5.22.2012

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SWEDISH LABEL OBSCUR


Finally, here's my exclusive interview with Richard Söderberg, the brains behind cult Swedish label Obscur. According to Richard, Obscur is built around on a self-evident principle regarding the design - a garment's true value can only be fully recognized when it is being worn. There's no doubt that Obscur is one of the most exciting contemporary labels around. No wonder it has been consistently getting rave reviews from fashion circles around the globe. I'm a huge fan myself. Hopefully, on my next visit to Copenhagen I get to finally meet Richard. And (crossing fingers) perhaps get a piece or two from Richard's covetable collection before the prices go up!

Anyway, here's my Q&A with Richard courtesy of Marlo Saalmink who I met briefly during Copenhagen Fashion Week.  
JP: Tell me about your latest collection entitled STATIC. What is the inspiration of your collection?
RICHARD: The collection was drawn on the pretext of Static rigid shapes, an alteration of typical silhouettes, enable harnessed movements, whilst encapsulating bearers.

JP: Who wears Obscur? Can you briefly describe the Obscur guy?
RICHARD: I generally like to travel and see people from different cultures wear Obscur in their own individual way. I never cease to get amazed by their new ways of wearing my garments, and it is exactly that feeling that makes me want to continue and inspires me.


JP: What is your aesthetic as a designer? Who primarily influenced your work?
RICHARD: Sincerely, it is not necessarily who but what influenced me. The aesthetic is never a fixed entity, it is a continous process that allows me to merge ideologies, imagery, soundscapes and external influences. As I work in a very meticulous and focussed way, a primary influence is hard to isolate, it alters and often is a combination of several torrential thoughts.
JP: Do you consider Obscur a lifestyle?
RICHARD: If hereby you mean that I recommend people living the way I do; that would be a ''No''. Lifestyle is frankly not the word I would use to describe Obscur. 

JP: Music undoubtedly influence your work as a designer. What kind of music do you like and how does it affect your work? 
RICHARD: I have a morose state of mind, dabbling in musical intoxication and its combined endorphine release, dark tones and Berghain Berlin, can be a good merits to cleanse the mind and regain focus.
Whilst researching inspiration and sketching, at times some new wave dark wave goth synth tones allow for focus, calmth and creative processes.

JP: Several designers have teamed up with various high-street mega companies like H&M and Topshop in order to reach a wider audience. What's your stand on consumerism and mass consumption? Do you see yourself sacrificing quality over quantity?
RICHARD: I think there is a difference between consumerism and mass consumption. Obscur is my private label and project, so its highly unlikely that I would sacrifice quality over quantity. However it would be nice to be able to make something for my friends, family that doesnt necessarily compute with the typical garments that I make.

JP: You recently moved your headquarters from Stockholm to Copenhagen. What was the reason behind this?
RICHARD: We decided to relocate from Stockholm because there is a bubble surrounding Stockholm, nothing gets in, nothing gets out. At times we felt, the people were not inspiring, nor were they inspired by us. There is a focus on the environments and happenings around the garments, instead of the craftmanship and artistry itself. It is quite the opposite of how I work. Therefore it felt like the logic solution to move on.


JP: Obscur merchandise are being manufactured in Japan. Why Japan of all places?
RICHARD: Japanese people think along the lines of what we create. They have a taste for the craft, the hand made feeling and they are extremely trust worthy. I also have a very nice japanese agent who is kind enough to connect me into the right lanes.


JP: What do you think of Japanese fashion in general?
RICHARD: I think Japan is way ahead other countries in the world and not only within fashion.


JP: Your work has been compared to some of the most successful avant-garde designers such as Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester. What sets you apart from your contemporaries?
RICHARD: What sets me apart is that in my mind I visualize an idea, I extract it to paper and then into a wearable shape, of a suiting material, knowing that it came from me. What people think after that is not of relevance to me.
Photos courtesy of Obscur

For more information please visit www.obscur.se.

Thank you again Marlo Saalmink for making this interview possible!