Twenty-five years ago, Oskar Metsavaht gave up a lucrative career in medicine to launch a winter sportswear line. Today, that collection, Osklen, is one of Brazil’s most iconic luxury brands. Metsavaht gives much of the credit to his homeland. “What most inspires me in Brazil is the sensuality, the spontaneity, and the diversity of the people,” says Metsavaht, who firmly established his place in the global market when he shifted the brand’s focus to women’s wear, and in the process established a uniquely Brazilian aesthetic of tropical minimalism.
For his Spring 2015 collection, shown this month at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, the designer took inspiration from the Ashaninka people of the Amazon. “They differ from other indigenous groups in the Amazon,” he explains, “not only because they wear clothes, but because of the importance they give to beauty and aesthetics.”
But appearances aren’t the only thing that matters to Metsavaht. A deep admiration for nature and its preservation has always been a part of Osklen’s DNA. With a long-standing tradition of using organic and environmentally sustainable fabrics that neutralize the brand’s carbon footprint, Osklen has done much to pave the way for other international labels translating sustainability into luxury. A good doctor, indeed.