From doing aerial silks with Erykah Badu to being the former creative director of KITH women’s, Emily Oberg is ever-evolving. The Sporty & Rich founder has built a fascinating career by intertwining her loves of streetwear, fashion, and health. With this busy, innovative lifestyle, it's no wonder that G-SHOCK tapped Oberg to help launch their latest women’s line, GMAS140, by making her the star of “24 Hours of Toughness," which takes viewers into the unconventional routines of three very different women. The watch itself reinterprets '90s music devices using colors that go perfectly with the latest hyped-up sneakers, making it perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle and a great match for its campaign star. Shortly after returning from a trip to Taormina, Oberg spoke to L’Officiel USA about the docuseries-style campaign, how she implements daily self-care, and what advice she would give to today’s up-and-coming creatives.
Trey Gaskin: I know you’re traveling right now. What are you up to and how important is travel to your creative process?
Emily Oberg: I was just on vacation in Italy for two weeks with my boyfriend, and it was the most magical place. We went to a small city on the coast of Sicily called Taormina, and it was my favorite place I’ve ever been. In Italy, everything is beautiful: the language, the people, the food, the architecture, the sea, everything. Travel is important to me because I’m very affected by my surroundings. I love being surrounded by beauty, and something as simple as the color of a plate or beach towel can inspire me to make something.
TG: How did this collaboration with G-SHOCK come about?
EO: They reached out to me to be part of the campaign, and I’ve always worn G-SHOCK so of course, I was interested.
TG: What was the process like working with G-SHOCK?
EO: It was super easy and seamless. They were good about listening to me and who I am and what it was I wanted to portray. I like when brands listen and want you to be you rather than make you into something you’re not.
TG: You’ve been in the streetwear industry now for over five years. How do you think this field has made strides for women and what progress still needs to happen?
EO: Some men’s brands have expanded their offering for women and we are seeing a few brands geared toward women specifically, but there still isn’t much. This is why I think Sporty & Rich has potential and there’s room for it to grow because we are catering to both, but more so to the female market. Men can wear what we make, but since I am a female and the world of S&R is through my eyes, it’s more feminine than masculine.
TG: You talk about finding inspiration from everywhere, where there any specific references you had when designing this collection?
EO: I’m always inspired by the past. I’m not very inspired by anything that’s going on today because we are living in such a weird time of consumption and style in general. For this release, I found inspiration in bright colors from the '70s and '80s, vintage Ellesse and Esprit, and old health clubs from the '90s in New York City. They had such good branding and are so iconic to me. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and JFK Jr. are some of my style icons and to me, those clubs are so them. In old paparazzi photos, they’re often leaving clubs like this and they were just such an important part of the elite Upper West Side crowd of NYC in the '90s, which I love. I also was thinking about wellness and health, which I’ve gotten deeper into this past year. With the brand, I was able to use it as a vehicle to promote positive messaging like drinking more water, being active, and self-care. I think it’s important that people take care of themselves because it’s such a priority in my own life and brands aren't talking about that enough.
TG: This campaign is all about your unconventional lifestyle. Burnout is so commonplace in the fashion industry. How do you implement daily self-care and time management into your life?
EO: I decided to put myself and health and my personal life over work because I was getting to a point where work was becoming my life, and to me, that isn’t cool. Life is so short. It’s important we make time to enjoy it and be happy above anything else. I make sure I always have time to eat a proper meal and to work out, and then work comes after. It’s important not to do too much at once, and to space things out. Stress is the worst thing for your body and mind, so I like to make sure I build my life around not stressing out and making sure I always have time for me. Part of this is working in a smart and efficient way and saying no to things you don’t really want to do. It’s not always worth the extra check. I’d rather have free time and peace of mind than an extra amount of money at the end of the day.
Image courtesy of G-SHOCK
TG: What does it mean to you for something to be timeless?
EO: To stand the tests of time and to be as relevant years from now as it is today.
TG: Do you remember the first G-SHOCK you ever got?
EO: Yes! I was obsessed with G-SHOCK when I was younger. In the days of peak streetwear, having a G-SHOCK was a crucial part of an outfit. They did so many collabs back then, it was just as important as having the latest sneakers. I had this bright blue and yellow one and I loved it.
TG: What advice would you give to the upcoming generation of creatives?
EO: Don’t overwork yourself. You don’t need to do a million things at once to become successful. Do a few things, and do them well. Prioritize your health and your happiness over everything else. Life is not about working and we should not live to work.
TG: You just released a t-shirt under your brand Sporty & Rich that reads “Solutions for a better planet." What is an easy solution everyone could use to create a better planet?
EO: There’s so many little things you can do in your daily life. First, reducing your consumption of things. I don’t buy a lot of things anymore because I just got to a point where I had way too much and it started to bore me. I got rid of half my belongings last year and now I only have what I need and absolutely love. The whole philosophy for the brand is less but better. Buy fewer things that are high quality and will last you a lifetime rather than accumulating a bunch of small, cheap, random things that will be out of style in a few months' time. I want everything I make to be timeless. It’s simple and all made in Los Angeles, and the quality is good because I want people to have these pieces forever.
TG: Since we are talking about time: if you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it?
EO: Make homemade pasta!
TG: What’s next for you, and when should we expect the next issue of Sporty & Rich?
EO: More products and collaborations to come from Sporty & Rich, and also a new brand I’m launching soon in the wellness space. The next issue of Sporty and Rich comes out Friday, August 23.