Friday, October 22, 2010

beauty in the eye of the beholder


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I love this girl; they're about to rid her of her neck tattoo :(

After my first visit to Stockholm during my semester abroad in college, I became enamored by Swedish fashion and the strong, Nordic blondes who wore it. Upon landing at the makeshift tent at Skavsta, which was the closest Ryan Air stop an hour from Stockholm, we took a bus to a train to a car and arrived as weary travelers at a hipster bbq. This was in 2004.. yes, I'm dating myself, and although hipsters or their equivalent, euro trash, existed in the US and Europe, this was my first taste of the coolest, most innovative hipsters, the ones that rule fashion, art and music today.

I didn't know much, if anything, about Sweden at the time as I was living in Paris and absorbing the francophile's fantasy world. I knew that I could arrive, say Hey, they say, Hej, hmmm sounds like Hey... and they ended up speaking English anyway, without an accent. Suddenly I was surrounded by my DJ/software developer friend Moonsuck and his friends. All I could notice was the smattering of insanely blonde guys and gals, the diversity of the crowd, who were all born Swedish but were black, asian, Middle-Eastern, or mixed, and their impeccable STYLE. One guy was wearing brushed metal spectacles, had naturally white blonde hair and lashes, wore a neon plaid shirt with bright blue pants and boat shoes, and his GIRLFRIEND (he was straight and outrageously fashionable?!) wore a mousy brown mullet, a vintage button up buttoned all the way to the throat, skinny jeans (which did not exist yet in the U.S.), kelly green vintage heels with buttons leading down to the peep-toe, a sonia rykel mini purse, and her profession was a buyer for H&M. The boyfriend of course, was a graphic designer and DJ. Repeat and repeat with more fashionable and cool people than the next and I was in heaven; I suddenly woke up from my traveling stupor and became inspired.

At this time I felt the stirring of the blogger/tech movement in fashion and art. Up until that point, you didn't see these cross-genre variety of people; computer programmers by day, DJing by night, dating the YSL buyer who moonlights as a kitschy wedding photographer. If you were artsy, it didn't mean you had to have a trust fund or lackadaisical airs, you simply became an art dealer and you hustled to get there. These people were intelligent, ambitious crafty, fun, and above all, thought carefully about cultivating amazing style that didn't necessarily have to look like it came out of a dumpster. Of course, now, these people are a dime a dozen and you can throw a stone into Brooklyn or the Mission in SF and find this couple. But I first saw it in Stockholm. And it happened while gazing at some excruciatingly fashionable Nordic blondes. This is when I decided that I wanted to be involved with Swedish fashion one day, "when I grew up".

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