. It’s more storytelling than anything for me. Just finding a way to tell that story through images. I was a publicist before I was doing this and before I was a publicist I was a designer. Before I was a designer, I was assisting styling, a sales assistant. Everything I did lead back to being creative or storytelling, and this is just another way to tell a story. And I liked it so much that I decided to do something creative once a day. Like I had to do some photoshopping or some Imovie editing once a day. Practice makes perfect, you know. Once I started doing this and I was having so much fun with it, even before I did Siduations, I would wake up, because I had nothing to do in L.A. and I would just sit by the computer and make it a point to just create something once a day. When I finally had enough material to be like, I feel like I should be posting this, I just put it out there.
Was it always kind of humorous? The stuff you were doing? I’m looking through it now and there are just so many images that are just so funny. It doesn’t feel like it’s making fun of fashion, it’s kind of laughing with fashion I would assume.
I don’t always go for the humor side. I’m happy that it comes out funny. It’s when I try to make it funny, that’s when I’m like it’s not funny. It doesn’t look funny at all. I feel like it’s more, I think it looks funny because it looks out of place. This is such a horrible example but I feel like it’s the only way to describe it – but when you’re in high school and the cool kids make fun of you. You feel out of place. I feel like now we’re the kids in high school making fun of the people in the pictures or the models in the pictures because they look so out of place. But in reality, they shouldn’t be so out of place. They’re just that person in high school that’s just the odd one out. And again I feel like the subjects in the images that I have, they’re the odd one out.
Yeah that’s true. I was actually thinking about this before I called you. It’s not every image, it’s just there’s a couple of images that I think are funny, and I was trying to think of why? I feel like it’s essentially because fashion is something that some people take so incredibly seriously, and for me personally sometimes too seriously. And I think that these kind of, like you said before re-appropriation of something that’s just dead serious. It just kind of lightens it. It doesn’t mean that the clothes still aren’t really pretty or something. It’s just not as serious.
Sid: Yeah. I love the clothes. I love the designers. If I didn’t like them I wouldn’t be looking at their show and then using their images in the work. It’s so funny and I think it’s funny because when I would find pictures of my friends in street style photographs by Phil Oh and I would cut them out and put them in a picture, a scene in California or something. Just by doing that, that looks funny, because there’s no one walking in California. To take a street style photo of them in London, Milan, Paris or New York and put them in California where there’s no one? It looks funny but leave them in that original scene in New York photographs and it looks normal. And I think that you’re right. Fashion has been so exclusive for so long. And I don’t know who made it exclusive, but it just has this feeling of exclusivity to the point where it just looks funny in normal life.
Yeah. Like even, you were saying, you were assisting stylist back in the day and it was the same then if not maybe even more then in terms of exclusivity.
Which is so funny because fashion is business. It’s commercial. It’s meant for people to buy. Has it become so exclusive that no one can wear these clothes anymore? So I just feel like this shouldn’t look weird or humorous, but it is. People ask me all the time, “do you feel weird making fun of fashion?” and I’m quick to say, “I don’t feel like I’m making fun of fashion”. Like, there’s this one picture that always comes up of like where people are all, “Oh my god that’s so funny”. Balenciaga in the classroom. The only thing I think is funny is how the teacher in my edit can afford Balenciaga with a teacher’s salary.
Maybe these situations should be more real than they are, I guess?
But that’s just one part of it, there are so many other things. Like when I told you that I just do my best to do something creative every day, that’s just one part of it. There’s stuff where it’s more of just putting logos on things or just even something ‘ugh’, like swapping peoples faces off photographs. So it’s not just street style photos it’s playing with graphics and graphic design. Just practicing.
What do you see people engaging with most? Like, when you’re going to post a photo, do you have a hunch of why people are going to really love this one because of x, y, and z, or really not like this because of x, y , or z? Have you kind of figured out an algorithm or does that not even matter to you? I feel like you’re not posting these things just for a reactions, but I’m curious.
I just want to be punk rock and be like it doesn’t matter. Fuck this it doesn’t matter. You know what? It does. For a while, it does. I think there is a formula. There is a formula out there, a certain time to post, a certain commentary like social commentary, current events, influencer of the day, designer of the day. Things move so fast that I actually have fun figuring out this formula. It’s just through scrolling through my feed and actively thinking: what’s the hot topic of the day? What’s going on around the world? And then try to piece all of it together and make the timing right for the post. It’s actually so much fun discovering that formula.
