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Speaking to Emily Oberg, the face behind Sporty & Rich

We caught up with the founder of one of the hottest brands around

  • Tayler Willson
  • 27 April 2020

Emily Oberg is a name you’ve probably heard of. Whether it’s thanks to her 300,000+ Instagram followers or her clothing label Sporty & Rich, you’re probably aware of her work. Starting out as a printed magazine covering design, love and everything creative, Sporty & Rich has taken this influence and morphed into one of the hottest brands on the planet.

To find out more about everything, we caught up with Emily herself to chat about the brand, the face behind it, her influences and how she’s coping with the effects of COVID-19 and isolation.

Tell us a little about you...

I'm a Canadian living in Paris and Los Angeles who loves to eat and swim. I hate cold weather, coffee, alcohol and Indian food. I believe in working smart and not hard and my goal is to live a life of leisure.

How did you end up in fashion?

I have been obsessed with fashion since I was a young child. My Aunt was a buyer and I looked up to her a lot, she was always so stylish and put together. I was never into toys or video games, normal kid things. I would always ask for clothes or shoes. I guess the fashion world from the outside seemed so appealing to me when I was young and didn't know much about it.

When I was in high school I thought I wanted to be in PR, now I know that job is a nightmare. Then I wanted to be a buyer, but I was never good with numbers. Later, I wanted to be a stylist, but it's too labour intensive for me. I've found the right balance. I absolutely love what I do and am living a dream I never knew I had.

How did your brand Sporty and Rich come about?

It started as a mood board account and expanded into a magazine. I wanted a place to document all my references and old images and inspiration. It was just an easy way for me to refer back to whenever I needed it. I guess I built this visual identity for the brand before I even knew it was going to become a brand. I think that resonated with people, and the clothing is an extension of that.

Sporty & Rich has an almost retro feel about it. Heavyweight fabrics, minimal yet stylish designs. What's the inspiration behind this?

Vintage 80s and 90s sportswear and luxury wear of course. Princess Diana, athletes, Slim Aarons, Dieter Rams, all the good ones. I romanticize the past in a way that sometimes I get depressed about living in the present. I've always been this way, but it can be a sad way to live, always wishing you were somewhere else in time. I've learned to accept the present as it is, but I try to bring back as many elements of the past as I can. I am a hopeless romantic I guess. But I just don't think there's anything especially good or interesting about the time we're living in - I guess that's why so many people and brands take inspiration from the past, because it was so much cooler than it is now.

I think this is the first era where people are doing that as much as they are right now. I don't think in the 90s anyone tried to dress like they did in the 20s or 30s. No. They just loved the 90s. Now, almost everyone tries to dress like they're in the 80s and 90s or even 70s. I don't think our ancestors will look back at this century and think it was especially stylish.

Tell us about your latest collection...

It's influenced by the past, bright colours, a childish aesthetic, elegant women and men, 90s sports clubs and gyms, country clubs and tennis clubs. Health and wellness is also a big reference point for me. I think clothing should be a vehicle to tell a story or a message. I think the message of staying active, taking care of your body and being kind to yourself is always important and relevant.

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May 1 🍦🍋

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How has COIVD-19 affected your brand, if it has at all?

I think more and more people are realising it's the essentials that matter. With more and more people losing their job, they aren't focused on spending money on clothes they might not need. My business has flourished during this time because it is so simple and its comfy basics that people want to wear at home. It's nothing extravagant or unnecessary. No cocktail dresses or evening gowns, bedazzled shoes or costume jewellery. Those things will be less and less prevalent as we navigate through this time.

How are you coping with isolation?

Some days are harder than others. I have good days and bad. I try to do a mini yoga session every morning, then go for my daily walk. Lately I've been going for 2 walks a day because it's been so nice outside and the sun is so healing for me. I have a lot of projects and collaborations on the go so I'm always busy working on those. With the brand, there is always something to do. I cook and clean a lot, I call my friends, workout, online shop, the usual.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Mostly jazz and Brazilian music. I'm not into anything new really, except a few songs from the PND album. To me, everything sounds like it was made for Tik-Tok, Instagram or Twitter. It's music made to go viral and to become a meme. That's so sad and depressing. It's all so soulless. I just realised I'm sounding too pessimistic, you must have caught me on an off day!

What's your isolation outfit?

Leggings and a sports bra and Sporty & Rich hoodie or crew neck.

Find out more about Sporty & Rich and check out the latest collection here: www.sportyandrich.com

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Tayler Willson is Mixmag's Digital Fashion Editor, follow him on Twitter

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