I don't know where have you been at the dawn of online street style, but I was following Hel-looks.com. The oddball, unapologetic style of its Finnish characters was captivating and different, and their little captions, way way before Humans of New York made the format into Internet gold - were inspiring.
I would frequent the website, especially before traveling abroad during winter - those bundled-up Finns always provided great ideas for layering in style. Imagine my delight, then, when I found out that Hel-Looks creator and photographer Liisa Jokinen moved to San Francisco, following her husband' start-up acquisition by Facebook (what else?). I had to meet her.
"People warned me SF isn't a style capital, but I didn't get discouraged", she says with a shy smile. We're sitting in Dolores Park Cafe in the Mission, her current home. Soon after unpacking the suitcases, Liisa grabbed her camera and headed to the streets, to gather materials for the new and exciting street style blog SF-Looks. "It was obvious I'm going to continue with the blog", she says. "It's a great way to meet people. Everyone are so friendly here, smiling all the time".
On SF-Looks casual SF residents came to replace eccentric Helsinki style lovers, and Liisa likes it. "My blog became so familiar in Finland, that sometimes people would think it's 'too cool' for them", she says. Here, individualistic folks are happy to be snapped. "I'm looking for something I haven't seen before", she explains. "Something unique".
Although the long daylight hours and the pleasant weather make her job easier, some novelties are not as welcome. Liisa missed boiled potatoes, and Finnish straightforwardness. "When people offer to meet and have coffee, they don’t always mean it. The Finns don't say much, but if they do - hey really stand behind it". Besides a no-nonsense attitude to social niceties, which I also often miss in sunny California, Liisa loves swimming, arts and sports. Oh, and silver pants! Here are a few of her local favorites.
Liisa's Favorite Things:
The Mission Pool is a favorite - I swim there all the time, and it's pretty affordable with a clip-card!"
"I often go to Tartine, the bar and the bakery. I order smoked potatoes, of all things - I miss them here!"
"The Painted Bird second hand in the Mission is great - this is where I bought my silver pants"
"I love Press, the Mission bookstore specializing in art books and prints" (this print is sold there)