Fashion Designer, Style

Accentuating the Human with Sweden’s Obscur

At this particular nexus of spacetime, with several thousand years of accumulated art and trends behind our backs, it can be perplexing to know which way to turn. It’s hard enough to wrap our minds around the present, let alone foretell what the future will hold.

Fashion, however, perhaps more so than any other artform or medium, is concerned with the future, as well as being tasked with defining the present, partially by providing the style.


With each passing year, there is a push towards being more ostentatious, more boundary-pushing, more edgy, in the quest to create novel looks. Moving also alongside technology, incorporating new textiles, textures, and production techniques as they become available – just one more way that fashion is the most futurist of the arts.

But there is also a reactionary response to this acceleration, an opposition to this rushing velocity. Designers turn their back on the gaudiness, to focus on austere details in a stark, minimalist twin to futurism.

With every collection, designers have to navigate these polarizing physics – to either become brighter, bolder, flashier, or else focusing on craftsmanship – fine lines, fine tailoring, fine materials. Of course, they must take into account their current interests and investigations, the evolution of their craft, as well as trying to suss out the prevailing tastes and trends of the times to make clothes that people will actually like and wear.




In a recent interview for THE BRVTALIST, Richard Soderberg, the Swedish designer behind the German fashion label Obscur. described these compelling contradictions:

“What I find more interesting than inspiration itself is actually what opens your eyes to the inspiration, and to your creativity. In my case it’s about reaching a kind of primal state to remove the filters in my mind, and to narrow my span of attention. To reach this state there are a number of ways but I truly love to get lost in music, preferably with some drinks, putting me into an almost dreamlike state where there is only me and the world I want to create.”

He then went on to speak of the inspiration for Obscur’s new line, titled “Sustain”, which is a slight contradiction of the zen state he speaks of above, but speaks more to the conundrum of remaining current in fashion.

“I came to the conclusion that no matter which angle I’m looking at, being original and ground-breaking within wearable garments is extremely difficult today – if not impossible. […] For me, the answer was to re-boot and to conform to conservative shapes that makes the garment more discrete and subtle. To give the garment room to breathe, to let other elements come into play such as the context of the garment, the material, the face and soul of the wearer. Let the human wear the garment, instead of letting the garment wear the human, which I see far too often in fashion.

Sustain’s strong, clear, architectural lines and lavish luxe fabrics, particularly the thick leather, strikes an easy equilibrium between audacious and austere. They’re clothes you could easily imagine either on the Playa at Burning Man or on Madison Ave.

Soderberg’s on to something, when it comes to living and working in the present. There’s so many pressures and contradictions, so many different points of view. We must ask ourselves – what do we want to do? What are we trying to say? As soon as you know, you’re 3/4 of the way towards making a brilliant, new statement.



Photos: Cristina Cipriani
Styling: Andrei Yakovlev
Model: Valentin Szin

—Words by J. Simpson


    • Yr not kidding! I effing love it all! This blend of minimalism, luxe fabrics, and severe shapes ticks all of the boxes, as far as my personal aesthetic. Oddly enough, pretty much matches the aesthetic of my favorite new music, as well. The future = 1/2 sparkles, 1/2 charcoal grit.

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