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Meet Emily Oberg, the woman rewriting the rules of streetwear

Started off at Complex, Oberg led KITH Women before founding her own lifestyle brand

Meet Emily Oberg, the woman rewriting the rules of streetwear Started off at Complex, Oberg led KITH Women before founding her own lifestyle brand

It's not easy to explain exactly what Emily Oberg does in her life, but she definitely knows how to do it. Influencer, stylist, creative, designer, Oberg managed to gain a prominent position in a male-dominated industry like the one of streetwear thanks to her determination, taste and an undisputed talent. After her debut at Complex and one year at KITH Women, Oberg spends most of her time working on Sporty & Rich, her own lifestyle brand, characterised by a sophisticated and neat aesthetic, which translates into a printed magazine once a year. The encounter between streetwear and luxury is perfectly embodied in this Canadian girl who's changing the rules of the industry from inside. 

Emily Oberg was born in Calgary, Canada, 25 years ago, from Filippino father and American mother. She got passionate about fashion, and streetwear in particular, during high school, when she would spend her afternoons on streetwear forums online. Her father, a kind of proto sneakerhead, was her first style icon, as well as her boyfriends, picked also depending on their fashion taste, and, quite surprisingly, Olivia Palermo. Emily started off as a stylist before moving to New York to work at Complex, where she became a video anchor, protagonist of  contents like the Get Sweaty series, workout videos with millions of views, which saw as guest stars even Cardi B and DJ Khaled. Sport and a healthy lifestyle are two very important components of Emily's life, who thanks to the selfies and the workout videos posted on her own Instagram page began to gain an increasing number of followers, turning in fact into an influencer, even though she hates this word. She reached the peak of popularity with another video, entitled Sold Out: The Underground Economy of Supreme Resellers, which digged into the resell market, causing a few hatred reactions for Emily. 

The real turning point in Emily's career reflects an important moment in the streetwear world, which is gradually opening to the women's market, an ever larger market. In February 2017, Oberg is appointed creative director of KITH Women, a real giant of the business, through the will of the founder Ronnie Flieg. Oberg was chosen because she represented exactly what female streetwear should be. 

I think the women's side needs a voice and a direction from somebody who will be wearing the product. She has great taste and I think she fits our aesthetic and where we’re going as a brand. Ronnie Flieg

Emily designs vibrant, sophisticated, colorful, minimal collections, that become immediately the object of desire of all the girls fan of her effortlessy chic and sporty aesthetic. Along with this job, Oberg expresses her creativity in a moodboard on the Sporty & Chic Instagram page, which, as the months passed, turned into a real lifestyle brand. And that's exactly because she wanted to dedicate more of her time to this project that Emily announced her departure from KITH after roughly a year. 

The Sporty & Chic page is a vision board featuring '90s models, architecture, interior design, ad campaigns, simply what inspires and shapes Emily's imagery, with a particular focus on the female body. The aesthetic of the moodboard is not too different from the one of JJJJound, characterised by a grey palette and unexpected but always cool pictures. Started as a side project, Emily decided to turn it into something physical: a magazine. More than 60 pages ranging from interviews, essays and photography, to architecture, design and pure fashion

I wanted something physical, tangible. I love buying magazines, they have a longevity and a staying power that an online post will never have. Reposting and blogging images is cool, but creating them is something totally different. I was definitely inspired by things I saw online, and I think that comes through in the spreads; the way they're shot, styled, the people I chose to work with, and the overall look and feel. 

Oberg has a very specific vision, minimal and simple but different and new. Fashion shoots portray streetwear brands like Vans, CDG and Bape, but in an unprecedented way. She's mainly inspired by The Gentlewoman, "a Bible for tasteful women". Oberg's final aim is to turn Sport & Chic into an agency or a design house. In the meantime, she has designed a series of T-shirts, dad hats and sweatshirts with the brand's moniker. 

Emily Oberg was able to prove that she's more than just a pretty face from the Internet. On the contrary, she used her image and her following to achieve what she really wanted. Her story shows that being an influencer could mean more than simply creating useless capsule collections or getting paid to sponsor products, but it could be a real starting point for a career in the fashion business. Moreover, slowly and without giving up her taste, Oberg gained a prominent role in a male-dominated industry, taking it into a new and unprecedented future