As photographers, creativity is in our nature. Whether we’re shooting glossy fashion editorials or capturing intimate moments on a couple’s big day, how you dress is important. There are some rules you absolutely must follow – no white at weddings, nothing that limits your movement, and never dress so avant-garde that you might be mistaken for the model. What no one ever asked for or needed (surely?) was a suit designed specifically for photographers to wear on shoots.
Is it rational for me to feel this irritated about a black suit? No, probably not, but am I anyway? Yes, absolutely. In all my years working as a photographer I have never heard of such a ridiculous product, but I have three main issues with Unix Tokyo's Shooting Suits being sold by Bic Camera in Japan.
My first and biggest complaint is that they’ve tried to reinvent a timeless classic. When you get down to the nitty-gritty, it is just a black suit – though it’s made of four-way stretch material (which screams that it’s going to feel cheap) and includes larger pockets for storing an extra lens. The waistband is elasticated for comfort, and the trousers are tapered to fit, but ultimately you are buying a glorified tracksuit.
It’s also disgustingly expensive for what it is. The jacket alone costs ¥37,400 (approximately $255 / £200 / AU$390) and the trousers will set you back a further ¥20,900 ($140 / £110 / AU$215) – all for a non-branded suit. In the UK, men can buy a Ted Baker or Boss suit for not a great deal more, and you can be sure that the quality and fit would be far superior.
You can also buy a plain white t-shirt for ¥11,000 Yen ($75 / £60 / AU$115) and a pair of knit shoes for ¥16,600 ($110 / £85 / AU$165) – which is more than a pair of all-black Converse.
Last but not least, this suit is ugly – and that's the cold, hard truth. You might not be the most fashion-savvy photographer, and that’s fine, but no one is so uncreative that they have to resort to a photographer's uniform. While women have the luxury of choice when it comes to what to wear on photoshoots (think jumpsuits, baggy straight-leg trousers, long sleeve tops) for men a plain colored shirt and slacks are almost always appropriate.
Most people will already own multiple outfits that would be suitable to wear on a photography job without having to invest in something purpose-made.
I admit, I am shocked by how much this suit nonsense has riled me up. I am a self-confessed lover of fashion; I love how clothes are a form of expression, I love shooting fashion photography, and I love spending lazy Sunday mornings lost in the glossy pages of Vogue. I also love second-hand slow fashion, so this suit pretty much goes against everything I believe in.
However, if you still want to see the suit for yourself and happen to be in Japan, the Shooting Suit will be on display on the first floor of the Bic Camera Store in Yurakucho, Tokyo, until March 31.