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Oskar Metsavaht

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oskar Metsavaht (Caxias do Sul, Brazil, 1961)[1] is a Brazilian fashion designer[3][4] and environmentalist.[5][6] He is founder and creative director of Osklen[2]a Brazilian fashion brand and OM.Art, an art studio. Metsavaht serves as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador[7] and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia in Rio de Janeiro.[1] He is founder and president of Instituto-e, a non-governmental organization with a focus on social and environmental projects.[7] He is also on the Advisory Board of the Inhotim Institute and is an active member of the Brazil Foundation Advisory Council.[8]In 2014, Oskar Metsavaht received the Knight of Ordem do Mérito Cultural (Order of Cultural Merit) medal from the Ministry of Culture (Brazil) for contributions to Brazil's culture.[9][10]


Oskar Metsavaht was born and grew up in Caxias do Sul, a city in Rio Grande do Sul state in Southern Brazil. His paternal grandparents came from Estonia to Brazil ("Metsavaht" means "forest guardian" in the Estonian language).[11]His father was a doctor.[6] His mother was a teacher of philosophy and was involved in various humanitarian projects in the Southern Brazil.[11] He graduated from the University of Rio de Janeiro with a degree in medicine (trained as orthopedic surgeon)[6][12][1][7] and later worked as a physician in poor communities.[11]



Early in his career, Oskar Metshavaht became a self-trained fashion designer and in 1989, he founded Osklen, a fashion brand for men and women wear.[2] The company started with production of winter sportswear.[13][14] In 1998, Osklen incorporated principles of sustainability - ASAP ("as sustainable as possible, as soon as possible") that in 2018 was adopted as official company's motto) and sought to use more sustainable fabrics (also applying socio-environmental criteria) such as Pirarucu fish leather,[15][12] Amazonian jute, silk straw fibers, latex, and organic cotton for some of its clothes. [16][12][17] According to the WhiteWall Magazine, in 2018, "Osklen had 47 percent sustainable pieces in its collection from 38 suppliers that the company had developed for the last 20 years".[11] In 2012, Alpargatas acquired a significant stake of "Osklen" with the intention to expand the brand internationally.[18] As of May, 2019, "Osklen" operated in more than 80 stores across Brasil and also had stores in USA, Uruguay and Greece.[12]


In 2011, Oskar held his first solo exhibition, entitled Ipanema, during the Miami Basel Art Fair. In 2013, the exhibition was also shown at BA Photo Art, Recoleta Cultural Center, Buenos Aires and at the Quintenz Gallery in Aspen. In 2015, Oskar and his crew filmed a documentary about Ashaninka tribe living in the remote village of Apiwtxa.[6][19] In 2016 he showed the exhibition Christ the Redeemer at the City Historical Museum in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017, Ipanema by Oskar Metsavaht exhibition opened at Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro and 'Soundtrack by Oskar Metsavaht' was shown at the Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo. For the latter, Oskar took an acting role and brought to life the final project developed by Cris, an artist portrayed by Selton Mello in a movie alongside Ralph Ineson and Seu Jorge. The film also served as the starting point for Osklen’s Fall/Winter 17 collection. The film, the collection and the exhibition were all developed simultaneously, in a collaboration with several artists. Osklen Spring/Summer 18 collection was inspired by Tarsila do Amaral. The idea came from an invitation made by Tarsila’s family, who made the works and historical details of the notable Brazilian female artist available for Oskar and his design team. In December 2017, Oskar opened, an experimental space that houses content for contemporary reflections on art, science, politics, economy and philosophy.[20]


In 2000, after encountering issues finding sustainable fabrics for his company, Metshavaht launched E-brigade, a movement intended to raise awareness and disseminate environmental information in Brazilian society. The movement later developed and lead to the creation of Instituto-E in 2006, an NGO which focuses on the preservation of biodiversity as well as the historical and cultural heritage of Brazil, through the development of various socio-environmental projects.[21][22][23] A number of sources (UNESCO included)[3] report that the organization "identifies alternative (not prior used in manufacturing) materials found in different regions of Brazil to develop for people's use.[16] According to UNESCO's official page, in May, 2011, Metshavaht was appointed UNESCO's GoodWill Ambassador in Brazil, "in recognition of his work to support UNESCO’s actions in favor of a culture of peace, social inclusion and sustainable development, focusing on youth as a priority".[3] Metshavaht is also a frequent speaker on conferences and events related to biodiversity and environmental issues.[17] Representing Brazil and the South Atlantic countries, Oskar participated in the discussion on creating the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary (SAWS) in a region that connects Brazil, Argentina, Gabon, Uruguay and South Africa. He is a recipient of several awards for his environmental contributions including “Faz a diferença” (2003),[24] “Future Creator” (2007)[20][6], "Paris Sustainability Fair award" (2012)[20] and "Green Carpet Challenge Award" (2019)[25]

Personal life

Oskar Metsavaht lives and works between Rio de Janeiro and New York. He has a wife, Nazaré Metsavaht, and three children - Thomas, Felipe and Caetana[6][26]


  • 2015. Asháninka expedition (July, 2015)[6][19]

