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My Disappointment with Stockholm


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Monday, May 07, 2007

My Disappointment with Stockholm

Since I began posting images from Stockholm I have received a lot of comments like this

"Hm, in stureplan/östermalm, this is so ordinary that I'm getting tired in the eyes just by looking at the picture. It's like that scene in the second matrix movie with all the Agent Smith clones, in stockholm you have 200 of this guy around you all the time and that's pretty annoying after a while.

A lot of swedes has a great sense of fashion though, but you find most of them in Södermalm/SoFo. "

Comments like this reek of "reverse classism" or if you have a look that is a bit "refined and uptown" then it must lack any originality or creativity . I think this is a really crappy attitude.

Sodermalm is a great neighborhood with great style but it makes the people there look small if they think they are the only stylish people in all of Stockholm.

Style is not a win/lose game. Believe me that the people in Sodermalm could learn something from Ostermalm in how to work with color and texture and Ostermalm could learn from Sodermalm about new proportions and how to mix references.

I won't let these images from Stockholm (which are numerous and really great) to be turned into a contest for which neighborhood is better. Both are great and Swedes should be very proud of this.

Rant over - now back to the fun.

Comments on "My Disappointment with Stockholm"


Anonymous atheniangirl said ... (9:34 AM) : 

Exactly - style is democratic, it disregards neighbourhoods or pedigree. You either got it or you don't ... no matter where you live.


Anonymous cillan said ... (9:39 AM) : 

Thank you for this post! I'am so tired of östermalm and södermalm people not getting along, thinking they are the only one with a sense of style and the other one being mainstream or weird. I really think you are right, we need to learn from each other. So thank you again.


Anonymous Jonas said ... (9:47 AM) : 

It´s so funny that you have experienced this style fight between the antagonist neighborhoods Östermalm and Södermalm during your stay in Stockholm. I like the variation of styles in the different parts of the city and the fight between those neighborhoods are mostly immature. But maybe it´s a part of the neighborhood identity game.

Keep up the great work!!

/Jonas of Vasastan


Anonymous Cecilia said ... (10:00 AM) : 

I am ashamed about how the swedish people behave... Thank you for hopefully making them realize that they are ridiculous!

/Cecilia, swedish


Blogger Alessi said ... (10:01 AM) : 

super-post! So true!


Blogger James Middlefield said ... (10:09 AM) : 

I would love to see Gothenburg throu your photos and how you would see the difference between the ppl here.

So welcome to Gothenburg anytime you want :)

Anyway, i hope the negative posts wount stop you from taking more photos and post them, caus the majority of ppl still love to see them.


Blogger Sophia said ... (10:18 AM) : 

Dear God, only in sweden can these things happen... so eager to throw crap at eachother instead of being proud of our nation as we are being shown to the rest of the world for our good style.
Swedes- get a grip!!


Blogger Keith said ... (10:19 AM) : 

After many years of constant travel to Stockholm and been firmly encamped on the Söder side of the fashion wall and yet not been Swedish I find the differences between the two sides extremely childish. Both sides encompass a fashion sensibility that they should be proud of and that many other cities/boroughs would die for...So nice of you to finally point these differences out and to to take a stand against fashion fascism...



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:37 AM) : 

Excellent point! (works in östermalm, lives in sodermalm)


Anonymous Anna said ... (10:43 AM) : 

I live at Södermalm but work in Östermalm and I refuse to lend myself to one style. How boring life would be. I like to think that I am more than the area in which I live or work. I like clothes that suit me and that I feel comfy in.


Anonymous EliseLotte said ... (10:49 AM) : 

I would like to know what the difference is between östermalm and södermalm dresswise (and maybe otherwise). Its hard to tell by the few pictures being posted.
Can anyone enlighten me?


Blogger blushing apples said ... (11:04 AM) : 

I'll tried to remeber that the sartorialist classic sence of style will be long-lived rather than the young modern/hipster fashion of today.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:11 AM) : 

It's not at all about clothes. It's about the oldest thing in the world: class.
Östermalm is the area where the upper class lives, and the working class lives at Södermalm. It doesn't matter these two classes earn the same money today, they can not stand each other. My workmates that lives at Östermalm refuse to even visit a pub at Söder together with the collegues that lives there. Very sad, but very true.
/ Mia of the suburbes


Blogger Jelena said ... (11:13 AM) : 

Those kind of comments can be heard in other parts of Sweden as well, someone wearing a shirt and blazer = brat, to some people. Dressing "rich" or acting it is not looked upon with mild eyes. Could be understandable with a very socialist history. It is not like in some other countries where the rich are more celebrated (not that you even have to be rich to wear a frickin shirt but that's the generalisation going on).

