Less, but Better – Emily Oberg
With nostalgia driven inspiration, Emily Oberg is living and creating by the motto “less but better”. What started as an Instagram moodboard of dreamy vintage snapshots has now been nurtured into the cozy, cotton designs of Sporty and Rich. Growing up a daughter of timeless Stussy, Jordan and nikes - brands with incredible archives - Oberg has curated silhouettes to not only be sustainable and durable, but to be the pieces that will become part of your essential list. Read on to discover Emily’s thoughts on influencer culture, LA and Paris to bags of airport candy.
Roden Gray: Do you find it hard finding sustainable and suitable factories to produce your products?
Emily Oberg: Luckily I live in LA where there's a ton of local factories and sustainability is on everyone's mind, so that makes it a lot easier. Also, I'm so very lucky to have a boyfriend who has his own amazing brand and who has an incredible knowledge of factories and production in general, so he helps a lot with the brand and I really look to him when producing new items and finding the best of the best.
RG: Social media’s influence on brands is more prominent than ever what’s your stance on this?
EO: I think social media has ruined fashion in a lot of ways because there are so many terrible brands that do well just because an influencer wears it. That's not a barometer for good design or good products. Everyone can start a brand these days as long as they have access to someone with a following that can wear it and promote it for them. That said, I think there is still a good amount of people who care about quality and thoughtful imagery and a strong visual identity for a brand. With Sporty & Rich my personal platform definitely helps it but I've also spent a lot of time and effort into making it a special platform and place where people from all over the world can source inspiration or just feel good by looking at the photos on it. And the product isn't bad, at least I don't think so ha!
RG: Growing up what brands/ creative outlooks grabbed your attention and has stuck with you?
EO: My dad was always into streetwear and sneakers so from a young age he taught me what was cool and how to dress. He's been wearing Stussy and Nikes and Jordan's since he was in highschool, and then when he got older he was and still is heavy into Patagonia and Arcteryx. I'm from Canada and he's an outdoors guys. He fishes, plays hockey, hikes, camps, bike rides, so he actually needs all this technical gear and knows a lot about it. So he always educated me on that sort of stuff. And then when I was 14 I was super into blogs and nerding out over streetwear and new obscure brands and the latest collabs.
I was a hypebeast for sure. So I always studied up on all of these things. I loved Stussy, Married to the Mob, Fuct, X Large, all the brands that did it first. I also grew up on tumblr. That was like the bible for me, and even Blogspot which was before that. There were so many good sources of images online and they've really stuck with me till this day.
Sporty & Rich
RG: Being constantly surrounded by big fashion houses and so many new emerging brands how do you think S&R stays relevant?
EO: I've always had such a hard time knowing what I want to do with Sporty & Rich. At first I was just making merch for fun and to support myself because I was broke when I first moved to New York. And I really wanted it to be a print magazine before anything else. I was also so uninspired and not motivated to make product with all the brands that are out there, I didn't want to compete or be in this big arena with a million other people doing the same thing but I've realized I'm not doing the same thing as them and I have my own lane and I think there's people out there who want Sporty & Rich product. I'm not here to be the most inventive brand, or to make the most uniquely designed pieces.
My life philosophy is less but better. I wanna make good, simple product that's functional, wearable but also beautiful and timeless and chic. I want to create daily uniforms for people like myself who want a few really good things in their closet, rather than endlessly accumulating things that you won't wear in a year or two from now. We're playing the long game here.
RG: Have you always had a love for vintage clothes, or would you say being surrounded by constant consumerism it’s just a more sustainable way to shop?
I've always loved vintage things because I think the past is so much cooler than today. It's a bonus that vintage shopping is sustainable, but I do have a love for old things, old places. The style of today is just so different from back then, things can be recreated but they can't be duplicated. I also love the hunt, and finding things that no one else will have. I also love the feeling of worn in clothes, they're way comfier in general and to me comfort always has to come first otherwise you won't look good.
RG: Moving from Vancouver to New York to LA to Paris would you say the change of scenery and tempo of the city shapes your tone for your collections?
EO: Europe in general is definitely the most inspiring place in the world. There's just so much history and culture and taste that's come from Europe, so now that I live there part time it's definitely effected me. I would say my taste has become a lot more refined and mature. I will always love sneakers and a good sweatsuit, but I've also developed an appreciation for elegant and chic things. Style always changes and we as people are always evolving so it's natural that this happens. In terms of the collections, I would say my favorite places right now are LA and Paris and they equally inspire what I'm making.
RG: We’ve noticed that you find inspiration in old films and photos whether it’s Patrick Bateman in American psycho or princess Dianna in a casual leisure outfit, what draws you to these aesthetics?
EO: I just have a strong attachment to the past that's unexplainable. In general, I'm so inspired by the past. Looking back at different time periods makes me feel so happy and also sad in a way because things are no longer that way anymore and the world has changed. In general, the aesthetic and taste of the era we are living in isn't great. It certainly won't be remembered like the 70s or 80s when people in the future look back on us.
Maybe it's because I didn't live through these times that I find them so special and I romanticize them in such a way, but the look of the 80s or the look of the 90s is just something so cool I can't describe why. It's a feeling you get when you watch these movies or see these images.
RG: What’s your go to airport snack healthy and or guilty pleasure?
EO: I try to fast on most flights otherwise my stomach is a disaster when I land. But if I do eat and I wanna be healthy, I'll do a yogurt or a salad with some protein. For guilty pleasure, I'm a candy addict. I've cut way down because it was a problem, but I used to buy a bag of sour worms or skittles or gummy bears and eat it before I even take off.
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