Art Projects

  • 1995 - 2006 | Director - 'Surfing the Mountains' Trilogy
  • 2001 | Project with Andy Warhol Foundation of Art[20]
  • 2007 | Creative Director - Sfera Arpoador watches for H.Stern[20]
  • 2012 | “The Creators Project” with Chris Milk and Takeshi Murata
  • 2014 | Creative Immersion at Inhotim[20]
  • 2015 | Creative Immersion at the Ashaninka Indigenous Tribe, Acre, Brazil[6]

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2013 | ‘Ipanema’ BA - Photo Art, Recoleta Cultural Center, Buenos Aires
  • 2013 | ‘Ipanema’ - Quintenz Gallery, Aspen
  • 2016 | ‘Christ the Redeemer by Oskar Metsavaht’ - City Historical Museum, Rio de Janeiro.
  • 2017 | ‘Ipanema by Oskar Metsavaht’ - Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
  • 2017 | ‘Soundtrack by Oskar Metsavaht’ - Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo

Group Exhibitions

  • 2011 | 'Ipanema' - Miami Art Basel
  • 2011 | Homage to Oscar Niemeyer | VISIONAIRE - Montauk, NY
  • 2014 | ‘In California’ - LOGO Gallery , São Paulo
  • 2014 | ‘Elements of Style’ - ArteBA Fair, Buenos Aires
  • 2014 | ‘Interfaces – Men// Art // Nature’ installation - ‘Made by... Feito por brasileiros’ exhibition, Cidade Matarazzo, São Paulo
  • 2015 | ‘Parangolé’ - Group Exhibition at Arte Clube Jacarandá, Miami Art Basel
  • 2015 | ‘Interfaces ll – Man // Cosmos // Forest’ - Mauá Occupation, ArtRio
  • 2016 | ‘Interfaces’ - XIPPAS Gallery, Punta del Este
  • 2017 | 'Parangoleando' - Monumental 2017, Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro


  • 2016. MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio) | ‘Ascending’| Videoart
  • 2016. Museu Histórico da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro | Apocalypsis| Mixed media on wood 100x100cm
  • 2013. Endless Summer/Into the Mountain[27][28]
  • 2011. Royal Black artwork (Afro-Brazilian museum)[29][30]

External Links


  1. ^ a b c d e Republic of Estonia/Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Estonia Opened third Honorary Consulate in Brazil
  2. ^ a b c Forbes: Osklen, Brazil's First Global Luxury Brand
  3. ^ a b c UNESCO Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors: Oskar Metsavaht
  4. ^ Nation: Oskar Metsavaht - "I think fashion got tired of fashion
  5. ^ Prata, Maria (November 9, 2011). "Brazil's Eye on Sustainable Fashion". New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Suited Magazine: A Poetic Vision
  7. ^ a b c UNESCO to name three Brazilians as Goodwill Ambassadors
  8. ^ Brazil Foundation: Ipanema- Oskar Metsavaht’s Photo Exhibit in Miami
  9. ^ UNESCO Office in Brazil: UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Oskar Metsavaht is honored by President Dilma 
  10. ^ Meet Oskar Metsavaht, Founder Of Osklen: Reviving Sustainability In Fashion
  11. ^ a b c d Jordan, Eliza (July 17, 2018). "Oskar Metsavaht Spearheads Sustainable Fashion with "ASAP" Movement". WhiteWall. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Fashion United: How Brazil’s Osklen became a research hub for sustainable fabrics
  14. ^ Elle: Oskar Metsavaht Takes His Sustainable Design Approach To New Hotel In Rio
  15. ^ DeZeen: Oskar Metsavaht makes sustainable fashion garments from Amazonian fish skin
  16. ^ a b State of Fashion: osklen experiments with the formula of new luxury 
  17. ^ a b Osklen Founder Oskar Metsavaht Talks Sustainability
  18. ^ Forbes: Havaianas Maker Buys 30% Stake In Brazilian Sportswear Label Osklen
  19. ^ a b Vimeo: Ashaninka expedition 2015
  20. ^ a b c d e f Born: About Oskar Metsavaht
  21. ^ Osklen History of Sustainable Movement
  22. ^ Vice/Copenhagen Fashion Summit:Chatting About Fashion and Sustainability with Oskar Metsavaht
  23. ^ a b HuffPost: Is This The Right Way For Fashion To Do Cultural Appropriation?
  24. ^ Blog do Oskar
  25. ^ Forbes Brazil: Osklen receives international award of sustainable excellence
  26. ^ Glamurama: Oskar Metsavaht sets up a party for his wife, Nazaré, in Búzios
  27. ^ HuffPost: Osklen and Byron Lars Beauty Mark Spring 2013
  28. ^ HuffPost: How Brazilian Fashion Is Taking Over the World (and Why You Should Be Paying Attention)
  29. ^ UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador, Oskar Metsavaht, exhibits the “Royal Black” artwork in the Afro-Brazilian Museum
  30. ^ The Guardian: Brazil's catwalks are too white, say protesters
This page was last edited on 3 March 2020, at 22:15
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