Thank you Instagram, I am an e-celebrity!
What´s that you may think?
Well, the short answer is that I, through a strenuous presence in social media such as Instagram, have gained a large number of followers (I prefer to call them friends) who interact with me and discuss my passion for style, fashion in general and shoes in particular.
How did it all start and how did it evolve?
I am often asked that question when interviewed and therefore I have taken the opportunity to reflect more fully on the topic. I would say that I, in some way, have always had an interest in style. As a kid I of course wanted the coolest denim and trainers; as I grew up my taste, thankfully, developed and became more refined. I vividly remember a seminal moment; It was when I was 15 or 16 years of age, a difficult age some may say, between those of a teenager and an adult. I received a copy of The Gentleman’s Handbook about classic style by Bernhard Roetzel. It was the beginning of a love affair that remains a passion today. I remember dreaming of my first pair of proper Goodyear welted shoes and a bespoke suit. It was all most exotic and far from what I could have with the allowance my kind parents offered me at this age. With that in mind a few years later I bought them, my first pair of quality shoes made in Northampton. I still have them, they are well used and have been re-soled a few times at the factory and by local cobblers in my hometown. They have lasted a long time and there are many miles left in them, I treasure them for what they are and have them as a reminder that quality lasts. “Olof, you should always purchase proper shoes”! There are no shortcuts. This was also my first contact with Crockett & Jones. My local cobbler sold a few models and told me that as a professional he preferred to work with well made shoes. I trusted him and bought a pair of Hallam in brown calf. Many years later I can by experience vote for the fact that he was right.
It was the beginning of a love affair that remains a passion today.
A few years had passed since my first Brogues and I relocated to London to finish my law studies in pursuing a Masters Degree. I was recently given a reminder of these times in London, when my wife and I left our city and moved to a house in the countryside, as I found my old notebooks from University. It’s strange that I passed my studies with a merit since there were more sketches of shoes and overcoats than notes on law clauses… When I think back I can almost remember every day after lectures I would immediately rush off to Jermyn Street to browse the amazing shoe shops, inhaling the wonderful scent of leather and polish whilst eager to discuss lasts and soles with the craftsmen of the trade I loved so much.
There is no coincidence that I decided to study in London, I am a passionate anglophile. The fact that I passed my studies with good results strengthens my belief that as long as you do what you are passionate about and commit to it you will perform well. In my case the daily trips to the Mayfair Menswear and Shoe establishments gave me the energy I needed to thrive.
Over the years this has led to interviews and portraits with The Rake, The FT How To Spend It's Wise Guy issue and Harrods.
I became a banker, that’s what I do. Though my passion has always been, and will always be, style. One of my closest friends knows this well, five years ago he managed one of the largest Swedish menswear blogs which was more of an online magazine. He asked me if I wanted to participate weekly as a contributing writer with topics related to classic style and craftsmanship. I of course accepted gladly and the rest is history. At an early stage we started to use our personal Instagram accounts to present our work. Steadily, I began to create a following, more pleasing was that our followers began to interact with thoughts, ideas and questions related to style. Some of these people I have had regular contact with for years now. As the Follower count continued to grow, so has my “menswear fame”. Over the years this has led to interviews and portraits with The Rake, The FT How To Spend It´s Wise Guy issue and Harrods to name a few. This has always been most flattering and I still ask myself, how did all this happen? I don´t know really though in writing this I’m beginning to appreciate my journey.
In conclusion I am delighted for the opportunities I have been afforded and I am hugely grateful for all the friends I have got to know. After all, if I go to a new city somewhere in the world there will always be at least one Instagram-friend to grab a pint with and discuss the issue that really matters: well made shoes!
Illustrations by Jonny Leigh