Profile: Oskar Metsavaht of Osklen
Profile: Oskar Metsavaht - The doctor turned sustainability champion devised a fabric that could withstand icy conditions, which grew into a well-known Brazilian sports brand.
Oskar Metsavaht is the founder and style director of Osklen, one of Brazil's most iconic fashion brands, which began in 1990 by selling winter sportswear, before refocussing on the luxury segment 10 years later. Metsavaht is also known for his work as photographer, acting as art director for the brand's photo shoots and films. Describing his approach to fashion design, Metsavaht says "My creative process begins with a scene, a story, a style, a concept that I create from something I wanted or lived. From this point, I create the climate, the atmosphere, the looks and attitudes. In most cases, I conceive the campaign even before the collection." He is also creative director of his own arts and special projects studio, Om.Art.
Osklen, which shows at New York and São Paolo Fashion Weeks, was dubbed "Brazil's first global luxury brand" by Forbes in 2012, while Metsavaht was named the "fourth most innovative person in Brazil" and including in a list of "the business world's top 100 creative people" by Fast Company Magazine.
Metsavaht has also been recognised for his role as an environmentalist and leader of the sustainability movement - pioneering the concept of "New Luxury" in the high-end fashion market. His work has been cited by the World Wild Foundation, who also named him a "Future Creator," and he is a regular speaker at global conferences covering the topic, such as the Milan Fashion SUmmit and the Ethical Fashion Show in Pairs.
Metsavaht is also the founder of Instituto-E, a non-profit organisation based in Brazil that encourages sustainable human developmen, with projects including the development of socially and environmentally friendly fabrics. In 2012, UNESCO named Metsavaht a Goodwill Ambassador and an official representative of Rio +20. Through Instituto-E, Metsavaht established the Premio E award for the event, which celebrated environmental initiatives developed over the past two decades.
Metsavaht was appointed member of the Board of Conselho de Inhotim - the largest nonprofit open air museum in the world who house collections of contemporary art, which also develop educational and social projects. He also became a member of The Greenpeace Board.
In June 2012 Metsavaht was invited by UNESCO to be the representative of Rio +20 and, through the E Institute, conceived the ‘Premio E’, an official award of Rio +20 focusing on sustainability to identify, reward and celebrate environmental initiatives developed over the past 20 years, since the ECO-92.
Metsavaht is also a member of Vice's "Creators Project" — a global celebration of the multidisciplinary artists using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression. The community includes the likes of Arcade Fire, Chris Milk and Takeshi Murata and aims to bring together the biggest influencers from across art, design, fashion and music.