Anyhow, it's a silly way to think (and write) seeing as how the people visiting your blog are, I would imageine, mature and fully grown up for the most part.


Blogger Butch said ... (11:19 AM) : 

It's funny--hearing about a fashion divide of this kind, and at a rather great remove (I'm in Manhattan), puts the whole issue of competing "lifestyles" into perspective.

Here, one can be snobbish about those who dress up (denizens of the Upper East Side, for example), or those who do the opposite (most downtowners). Having the same "style war" vigorously played out elsewhere makes one see the folly of all such.


Blogger Carolina Lange said ... (11:19 AM) : 

Style is not about where you are, but who you are and how you dress!
Your work is allways so great!


Anonymous stella said ... (11:19 AM) : 

Identifying with a certain Stockholm neighborhood in the way some people have been doing is reminiscent of high school cliques, isn't it? I read an article in the Swedish newspaper DN last week where some teenage girls commented that they would not go dressed in the same outfit to shop in Söder as in Östermalm because they would feel uncomfortable. Pretty ridiculous.

By the way, it was a very nice article about you in DN this weekend.


Anonymous Suzie said ... (11:39 AM) : 

I love you, you're so smart, please marry me!!!


Anonymous swedee said ... (12:19 PM) : 

GO sart!!!
This post was needed !


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:29 PM) : 

You have got an excellent point there. We should be proud of the way we dress, our culture, and we should also be proud of each other. It doesn't matter if one lives in Södermalm or Östermalm. I hope that your post will get people to something to think about. I would like to see some pictures from a park, since the weather is fantastic. The Ellen Key-Park has a lot of stylish students in it. Keep up your fantastic work!


Blogger hoi polloi said ... (12:39 PM) : 

Interesting. I never guessed ;)


Blogger (i)man said ... (12:43 PM) : 

haha so funny dude that you got kind of caught in the middle of this.
I do feel its boring that the only places you do visit is the ordinary streetfashion areas. It could be fun if you would experement with other places too.
iman Stockholm


Anonymous Classic 4-ever said ... (12:56 PM) : 

Style should be encouraging, not judgeing. Scott Schuman for president! Welcome back anytime. We love you.
/Living in Södermalm, but loves the whole city.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:07 PM) : 

it's a small town! i suppose that was what i ones ment by homogenous market...i love stockholm and i think that the different styles in the different parts of the city is kind of "charming". what i have a bit difficult to understand though is that people are kind of narrow-minded (and fast to judge)when it comes to this subject, in the way you mentioned! i hope that we will get more "urban" and be what we are (or what we want to be)and let other be what they are (or want to be)!....but i think...we have quite a bit left for to get there/m


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:17 PM) : 

When I lived in Stockholm, I noticed that people looked very put together, but often wore the same outfit. Do you think this is similar to the US fashion time period Americans think of as "classic"--times in the 1940s or earlier when all men wore a long coat and hat? There was less individual variation, but generally a more formal atmosphere. Just a thought.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:25 PM) : 

Glad that you got to see this side of the matter, even more happy that you took a stand. The whole phenomena says alot of Stockholm, its an integral part and maybe it would be wrong to leave it out of the picture?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:25 PM) : 

As always in our lovely socialist country everybody with a colourful shirt is considered a snob. The antagonism between styles is starting to get very old, but hopefully the bourgesois and the bohemians can all get along soon and realise that your style doesn't determine who you are - only if you look good or not. // Södermalm


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:30 PM) : 

this is surreal and provincial


Blogger Sanjay said ... (2:08 PM) : 

Well, I'm not so sure it's strictly a swedish phenomenon, UES get their fair share of scorn as well by other New Yorkers.


Blogger Opulent CerriLynn said ... (2:19 PM) : 

It happens everywhere...I love the idealism of atheniangirl...(1st post)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:29 PM) : 

You are the new voice of fashion Sart. I love how you call it as it is - fun, not pretentious. You make all of the whimsy and spectacle all down to earth, and it is so refreshing when contrasted with the Fashion world.

Let's all have fun and just wear clothes...inwardly, it's not a competition, and there are no rules beyond what you want to wear. Whether people appreciate what you wear...well, that is the outwork expression of fashion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:56 PM) : 

At least in America it is somewhat more democratic.

