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Monday, May 21, 2012

SwedLife Went From a Streetwear and Hip-Hop Blog to a Career For its Founders

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 6:07 AM

  • Courtesy of Seth Feldman, Lucas Olivieri, and their four-legged friend.

Ed. Musicians may get all the groupies, but there is more to a city's music world than people wielding instruments. To name a few: venue and studio owners, show promoters, assorted enthusiasts and -- the subject of this series -- bloggers.

In Music Blogs of St. Louis, we'll talk to the humans behind the computer screens about who they are, why they do it and some highlights of their experience.

Swedlife is more than just a blog. It was an idea that started with a blog in November of 2009, then manifested into a storefront located on 6378 Delmar Blvd last July. Initially started as a means to ease the ennui of higher education, ("I'm not gonna lie. I made a lot of posts in class") Wash U graduates Seth Feldman and Lucas Olivieri turned a hobby into a business.

In a thirty minute phone interview with RFT music, the men behind Swedlife shared their inspirations, described the hip-hip community, and talked about the streetwear culture they love.

Blair Stiles: How did you guys meet? When you were WashU students?

Lucas: Seth and I were both in the Business School at WashU. We took a couple classes together sophomore year. Really got to know each other Junior year. Became friends and always sat with each other when we could.

Where did the idea for the blog come from?

Seth: I originally started the blog Christmas break, junior year of college, a little more than two and a half years ago as a way to look through all the content out there and really picking the pieces that we were really into and putting them into one place. Not everyone wants to spend their time reading through the nine thousand post on a lot of hip-hop blogs and we were already kind of doing that. So we put our favorite things in one place. I originally started the blog by myself. I didn't take it super seriously for a while but when Lucas started writing for the blog too we started covering a lot more street art and street fashion and that was when we started taking things seriously--like a cultural hub. When we were approaching the end of school we really decided that fashion was the element of street culture that we were trying to be the most involved in and then we opened the store.

Which hip-hop blogs were you reading?

Seth: I definitely read a lot of different hip-hop blogs but my favorites were the Ill Roots kids. They were awesome. They were super young. They put themselves right in the middle of everything. And now they've expanded from a music blog into producing, music videos...they've become more involved in producing original content. The Hundreds has always been a blog that has been incredibly influential for us. 2 Dope Boyz...

Lucas: Creative TV. That's a really dope one. They're more like web based interviews and highlights. But, Hypebeast, Highsobiety--that's a great streetwear blog to get a little bit of everything. The big blogs have a lot of content that a lot of people view. It's that world wide mass appeal. Everyone all over the world can view it. I had my own involvement with other blogs, too. I worked on stuff during school. I started an online student magazine called Drop Knowledge. Having exposure to that really helped a lot.

Did the Hundreds start out as a blog then move itself into a storefront? Kind of like what you guys did...

Seth: Yeah. They definitely were a brand that were incredibly influential. They enthusiastically spread culture through their blog, and the also have a printed magazine. They opened the [streetwear] culture up from an exclusive, like, "If you can't come to my store in Tokyo, New York, or LA I don't really care," thing into a streetwear culture that is self-selecting, and a read much more in depth blog post versus a commercial on TV. The people who want to know about it, know a lot about it and self select through that high volume of information. I think the way The Hundreds took on the internet and really opened the culture up is a big part of us having a streetwear boutique in St. Louis, Missouri.

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