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She's got her eye on the street

Fashion blogger documents what's cool

Susan Gertner (center), a.k.a. Susie G., dances at a party at Privus Lounge in Allston. Susan Gertner (center), a.k.a. Susie G., dances at a party at Privus Lounge in Allston. (ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)
By Danielle Dreilinger
Globe Correspondent / February 12, 2009
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Fashionistas sneer at slush. One frosty recent night, boys with angular pompadours and girls in vintage danced to clatteringly loud electro and techno at the Privus Lounge in Allston.

Police lights from Brighton Avenue reflected off the futuristic metal chandeliers. Cameras flashed. Which was only appropriate: It was the dance night Helleaux and a welcome-back party for Boston's street-style blogger, Susie G.

Dancing in a black trapeze minidress, ankle boots, and eyeliner, her hair half-piled on top of her head, she reminded one of Tama Janowitz, chronicler of '80s downtown New York City.

Susan Gertner, 22, has more than looks in common with the erstwhile slave of New York. She documents hip nightclub denizens for her blog, click/clash, with a little point-and-shoot camera.

Street-style photo blogs such as New York's Sartorialist have sprung up around the world. Most fashion websites focus on what's in the boutique windows: exclusive and expensive. Street-style bloggers look at the people walking outside.

Some make a career of it, including Katja Hentschel of Glam Canyon and Yvan of Facehunter, Gertner said. Her goals are more modest: "I just like to do it."

Gertner started click/clash (www.clickclash.blogspot.com) in 2007, taking the name from a different icon: cartoon rocker girl Jem. After an internship in London, the Northeastern management and marketing major returned to Boston last month to finish school and visit haunts old and new.

Judging from the blog, those include school, the intersection of Newbury Street and Mass. Ave., and indie dance nights such as Throwed! at Great Scott in Allston, Soul-le-lu-jah at ZuZu! in Cambridge, and Circus at Privus.

It's a one-woman show. Gertner snaps fellow dance/DJ fans, students, and other random people on her commute from Jamaica Plain. Subjects pose however they like, wherever they happen to be, for full-length portraits. You don't see Gertner on her blog - just her eye.

"I don't want to really be an authority," Gertner said. "This is what I like."

She also likes Kid 'n' Play '80s rap throwback hair streaked with gold, with a matching gold jacket; a conservative suit worn with a butter-yellow pocket square; a long "Klute" coat with a huge furry collar.

"It's real-life, everyday sort of fashion as opposed to 'this is what's latest,' " said Lyndsey "Saffron" Almon, 26, of Cambridge, dressed to dance at Privus in a sheer white dress trimmed with sequins over a black sheath/tutu.

She's "very good at capturing what's going on before it actually happens," said DJ Justin Cameron or "Justincredible," 22, employing a classic fashion-world paradox.

Gertner always explains her blog, gives out the URL, and thanks subjects for their time, Almon said. In some cases, it's kindled friendships.

"People don't think it's weird," Cameron said. "They're all obsessed with being cool." Judging from the photographers snapping away at Helleaux, this crowd is comfortable in front of a camera.

The goal, for the photographer and her subjects? To look unique.

"No one else is wearing this," said Gertner's former roommate Molly Maltezos, 22, of Allston. She was dressed like a fantastic urban cowgirl in a semi-translucent prairie blouse and long skirt. "I try to not look like anyone else."

The blog quotes Gore Vidal as saying, "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."

As for her own style, Gertner said: "If you can look cute and look different at the same time, that's a winning combination."

The Janowitz resemblance is by design. "I personally can rock the '80s pretty easily I feel thanks to this [hair] I have," Gertner said. A job in London loaded her closet with American Apparel, though she cuffs, cuts, and twists shirts to customize them. She's also wearing high-waisted skirts and heels. For the snow, she rocks red Reebok high-tops.

After college, Gertner plans to go into trend forecasting and market research. Not necessarily for the fashion world, she said; it seems impractical.

For now, she's focusing on her studies and click/clash, with a plan to upgrade her camera and improve her photo composition. And she's looking even harder to spot what's cool. Since returning from London, she finds herself staring at everyone.

"I just like to look at people. People are my inspiration."

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