People are happy for your success.

The class divide is less, though still there.

I am surprised about Sweden thinking this way.

I thought that the country was very enlightened.

Such a silly topic, clothes.

Why must people always work to divide and seperate themselves?!

Incomes, I thought, are so heavily taxed and social services so much subsidized that I thought there is a great amount of access and equality in Sweden.

But still people still seem to want to be exclusive and better than their neighbors.

What a pity.



Anonymous Paris said ... (3:01 PM) : 

We certainly do this in the US too. Believe me; I live in a supposedly unfashionable "flyover" state.

Thanks. I needed this today. I dress classy with pieces I've put together from Goodwill. People may think it's not adventurous or now, but the styles mine. I like it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:17 PM) : 

Wow, I had no idea! And you know what, dear Ostermalmers and Sodermalmers? I haven't noticed that VAST diference between your styles from the pictures! Which just proves the point that this whole rivalry thing is very artificial and quite ridiculous. Peace.


Anonymous slh said ... (3:21 PM) : 

After spending a few years in Sweden I sorely miss seeing people on a daily basis with such great style (especially now that I'm in the great fleece capital that is the Northwest). That said, many Stockholmers were terribly pretentious and I found myself spending more and more time in Gothenburg - I agree with previous posters that a trip to that fair western city could be very insightful, if not refreshing!


Anonymous ingrid beskow said ... (3:26 PM) : 

Please come to GOTHENBURG. I agree with James Middlefield (another comment ) Gothenburg rules :)


Anonymous yellybean said ... (4:25 PM) : 

God, I just love your observations.. as a swede, it's interesting to see what you think about us and our sense of fashion. Keep up the good work!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:27 PM) : 

I must say...I do not like the way you move about the "posts"...
you choose what looks best for your blog...That is what happens when you get popular? (Yes/No)...Check the box.


Blogger fashionfanatic60 said ... (5:23 PM) : 

I think this type of argument (the whole uptown vs. downtown style throwdown) occurs in any major city, no? Not sure why, and I agree with Sart that it's silly and kind of beside the point, but it seems pretty common, regardless of where one lives.


Blogger Frankie said ... (5:25 PM) : 

Jesus Christ that coment is so typical Stockholm, it is just to small here or something. Glad you gave your on coment on it!


Anonymous the Stockholmer said ... (6:06 PM) : 

It´s impressive to see how you describe the dilemma in such a easy but yet complete by just visiting Stockholm for a short while. You really put action behind all that is said about you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:35 PM) : 

I think we should settle this issue once and for all with an östermalm/södermalm dance-off. Bring it!


Blogger mimi said ... (10:45 PM) : 

I think th H%M in Boston is better laid out then the one I saw in Paris at the Rue De Rivoli.
Styles are sometimes fine but usually the dresss have that tie in back strings that shout cheapo, as do the fabrics but once in awhile you can get a great find.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:25 AM) : 

I guess you would get wrapped up in this considering why you are here.

I can understand why people would get tired of it, but it´s not something that´ll go away. It´s kind of deep rooted and I would say it´s more about lifestyles than just fashion. There´s also the involvment of two of Stockholms football (or soccer as some call it) clubs to take into consideration of all this. Djurgården (Östermalm) and Hammarby (Södermalm). So there´s more to this, "conflict", than just fashion.


Blogger Jessorz said ... (2:29 AM) : 

Agreed. It's kindof like comparing NYC to LA, both have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to fashion, but they're two completely different environments, so you also have to recognize that.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:34 AM) : 

Yes, I too have experienced this attitude much more frequently the more north I've traveled. I think Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about it? (I really don't listen to him, I swear). I have also noticed that these northern places are also much cleaner. Hmmm. What a dilemma.


Anonymous Cecilia said ... (7:56 AM) : 

As some comments here have suggested, it is far more than just fashion when it comes to this question. I am born and raised in Södermalm and I feel a strong identity with this neighborhoods history, and also, as someone mentioned, the history of Hammarby IF (the local football club founded in Södermalm). And among me there are a lot of people that feel the same. And yes, it is about class, Södermalm has for a long time been a place for the working class, but this is beginning to change.

I agree that it is utterly silly that the love for your home has to turn into hate for other parts of the town, shown in various ways, including what you've witnessed. So sure, I see that there is something wrong, but I don't agree with the identifying part as being the problem as someone mentioned. Feeling love and connection to something can almost never be wrong. For me, the problem is really in the behavior.