So fashion week recently occurred in New York and I see that you’ve been posting stuff that’s been happening. But to your point, do you kind of feel this impetus to get stuff up quickly following the shows as they happen?
Not this season. I started @siduations February 8 last year, so it’s only been a full year since I’ve been doing this. So last February when I was covering fashion week, I was just doing it on my own time. And then I started to be like, “I have to get it out right when I see the shows, when the shows are done.” And I see the difference now. When I take my time it’s better. It’s better for me when I wait. So I’m not in that much of a rush to get things out unless there was a certain look that I really loved. I like to see everything in its full before I start doing anything. This season anyway, I’m trying to do more of that. There are just some looks that I just can’t wait to do. But what I’ve been posting this season are just shows that I’ve attended out of courtesy because I like the designer. You can tell I’m not posting as much. If anything I’m posting work that I’ve done with magazines and publications that are just coming out now. So I’ve been showing a lot of that.
And it’s also looking like you’re starting to actually collaborate with people as well, so can you talk about that?
I’m looking now at the Splish Splash. You collaborated with a photographer?
Oh yeah. I was like, “I hope it’s a real collaboration.”
Maybe it’s not...?
No it is. It IS. I’ve been seeing all of my old friends, seeing my editors and people during fashion week and people are like oh you’re getting a lot of work. I’m like excuse me? I think people think I collaborate with a lot of designers and what not. I’m not making money. There’s nothing here. I put it out there that I wanted to do more than just cutting. Photoshopping is not my thing. I actually want to photograph and collaborate with other people, collaborate with other photographers. And I think Glamour heard that and they were like hey let’s do it, so we did an actual shoot that was fun. It wasn’t just cutting out models that I found on the monthly or backstage. It was actually with a model and having her pose and pretend she was in a certain place and then putting her there. I feel like it’s so isolating. I’m my own worst enemy. I’m dying to collaborate with people just to work with their stories and get feedback from them. It’s way more fun that way. I’m so sick of myself.
Trust me, I do know exactly what you mean. I’m like sitting in Stockholm working from home every day. I definitely know exactly what you mean.
I don’t have anyone to give me feedback.
Well, you get feedback I guess when you post something. But when you’re actually working on something before it’s a finished product, it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas back and forth with.
Yeah and like I said it’s my story. I like storytelling to a point. I need to start telling other people’s stories.When I’m working with other people it’s good exercise because I get to like step out of my own head and see how I could go about telling their story. Sometimes two heads are better than one. Is that what they say?
Do you have anything upcoming in 2018 when it comes to the account and the work that you’re either really looking forward to or just general goals that you’re working toward? I know since you’ve started doing this it’s only been a year. But it feels like now there’s all of this momentum behind it so I’m curious on how you plan on using it.
Shit that’s a lot of pressure. I just want to continue what I’m doing. I don’t really know where it’s going to go. I had no expectations of where this was going to head on February 8, 2017, so I’m very grateful for everything that has happened. I feel like there is a tremendous amount of pressure that I’m putting on myself to do something different. But let me master this skill first and then see what happens from there. I would love to do more collaborations whether it be with publications or brands or maybe even step out of fashion. I want to work with other people. I want to photograph. I want to work on film. There are so many things. I want to continue to be creative. I don’t know how or what channels I’m going to use.
Well you don’t have to limit yourself then.
I don’t. I feel like in stories people keep on saying collage artists, and that’s cool, I guess what I’m doing is collage. I think they’re more specs for stories, or shoots, or short films. They’re not just collages. The only reason I’m doing collages is because I can’t afford a crew. I can’t afford a model’s day rate. I can’t afford a studio. I do the best with what I have which is photoshop and google image search and street style images. I think they are specs for other things. Does that make sense? Pitches of how I see something creative. Here some copy along with some illustrations or photographs of how I want things to look like. So yeah they’re just specs for something bigger. I just don’t have the money for it. Hey, here are some images.
It’s not a bad place to start. Not that it’s a start.
It’s a start. It’s been a year, please. It’s like having a baby and saying here, get a job.