Ok, where was I? I guess I should preface a bit by clarifying that I am, in essence, a nerd. Or, if not a nerd officially, I tend to obsess over things I am interested in. Currently that is bicycles. At another time it was cars. There was a moment where is was reptiles, or more specifically, chameleons. But for the majority of my 20s and 30s, it was fashion. And that’s why you’re here, I assume.
So everybody knows Instagram. But how many of you know what Lookbooks.nu was? What if I told you that EVERY one of the original bloggers (the OG word for “influencer” got their fame from a pretty hilariously bad website called Lookbooks.nu. I don’t think I was a member of that website, but I cannot be sure. But I can be sure that I was active on SuperFuture (SuFu) and then StyleZeitgeist. StyleZeitgeist is where I became a snob. And StyleZeitgeist is where I met many people who I now consider to be friends. SZ was an online forum, a community, which was very small, very niche and, at least in my opinion, very cool. I would follow the predominantly male members posts, and form e-friendships with strangers with whom I had similar (somewhat elitist) interests. But for almost a decade, I never met a single one of them in person.
So here I am, in Oslo, Norway. It’s August of 2023 and I’ve shared my location with a friend to meet me on the southern outskirts of Oslo to ride into town with me at the end of my solo trek from Copenhagen by bicycle. I’m nearing 950km into my three and a half day journey and I turn the corner at the point where my road begins to trace a leg of Oslo Fjord, and there I find Patrick. Patrick, is dressed in the same brands of cycling clothes that I’m wearing, but he’s at 20km and looks a lot more presentable than me who is closing in on quadruple digits. Patrick flips his bike around and we close the distance to the city and my destination.
Maybe this is a boring story for all of you, but for me this is pretty wild. At this point I’ve known Patrick personally for years and years. We have hung out in Paris numerous times where I have photographed him in his, what I consider to be, perfect outfits. But, I know Patrick from the internet. He’s my internet friend. And now he’s my riding buddy. We’ve run together in Norway and France and probaby Italy and other places. We’ve been to Silencio wearing black object-dyed garments with sterling silver details. We’ve bought and sold things online with one another. But now we are in Oslo, his current home, and I’m telling him that I’m more tired of fashion than I am of the saddle I’m sitting on. He can relate.
So, the thing that brought us together way back when is now, with our interest waning, still a thing we have in common. We are similarly bored. Patrick has become an ultra-distance runner in the last half a decade, and I’ve reverted back to my teenage passion for cycling. He excels at his sport, competing in some of its most acclaimed events around the world As we close the kilometers into the capital, we nerd out over clothes and gear as we always have. But now, at least in person.–AKS