But Scott, I hope you enjoyed your visit anyway, and appreciated all the various styles we actually have in Stockholm. Thank you for a wonderful blog! And yes, in fashion, I think we all can learn from each other.


Blogger sassamamma said ... (9:28 AM) : 

My theory is something like this:

How you dress is an important way to show where in the Swedish society you belong. In Sweden we've a farily long history of being quite equal, even if this seems to be changing more and more for every year. That's why you have to show that you are rich because you're not so rich anyway, compared to the ones that are not rich at all.

A sign of the times maybe, I can't at all remember this from when I was younger (ha a a long time ago...). Or maybe I was naiv then.


Anonymous Rebecka said ... (9:31 AM) : 

This issue seems to be a bit blown out of proportion now! My hometown is Stockholm and I am happy to spend time with both östermalmers and södermalmers and everyone else. I love fashion and even though we might be a bit pretentious here I think it´s great and inspiring to be able to spot carefully put together outfits every day. I don´t think I know anyone in Stockholm who looks down on a certain style except for my 15-year-old cousin.


Anonymous Ken said ... (11:59 AM) : 

Scott -
You have a point, but I think you need to let people looking at your pictures say what they want to say, and then let others decide. It's a totally fair - if not entirely accurate - to talk about the homogeneity in the way some people dress. You have a different eye than the average person who visits your blog, but I think their point of view is worth respecting as well.


Anonymous cordelia said ... (8:30 PM) : 

Yes, back to the fun. You have the right eye, the mind. Go to Marrakech, the Himalayas, anywhere!
Style is subtle and simple, a natural gift. Not a neighborhood or class issue.
Thank you for showing us the people in the towns of the world, everyday.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:25 AM) : 

The classperspective isnt applicable anymore. people in södermalm earn just as much cash as in östermalm. Södermalm is invaded by people trying to be "workingclass" and "bohemian" in the way they dress. Check the pricetags. Its BS. The difference is, in östermalm people might ignore you, but still not be rude to you if you look "södermalm" but in Södermalm you might be harassed if dressing to "exclusive"! happended to me twice, and I crossdress all the time. Sthlm is att very small place, you cant stick to one tiny part.
great comment and nice work! it´s been an honour to have you here!


Blogger Ellen said ... (1:27 PM) : 

So right on...That´s what makes me embarassed, that fashion is a contest here in this country. During my 2 years in N.Y.C, I really appreciated people who followed their own sense of style, instead of following the "neighbourhood norm". So there´s a lot more to be done. Thank you for beeing here in Stockholm, photographing all our beautiful people, letting us see with our own eyes that style doesn´t depend on where you live!


Blogger Sharokh said ... (9:49 AM) : 

You dont know how right you are! perfectly said
//from Stockholm


Anonymous Daniel said ... (10:37 AM) : 

I'm late, but I feel I have to comment. People ascribe this to 'class' and one American implied that it's because Sweden is less democratic. My god. It is because Sweden is so much more democratic, and there are no essential class differences that this happens. To argue about fashion in this way is a pure luxury. In a sentence; everyone can afford to care about how they dress!

"L'ennui commun à toute créature bien née". But it's long since it was a privilege for the well-born, as Hjalmar Söderberg pointed out already in 1905.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:22 PM) : 

There is something that only exist in Sweden, and for which I sometimes hate it for. It's called "Jantelagen". Easy translated to english, it's "the law of jealousy". As of the name, it means that it's never allowed to let anyone being better/having a nicer style than you, without bullshit-talking about that ones... Therefore, it's not only a behaviour you can experience beetwen Söder/Östermalm, but in the whole of Sweden. Sadly but true. I'm living for changing that, I hate "Jantelagen"!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:23 PM) : 

Pfft. There's more to Sweden than just Stockholm. Believe me!


Anonymous bc, canada. said ... (12:44 AM) : 

im borned and raised in sweden but lived in canada for about 3 years. the reason i prefer bc to stockholm has a lot to do about the creativity. swedes are very opinionated and if you dont dress or act a certain way you're pretty much judged. dont get me wrong, i love sweden and its fashion sense but bc gives me my space to be creative.
having that said, i think you're doing the right thing by bringing this issue up. people need to chill! dress by the way you feel and live where you feel at home. people are different, embraze it.

ps. i adore your work.


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