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Scott Schuman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1968. He majored in fashion merchandising at Indiana University before working for companies like Valentino and Onward Kashiyama, eventually opening his own showroom for emerging designers. After 15 years in the fashion business, he started The Sartorialist to, in his words, "simply share photos of people that I saw on the streets of New York that I thought looked great. When I worked in the fashion industry, I always felt that there was a disconnect between what I was selling in the showroom and what I was seeing real people (really cool people) wearing in real life."

As The Sartorialist took off, it became more time consuming and increasingly influential, and by 2006 it was Schuman's full-time job. Later that year he was approached by (the official website of VOGUE magazine) to shoot in the fashion capitals of the world – London, Paris, Milan – at the time of their collections. He also put together a monthly page for GQ Magazine and the Japanese Men's Ex. Wherever the work is published, however, it retains The Sartorialist's distinctive point of view – his feeling for time and place, his particular way of relating subject and background, and his ability to put his subjects at ease so that he can create a work of resonance in the short amount of time he is afforded.