Stockholm Street Style co-founder Caroline Blomst started her career on the other side of the lens, modeling as a teenager in Sweden. But when she and boyfriend Daniel Troyse first decided to launch a blog six years ago, she was on summer break in the middle of studying for a master’s degree in sociology at Lund University. “We both had a real interest in photography and fashion, and we love sitting in a city and watching people pass by,” she says. “We started doing just that, with a camera.” The pair created Stockholm Street Style in 2005, trolling their small city for fashionable stand-outs.
They earned a small but devout following, and in 2007, Swedish media group Bonnier approached them about starting a fashion site. Carolines Mode, which originally launched as part of men’s-focused gadget site Feber, became its own blog as it gained popularity. Now the pair spends five months of the year traveling to Paris, Milan, and London, interspersing street style shots with Blomst's shopping and accessories picks. In particular, early fans of the site clamored for more of Caroline’s own looks, and in 2007 she started posting images of her outfits on the blog, deftly mixing designer labels with Zara and H&M. (“We don’t have a lot of brands in Stockholm,” she explains. “We don’t have Prada, we don’t have Chanel.”)
Earlier this fall, she launched C Mode, an iPad-based magazine that compiles weekly highlights from the blog, and designed a pair of shoes for footwear company Six London (see a sneak peek here; they’ll be available online in November). We caught up with the fashion-savvy blogger to discuss the rigors of the job, her favorite people to photograph, and her fall shopping list.
Street style photography has exploded since you first started blogging. Is it competitive?
Of course it’s competitive, but competition feeds off of demand. If there was no competition, I probably couldn’t do this full-time. That said, it’s never fun to have the same shot as someone else.
One street style photographer says it’s like hanging out with friends at Fashion Week. Do you agree?
Everyone’s really nice — they’re my friends and colleagues — but let’s just say if I knew where the backstage area was, I might not tell the others. You try to get rid of them for the shot.
What are your favorite blogs?
I read Kissie, a lifestyle blogger who writes about her crazy life. She’s really big in Sweden; she makes the tabloids every day. I also read the Coveteur. But, in general, I try to avoid other blogs. I used to read them and think, "Oh, I should have written this, I should have done that." Now I don’t feel that way — it’s less stressful.
What sets your site apart from other street style blogs?
We try to do full-frame, full-body images. We go for high-quality pictures. I try to do new angles with my detail photos; I haven’t seen others doing the exact same thing. We’re also pretty alone in the Stockholm angle.
Are there style icons in Stockholm?
It’s such a small city. We’ve probably shot every stylish person in the city around three times through the years.
What are you looking for when you’re shooting street style?
It’s an ‘it’ factor: maybe someone has the perfect smile or the perfect skirt or just something trendy that catches the eye. We tend to feature the average girl as well, not just models and editors. It’s more about the outfits than the brands.
Has your eye for style changed over the years?
I think it’s become harder now. We started off shooting only in Sweden. Now we travel and can mix up the Milano and Paris style with minimalist Stockholm style.
What’s the best city to shoot in?
So far, it’s Paris; the light is magic in Paris. And London is probably the most creative. People are more crazy and colorful, they tend to mix and match in a way no other city does.
How do the cities differ in terms of street style?
People are more daring in Europe. But that’s also due to the weather in Stockholm — there’s a lot of cold and snow, so people tend to dress warmly and comfortably, understandably.
How does shooting on a normal day compare to Fashion Week?
You might walk the streets all day and not find anyone to shoot. It’s harder in smaller cities like Stockholm than in places like London. During Fashion Week, you’re standing outside a show and there’s a constant stream of people you want to shoot. You have to be really fast.
Who’s your favorite person to shoot?
It’s always fun to shoot the models who have distinguished, cool style. I love Ruby Aldridge, and Hanne Gaby has this colorful kind of weird-slash-cool style. My favorite picture ever is this picture of model Anja Rubik (below, left). The outfit is amazing.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened while shooting?
We were out shooting in Stockholm one winter and it was negative 21 degrees Celsius — it was really, really cold. Finally, there was a guy wearing this amazing, really cool black outfit. The camera jammed because it was so cold outside! We didn’t even get the photo.
How would you describe your own style?
Stockholm meets Paris: a bit minimalistic, a bit rock. I like to wear a lot of black.
How important are designer labels?
They’re fun to have, but they’re not very important. I can find the perfect pair of jeans at H&M as well as I can at Prada. I think the best thing is to mix an expensive designer handbag with Zara jeans and a white T-shirt from H&M and sandals; maybe a boot with a little heel. I also work a lot, so I want to be comfortable.
Where do you shop?
I love Zara, H&M, Balenciaga, Chanel, and Isabel Marant. I save up when I’m in Stockholm and do my shopping when I travel. I make a list of things I want to buy and try to stick to the list.
What’s on your shopping list at the moment?
A Cartier Love bracelet and a classic blue boyfriend shirt. I also have my eye on a belt at Isabel Marant in Paris.
You also share your own outfits every day on Carolines Mode. How extensive is your wardrobe?
I don’t have the largest closet, but it’s stocked with pieces that I really love. I’m not the kind of person who saves clothes forever — I use it, then I’m done with it and I sell it or give it to friends and get something new.
After shooting other people all day, do you enjoy showing off your own outfits on the blog?
I modeled when I was younger, so I know how to stand in front of a camera. My readers really love seeing my outfits, and it’s fun to show them what I'm wearing. But I’m still more comfortable behind the camera.