My First Fashion Icon: Emily Oberg

Recently, I started looking back at my introduction to fashion. What ideas and people developed my taste, and what truly launched my obsession with clothing? I think a lot of people who are into fashion today can agree that their early days in the community started off in streetwear; mine did too. Streetwear, but more specifically, over-the-top Hypebeast style, was all the craze back in the mid-2010’s. The reselling website era began; GOAT, Grailed, and StockX all launched during this time. Complex Media Network was dominating the field and became an established, well-known organization that brought fashion and pop culture-related content to the youth. 

Complex became a Bible to follow. The content they posted guided the tastes of many young people aspiring to be a part of the fashion community. In 2016, 15-year-old Anastasia discovered the Complex Youtube channel, more specifically the Supreme lineup interviews that were always hosted by the same interviewer, Emily Oberg. I didn’t know it at the time, and I think it took a while to get to this conclusion, but Emily Oberg is my first and original fashion inspiration. 

Emily grew up in Calgary, Canada, and worked freelance jobs in modelling and styling until she was noticed and hired by Complex in 2015. When Emily was at Complex, her most known content was interviewing the people lining up for Supreme drops. Without Emily, I wouldn’t know the value of a Supreme bogo. Her style at Complex perfectly outlined the fashion era of the time: streetwear. She wore a lot of baggy clothes, sneakers, and staple streetwear brands like Stüssy. In a reuploaded 2015 F/W Supreme lineup interview, she is seen in a black bomber jacket, probably the most trendy outerwear piece of that time. 

What is so inspiring about Oberg is that she was a pioneer for women’s streetwear. She makes a great point in her Fashionista interview as she talks about how streetwear fashion is a male-dominated field, and as women, it’s difficult to build strong bonds and connections due to the competition. The fashion industry, but more specifically the streetwear subgroup, still lacks a strong female presence. Although historically it has always been a male-dominated field, I believe streetwear can greatly benefit from female influence, and we’ve definitely seen more women in the community recently. 

After her time at Complex, Oberg takes on a new, challenging role as the creative director for women’s wear at KITH. Creating and designing clothes for an established streetwear brand was a giant step from interviewing Supreme fanatics. However, Oberg had a vision to blend various definitions of femininity with streetwear at KITH. Her first collection dropped in the summer of 2017, which was inspired by the premise of self-love and featured six t-shirts and two hats. Oberg only spent a year at KITH, and in 2018, she parted ways with the brand to focus on Sporty and Rich. 

In her LVR interview, Emily says that when she moved to New York to work at Complex in 2015, she noticed how common it was to have multiple jobs and hustle for a living. NYC culture motivated her to start her own brand, Sporty and Rich. In its early stages, Sporty and Rich started as a moodboard page, and it quickly evolved into a small apparel line and a magazine (no longer in production). However, as Oberg was taking on more work and opportunities, she never gave Sporty and Rich her full attention. It wasn’t until she left her position at KITH in 2018 that Sporty and Rich became Emily’s main focus. What I love about Sporty and Rich is how authentic it is to Emily. Initially starting out as a moodboard page and seamlessly transforming into an apparel and lifestyle brand, If you look at both Emily’s personal and Sporty and Rich’s business pages on Instagram, you can see how aesthetically cohesive they are. Both pages feature hints of streetwear, similar colour schemes, and motifs. Building a brand around personal lifestyle allows Oberg to be passionate and authentic with Sporty and Rich. 

Emily Oberg is my first-ever fashion industry icon, and I relate to her more and more every day. What started as a young Canadian girl making mood boards, writing, and posting on social media is now a successful lifestyle and apparel brand. I think what makes Oberg so likeable and unique to me is the fact that she has a clear aesthetic that she stays true to. While many in the industry chase trends, Oberg has not only been a pioneer for women’s streetwear but has also stayed consistent through her work, which inspires me to do the same.

 Written by: Anastasia Steshkina

Back to blog