How having no shame and an iPhone turned into a hobby I never expected
Summer 2020 was not the one I turned pretty, it was the one I turned broke. I was working as an unpaid intern in a Copenhagen-based fashion agency during the week and as a clumsy, forgetful waitress during the evenings and weekends; the one that didn’t speak the national language and only remembered to put in someone’s order when I was reminded by their sad, hungry face on my way to the toilet (where I’d go to hide).
Boredom has never motivated me to act. For some reason, the times I’m busiest are the moments I really get creative. It’s a game I like to play with myself: “How can I come up with an idea so good that I have to prioritize it above everything I already have on my plate?”. So, naturally, that summer of sweating, commuting and complaining resulted in a new hobby. Totally inspired by Danish fashion on the street, I began to flirt with the idea of posting sneaky pictures of their outfits, an undercover agent’s guide to dressing like a Dane.
It was only halfway through my internship – when I passed two guys sitting at a wine bar – that I acted on the thought. They looked like something out of a punk band from the 70’s and I spent my entire walk to the train thinking about how badly I wanted to capture them on camera. I felt obliged to give the people of the internet a glimpse into the candid Copenhagen-coolness that I saw influencers forever attempting to imitate. Right as I got to the train station, I decided to turn around. The adrenaline kicked in when I realized that now I had to do it. They were still sitting there when I got back – cool as cucumbers. The luxury of being the muse and not the quivering 20 something year old in the outfit that screamed ‘I just got here’. I asked them if I could take a photo and they said no. For a moment my soul left my body from sheer mortification. They were too hungover and too cool but somehow, I managed to convince them and we settled on a shot where their faces weren’t seen. I got talking to them and found out more about who they were and what they were wearing but I was too nervous and inexperienced to take notes or use my voice recorder. When I posted the photo on Instagram later that day the only thing I remembered was that one of them was wearing a shirt made from onions.
When I moved to Stockholm after that summer, I had been taking photos of people in the street for a couple of months and had just started playing with the idea of capturing it through video instead – having realised the amount of time I was spending documenting street style through Instagram stories when the reach was so much better on TikTok. I paused my new hobby completely for my first few months as I gained some confidence in a new city, and started again, this time with just video. I spent the next year figuring out how to approach Swedes (a rather reserved lot) and how to shoot and edit street style videos in a way that generated the best response.
Now, I bring street style with me wherever I go and benefit from having a portfolio of work to show those I approach. The occasional rejection still stings – but each interaction becomes easier than the last, and like with everything, no attempt is as hard as the first.