Q&A with Alexander Ohlson aka @indigovein on Instagram
There’s a special brotherly love-hate relationship between Denmark and Sweden. We share hundreds of years of history and we can (almost) understand each other’s languages. But like brothers, we like to compete.
But while Danes like to think that Swedes think they’re better than us (which they are in many cases), there’s one area we can’t really debate Sweden’s supremacy over Denmark; denim.
Just look at the number of influential denim brands and jeans makers they’ve fostered over the years: Gul & Blå, Acne, Nudie, Cheap Monday, Indigofera. Do I need to keep going?
When you log onto Instagram, the pattern repeats itself. I know of many more Swedish denimheads than I do Danes. There’s just a very different culture up there. Or maybe there’s indigo in the water they drink?
One of the Swedish blue bloods I’ve known for about three years is Alexander Ohlson aka @indigovein. Here’s his story, his routines on Instagram, and his denim fascination.
What’s your story?
Full name: Alexander Ohlson
Birth year: 1989
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Profession: Communications officer
I grew up in a small town called Lindesberg. I got bored pretty fast though, studied media and communications at University and moved to London for a while. There, I worked for Levi’s on Regent Street and picked up my interest in denim, its history and craftsmanship. Thanks, Scott!
Except for my denim craze, I’ve enjoyed craft beer for a couple of years now, and keep on getting more and more fascinated by coffee. Not that surprising really, much like with denim, it’s the craftsmanship and passion that has pulled me in.
A couple of years ago I moved to Gothenburg because I got a new job. Although it’s Sweden’s second biggest city, the atmosphere here is relaxed and heavily influenced by its heritage as an industrial seaport. It’s like living in a big city with a small town feel to it. Great beer, coffee, a lively music scene, the sea, and a ‘grade A’ denim shop. I can see myself living here for some time.
Alexander’s Instagram Feed
Thomas: How did it all start with your Instagram feed?
Alexander: Originally, the idea of my Instagram feed was just, like it is for many other bloggers, to draw more people to my home page. I had a plan to share my experiences with Japanese denim greatness with others instead of just hogging my collection to myself.
T: Why Instagram? What are your goals?
A: Instagram is an easy medium to explore and connect on. And depending on what level of content you want to produce, it can be both quick and dirty. For a niche interest like denim that spans across the globe, I think Instagram is a great way to find new interesting things and mates to discuss and share experiences with.
Since I started, my goals with the Instagram account have changed a bit. My blog doesn’t get much love these days, and I don’t really have a plan to make it into something bigger. It’s just plain old fun catching up with people that share the same passion; be it craftsmen, brands or others struck by the denim craze.
But, I’m still holding on to this naive idea that a super nerdy feed like mine can inspire someone to buy fewer better things instead of cheap fashion shit that you wear a couple of times and then buy something new. Why would you ever want to support a business that doesn’t give a shit about its employees, the environmental impact they have, or simply doing it for the money and nothing else? I really don’t get it!
T: On a daily basis, how much time do you spend on Instagram?
A: Not so much, to be honest. My best guesstimate would be around 30 minutes these days. Often, it’s the same old story, so I don’t feel the need to scroll through the feed all the time.
T: Which tools do you use? How do you take your photos?
A: I only my smartphone and decent lighting. Lighting is everything. I use my smartphone because of the convenience. It’s easy, quick, and the quality isn’t too bad. At least it’s up to Instagram standards.
T: Do you make it a priority to post on a regular schedule?
A: I used to try to post once a day. Now I’m just too lazy and very inconsistent, posting when I feel like it. But I think it’s a good thing to post regularly. It’s definitely a necessity if you want to grow and drive more traffic to your webpage.
Since a pair of jeans doesn’t miraculously evolve from day to day, it forces you to be more creative and find new ways to post interesting content on a regular basis.
T: What’s your editorial flow?
A: I’m a sucker for small details. A big part of my feed is close-ups. I don’t really have a process or plan though. I find a detail I think is interesting or gorgeous enough to share. Maybe someone else will like it too. Maybe someone has even never seen it before.
T: What are your favourite locations to take photos?
A: Lacking a more photogenic location, I often use the workbench in my kitchen. I have a clean, strong white light in the kitchen, and together with natural light from the big ass windows next to it, the pictures turn out decent enough. I’m not very picky though, haha.
T: Do you repost?
A: No, not yet at least. So far, I have used my Instagram to share the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained from my collection, the people I’ve met, and places I’ve visited. Reposting doesn’t fill a purpose for me the way I use Instagram at the moment.
Alexander’s Denim Style and Passion
T: What is your favourite feature on jeans?
A: Now that’s a pretty tough question and something that’s constantly changing.
Right now, it’s cinch backs. I couldn’t even stand them a couple of years ago, but now it’s the bee’s knees, and I like looking into different styles and solutions, both on contemporary Japanese denim like the TCB 20’s and Denimbridge S Antiques, but also vintage workwear.
T: How do you wash your denim?
A: I wash my jeans pretty much every two-three months from the get-go. I can’t stand stinking jeans!
I just turn them inside out and shove them in the washing machine with my other clothes on a regular 40°C cycle. And I get more subtle, vintage-style fades that are oh so good as a reward.
It’s jeans! Though sometimes pricey, just treat them as clothes. If they can’t stand up to it, I’d say they clearly have a quality issue.
T: What’s your favourite fit? And what’s your least favourite fit?
A: Ooe Yofukuten’s OA02 fit. It’s a 60’s cut, and hands down the best-fitting jeans I’ve ever had, and possibly also ever will have.
Comfy as hell with a decent top block and a leg width that gives it a smart look. But still wide enough for a pair of Engineers. It’s the ultimate pair of jeans that work with anything and everything in my wardrobe.
I can enjoy both wider and slimmer fits. The dealbreaker is when the rise is too low; I can’t stand it anymore. It’s too bad because there are some damn fine jeans out there with a low rise that I would love to try and see evolve first-hand.
T: Which boots and leather goods do you wear with your denim?
A: Last year, I got a pair of Lone Wolf Engineers in Tokyo. Saying I’ve been sleeping in them since then isn’t that far from the truth. They’re very comfy and I couldn’t be more pleased. They will be my companion for a long, long time.
It’s always fun to support small businesses and people doing what they love. Thanks to my good friend Michel aka @volvo_sufu, I discovered Ian, the man behind @Hubb_leather. I really like the look of his stuff and got myself a nice belt in British bridle. Ian is a great guy, and I will continue to support him.
T: Which sneakers do you wear?
A: I grew up with low top Converse but the last few years I’ve only gotten myself old school Vans.
T: Favourite item that’s not denim or leather?
A: Hands down, my Mister Freedom Drover blouse. It’s the best damn thing Christophe ever made. An indigo-dyed wool jacket in a fantastic design. Can it get any better?
T: Where do you buy your gear?
I think it’s important to support your local dealer if you have the chance. It’s a luxury being able to try on and talk about quality denim and clothing in the global economy we have today. Everyone doesn’t have the possibility to buy local and there’s nothing wrong with that but for us that have the chance, I think it’s important to support businesses that focus on quality goods.
I also buy a lot of gear second hand on eBay and the like. Hunting for gems that’re no longer in production is a fun part of the hobby. Bonus points for less environmental impact.
T: What styling tips would you give your followers if they wanted your style?
A: If someone tells you a denim tux and chambray shirt doesn’t cut it, they’re clearly wrong.
… Want To Meet More Blue Bloods?
That’s it for the fourth instalment in the series of Q&A with blue bloods! Be sure to follow Alexander on Instagram!
Next interview with is fort_box_ (click the link to read it!).