Richard Söderberg, designer of Obscur, expresses through his label a deeply personal language, which sees the creative process as a return to innocense and purity. Söderberg, although his young age, is truly pushing the boundaries of garment creation, in a continuous challenge with himself in order to achieve the simplicity of perfection. He redesigns the classic silhouettes through his dark and rough esthetic, creating highly constructed pieces with a timless taste, like “prestine churches or monoliths”. Richard shared with us some thoughts about his works, revealing a brilliant philosophical and conceptual mind.
How did you end up starting Obscur?
Obscur was a part of my destiny and to this day I don’t know why and how it precisely began. As a youngster, I always loved garments and expressing myself through them, in any part of life. The fact that it is now my living at this early age of my life feels very fortunate but on the other hand very organic and natural to me.
Did you have an initial vision for how you wanted your label?
For Obscur, I have had a very strong vision of how my brand should be, but like any profession, it takes time to build up the contacts and economic stability to do exactly what you want. Exactly what I want to do the world has to wait for. At the moment, I am 26 years old, with lots of new impressions and influences yet to come. What I am not interested in however is to only grow larger, it has to remain a holistic experience overall. It has never been the sole intention. I renounce attention and any person seeking it intentionally.
What was the most important experience you had for your creative career?
At these current times, I feel that I am living the most important experience of my career from the point I started Obscur until where it is today. An incredible journey that has marked me forever.
What distinguishes Obscur from those other labels who follow the same pure and raw aesthetic?
As I am not looking or comparing my work to other brands, I can only speak of my own work. Obscur is a return to innocense and purity, fused by raw fabrics and the cleanest production treatments.
How would you describe your approach to clothes?
Frankly, it is a love-hate relationship. Furthermore, it is also one that is very profound, yet subtly damaged. I never look at the neck tag, instead when I see something that I like I get an extreme hunger for turning the garment inside-out and solving the puzzle of its creation. Once it’s solved I can move on. This is also one of the reasons I always find my own garments non-satisfactory because I know every seam inside of it.
Do the peaceful darkness of Sweden’s winter and the rough Swedish landscapes inspire you?
It absolutely does. Unconsciously I think the surroundings of any human inspires or discourages him.
How is your design process like?
I procrastinate and criticize my own drawings and sketched until they take a proper shape. One of the challenges working as a designer is that you don’t have much time to work in the actual material. And as a designer focusing on the craft, rather than the shape, it remains crucial that I work with the correct material to develop and experiment correctly. I usually sketch based from inspirational pictures and texts that we come up with in the beginning of the period. After that, sometimes I get lucky and the garment comes out nice, sometimes I’m unlucky and it ends up on my poor friends or family.
Your clothes always feature an extremely high quality, is this the main concept upon which your collections are based?
Quality is something that is always remains the central focus for Obscur, as well as superb and lush finish of all garment. The perfect recipe of a garment is very delicate and there are a lot of things to consider. Quality is the ingredient putting them all together into the perfect object, and if I’m going to be frank I don’t think I have yet ever succeeded in grooming the perfect garment, so my search is continuously triggered.
Could you tell us about “Bound”, your Autumn-Winter 2012 collection?
Bound is a smaller capsule womens’ collection that we put together in the mere space of 3,4 weeks. Simply put, the collection is built around ideas of coiled distortions of the body with a twist of bondage in an array of leathers and stone washed wools.
Which is the material do you prefer to work particularly with? Why?
To me, leather is very interesting because it always reacts differently to treatments. It is also a material that ages well, as opposed to fabrics which most oftenly disintegrates. Deteriation and unnatural wear are processes I am not a huge fan of when it comes to fabrics. Instead I want my fabrics to be very clean, sterile and timeless. They are a bit like prestine churches or monoliths.
Beside Obscur, do you have other artistic interests?
If the day had 48 hours instead of 24, maybe I would!