The youth of the French capital reclaim the streets in a celebration of style, freedom and electronic music
Last September, during her trip to Paris, photographer Sophie Stafford decided to check out the annual Techno Parade – and ended up spending the whole day in the swirl of music and uncontrollable wild energy.
“The Techno Parade originally began as a protest movement – a backlash against the government’s repression of electronic music in the early 90s,” Stafford explains. “It was only in 1998 that the Technopol, an organisation created in support of electronic music, finally persuaded the authorities to recognise it as a musical culture, and staged the very first parade in the heart of the capital. Today, the slogan of the event is ‘freedom, diversity, rhythmicity’; something that is felt in the beat of the parade as it flows relentlessly through the city streets all the way from Place de la Nation to Place de la Bastille. The dozen floats, or ‘love buses’, are the driving force behind the parade – at the beginning of the day, they form a circle around Place de la Nation, blasting out a mixture of dubstep, drum’n’bass and electro music to the mounting crowds. As people spill out of the Métro exits at Nation, the excitement rapidly builds. People are swinging from the arms of the bronze statue in the square’s central monument, the Triumph of the Republic, gearing up for the day ahead.”
Stafford's take on the Techno Parade is quite unique: you don't see the madness of the crowds and the unstoppable dirty raving, instead, the spotlight is on the faces of the new generation of Parisians in all their diversity, quite a lot of them coming from the outskirts of the city. The photographer captured their style: kids are sporting tracksuits, bucket hats and the occasional branded status pieces. "The blend of sports wear and select pieces from high end brands is something that seems to be a current trend running through european youth culture,” Stafford says. "I wanted to capture how the individuals style reflects how they want to be perceived.” Lots of her subjects show the the childlike joy for the day they can finally reclaim the streets of Paris, but overall Stafford has captured the rare calmness in the midst of the parade and reflected the sincere character of this new generation of ravers.