New Blog Captures the ‘Street Style’ of Downtown Jersey City
Downtown Jersey City is a great place for trend-spotting. A cultural hub with a mix of suburban transplants, NYC commuters, international travelers and more, the neighborhood is full of the eclectic, the artistic and the fashion-forward. Marinell Montales, a part-time barista at the Warehouse Cafe, has created a place to celebrate the style of these residents: a blog she calls Downtown, natch! (downtownnatch.wordpress.com)
Montales moved to Jersey City from the Philippines 9 years ago. She lives in Franklin Park, freelances in marketing and promotions for independent films and works at the Warehouse Cafe on the weekends.
With a self-proclaimed “overappreciation” for fashion and proclivity for trend-following, she found herself perusing more than 20 fashion blogs daily. While the popular The Man Repeller and The Sartorialist lingered in her queue, her eye always wandered to more street-style blogs, which she finds “inspirational and fresh.”
“There [was] an overwhelming number of street style blogs all over the world, and Jersey City didn’t have one, so I started one,” she says.
Downtown, natch! is to-the-point: great pictures of people wearing eye-catching outfits on the streets of Downtown Jersey City. When asked to describe the local style, Montales notes, “[NYC] is definitely more fashion-forward, but its influence is carried downtown literally everyday via PATH train… One day I’ll spot a girl garbed in leopard print waltzing the streets in 5-inch heels, and another day, I’ll see a plaid-wearing could-be-Brooklyn-bred hipster. However you want to define it, I think downtown’s style is trendy, appropriate, and comfortable.”
So how does she decide who to photograph? Montales (shown at left) explains that it’s all about “turning it up a notch,” having the extra details that make an average outfit something spectacular. She says, “For me, style is expressed by the wearer and not by what’s worn.”
Tourists are subject to being snapped as well – recently, Montales photographed two girls visiting from Norway, and she often approaches non-JC residents simply passing through.
“Sometimes I’ll show Downtown, Natch! from my iPhone to get people to say yes when I see that they’re a little hesitant at first… But overall, people have been surprisingly very willing and flattered to have their photos taken for a style blog,” she says.
While Montales has an admiration for fashion, her main interest is photography. “I always wanted to take photos,” she says. She shoots her fashionable street-strolling subjects with a Sony Alpha NEX-5.
On who should check out her blog, Montales says, “Everyone — natch! — including the girl or the guy like me who lurks the internet fishing for a more fashionable way to wear her or his usual jeans and shirt outfit, the trendy ones who bow to style icons, including themselves,” she says. “And everyone who lives Downtown who might get a kick out of seeing their friends or family members looking all sharp and chic.”
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All photos courtesy of Marinell Montales