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Mareike Neumann offers Swedish style counsel

Having a strong sense of style requires more than wearing any old t-shirt or listening to mainstream music, says 25-year-old Mareike Neumann. And style is something the Swedes have mastered.

Mareike Neumann offers Swedish style counsel

“I think they are very chic here,” says Neumann, who is originally from Dortmund, Germany. “If you go to the university, in a lot of countries students put on a t-shirt and jeans. Here, a lot of people are very dressed up. They care a lot about their style and how they look, and I think they spend more money on their clothes here.”

Neumann first came to Sweden in 2007 for a semester to study political science in Växjö. She says she loved the country so much she has stayed for two-and-a-half years and now lives in Lund.

But her passion for fashion began long before moving to Sweden. As her mother was a tailor, she grew up with clothing being a regular part of everyday life.

“I have learnt a lot from her,” Neumann says of her mom. “We still talk a lot about it very often.”

Neumann says she finds inspiration in reading magazines in Swedish, English and her native German, plus takes hints from the general public and nightlife crowds. She says Swedes have a distinct style that is clean, neutral, and involves a lot of vintage clothing, but perhaps lack variety.

“I think a lot of people look very similar,” says Neumann. “I would like it if there was more diversity when it comes to style. If someone has a new haircut, in a few months everyone will have a new haircut.”

Her blog offers an insider’s perspective on hot deals, up-and-coming designers, bands to be heard and bargains to be found. Even though she’s a non-Swede, she says foreigners have a lot to learn about Swedish style and their trend-setting ways. She also mentions that fashion plays an often under-appreciated role in society, and can be linked to bigger issues.

“You can see and learn a lot about a society and its people if you look at their style and clothes,” explains Neumann. “If you look at fashion magazines at the moment, for instance, many journalists and designers are referring to the financial crisis.”

“I am aware that fashion is not the most important thing in the world,” she says. “But it’s fun to talk about it.”

See Sweden through Mareike’s Glasses

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Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer

Swedish actor Fabian Bolin, 28, who has appeared in several UK television shows and US movies, has announced to the world that he is cancer-free, just over a month after he was diagnosed.

Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer
Swedish actor Fabian Bolin. Photo: Instagram with permission of Fabian Bolin

The actor and model started the blog on July 1st, just days after being diagnosed with leukaemia – a blood cancer which develops in bone marrow.

“There is a risk that I will not survive,” he posted in both English and Swedish.

But after weeks of gruelling chemo therapy doctors at the Karolinska Institute near Stockholm have revealed that Bolin is expected to return to complete health, the actor told his fans.

“We have just found out from the doctors at Karolinska the following: my entire blood system, and my spinal chord system, is now free from blood cancer. Just to be 100 percent clear to all of you, my beautiful angels: I have survived and killed my cancer,” he wrote in this latest blog entry.

However, the actor is not yet at the end of the road to full recovery. He is set to undergo chemo therapy until February 2016 to ensure the cancer stays out of his system.

“Imagine the feeling in your heart when you've run up a long hill. Have you ever tried that? Or if you've ever been at a gym, if you've done a really hard cardio session. Now, think about how hard the heart beats. If you want to know how I feel, then add about five times to that heart feeling,” wrote the 28-year-old in the blog post published late on Tuesday.

Bolin's heartfelt blog quickly went viral in July after being picked up by several Swedish and international media, including The Local.

“I feel so utterly sad and confused right now. I feel like it's unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams. But, I will not give up,” read one of his earliest entries.

The star is best known for his role as Philipp in Swedish film Snabba Cash in 2010 (released internationally as Easy Money) and Snabba Cash II (2012), his first major parts after quitting a previous career in banking.

He has spent the past few years living in London where he's played small roles in British reality TV show Made in Chelsea and the recently released UK web sci-fi show Kosmos.

READ ALSO: Swedish hunk pens emotional cancer blog

Reacting to the huge social media stir surrounding his blog, he told The Local last month: “the response is the best and most powerful experience ever”.

“I’m in shock but in a good way. It wouldn’t have been possible for all these people to come together without social media. It’s amazing to see how many wonderful people there are out there.” 

Thanks to his contacts in the film and television industry, Bolin said at the time he had already been approached by production companies who are keen on turning his story into a documentary and added that he had received support from many fellow actors, including other Swedes he worked with on Snabba Cash. 

“I decided to let people follow me on my journey from beginning to end and this enormous response makes me feel so empowered,” he said.

Update: In 2019, Fabian Bolin founded the app WarOnCancer together with Sebastian Hermelin to improve mental health for everyone affected by cancer.