Clad in black skinny jeans and an oversized, asymmetric woollen overcoat, Elin Kling stands a lone figure in a sea of head-to-toe prints and clashing colours. While her fashion blogger contemporaries attend international fashion weeks sporting vibrant, printed ensembles and wielding hot-off-the-runway accessories in the hope of attracting the attention of the world’s street-style photographers, Kling takes a quieter approach; a good pair of skinny jeans and a leather biker jacket do nicely.
This Swede’s finely-tuned version of relaxed Scandinavian cool has been her making. The fashion world’s infatuation with a northern European aesthetic – cue leather leggings, artfully dishevelled cashmere jumpers and featherweight silk-jersey T-shirts, all in a neutral palette of black, white, putty and grey taking over our wardrobes – is, in part, down to Kling.
Growing up on a farm in rural Mariestad – a lakeside village located mid-way between Gothenburg and Stockholm – the glamorous world of fashion shows, front-row seats and after-parties seemed a world away. But Kling had her sights set; she moved to Stockholm and landed a job heading up the fashion department of Sweden’s second biggest newspaper Expressen, and before long – aided by her model looks and innate sense of what others wanted to wear – a career in television soon followed.
Today, she runs her successful fashion blog, Style by Kling, from her light and airy office in New York’s SoHo. Her take on bohemian minimalism is channelled via a wardrobe packed with Tibi cardigans, Frame Denim skinny jeans, Equipment silk shirts, Eddie Borgo jewellery, polished Céline aviators and black cotton T-shirts.
Asked to summarise her work, the 29-year-old falters: ‘I honestly would say it’s hard to describe, there are so many facets to what I do.’ Kling is a blogger, but she also wears the following hats: fashion director of her bi-monthly print magazine STYLEBY (published by Swedish media giant Bonnier); the first blogger to collaborate on a clothing line with H&M, in 2011; the face of a digital campaign for Louis Vuitton; and, perhaps most forward thinking of all, co-founder of NowManifest, the digital hosting platform for super-bloggers including Derek Blasberg, Bryan Boy, Anna Dello Russo, Rumi Neely’s Fashion Toast and Industrie magazine. Boasting more than 1.2m unique users a month, the site is considered such an important digital resource that in May 2012, Fairchild Fashion Media (the arm of Condé Nast that publishes Style.com and WWD) bought Fashion Networks International, its mother company. It’s an exhaustive repertoire. Here, she talks to The Style Report about how she does it.
‘For me, there is nothing more important than to feel that I have a home. I’ve lived in New York for two years now, and it took me a while to understand that this wasn’t temporary. If it’s for another year or three? I’ve no idea, time will tell.
‘One thing that has made my life so much easier is my two walk-in wardrobes. I’m trying so hard to keep them organised – but I just can’t help it! I’m never going to be tidy and trust me, even if I find more space, it just feels like I need to fill it with more clothes.
‘I was, let’s say, unique as a child. I can’t think of a particular person, band or celebrity that influenced me growing up. I guess it’s pretty common that you like to fit in as a child, but for me it was the total opposite. I had no interest in that at all.
‘I would say my personal style is pretty effortless. At least, I try to aim for that. I like to stick with my favourite brands. That makes my life so much easier. For AW13, I’m going to be wearing Dalmatian print, pink, light grey and a lot of white. I’m looking forward to wearing some lighter colours.
‘I launched my blog about six years ago. I started Style by Kling because my friend forced me to – I guess I should send him some flowers today! My blog has been an amazing tool for everything else that I do, like STYLEBY, my bi-monthly magazine that I’ve been editing for about for two years now. There’s so many facets to what I do, I honestly would say it’s hard to describe, but it’s never been important to me to have a title.
‘I’m the founder of the European version of NowManifest, named Freshnet. It [a fashion, art, music and food website with blog-hosting platform] became a huge success in Scandinavia and that’s why we want to try to do the same in the US.
‘I love travelling for inspiration. Living in New York is definitely a daily inspiration overdose; I love how women dress here. There’s such a mix of different cultures but everyone still dresses in particular New York-ish style. I also love to go to Paris; no one can look as effortless as a Parisian – you can’t fake it.
‘For me, looking my best is no longer about choice – it’s about work. I balance being healthy with being less healthy; I love my red wine and late dinners, but I also drink a lot of green juices, try to work out at least three times a week and stick to my beauty routines. Detox, retox, as I like to say!
Elin Kling, hanging out in her adopted home, Manhattan
‘In a perfect world, I wake up really early on a Saturday. I’ll have an early breakfast in the West Village where I live, before the city has woken up, in the company of a good magazine and my better half. To start a day like that is more than enough for me.’