Brazilian Fashion Revolutionary: Oskar Metsavaht and Osklen

Oskar Metsavaht founded Osklen in 1990, selling winter sportswear and after 10 years changed the brand’s focus to the luxury segment, today the brand is recognized as one of Brazil’s biggest luxury fashion brands. Oskar Metsavaht realized the importance of sustainable development and its applications since the Earth Summit twenty years ago in Rio, seeking to incorporate sustainability in different ways into his work at Osklen.

Osklen not only promotes the sustainability issues through its campaigns, such as a recent winter collection, called A21 which concerns the Agenda 21, a voluntary action plan of the United Nations. The brand also apply sustainable decisions on the production by using organic cotton and recycled material, for instance PET, used in fibers for shirts and Pirarucu fish skin used for bags and shoes. Other interesting point is that Osklen produce their clothes using mostly materials from Brazil, moreover the brand focuses the production inside Brazil, something that is good for the economy of the country.

Metsavaht also founded the Instituto-E, an OSCIP (Civil Society Organization of Public Interest), based in Brazil to foster sustainable human development, Oskar Metsavaht was named in 2012, by UNESCO, Goodwill Ambassador and moreover a formal representative of Rio + 20. Osklen, Instituto-E and the Ethical Fashion Initiative worked together developing products in Haiti, the first collection was called E-Ayiti, launched in 2014 and all production was made by Haitian artisans in partnership with Osklen designers using only recycled materials like electrical wiring and metal.

The work of Oskar Metsavaht and the impact that Osklen has brought to the fashion industry has a huge importance, the world needs more inspiring people like him to disseminate the importance of sustainability and responsibility in the fashion industry and spreading this example of sustainable development it helps to build a sustainable fashion industry.

Author: Pedro Gomes, Master in International and Sustainable Finance, class of 2015-16