I was in Brazil for three days when I walked into my first Osklen store. Greedily I touched the dresses, shoes and bags that were exhibited like museum pieces. I let the fabrics slip through my hands, gazed at the fashion pictures on the walls and felt enchanted. The discovery of a cool fashion designer works like a sun shower: it makes me very, very happy. Even though I kept it at window shopping that time, I was sold. Like no one else, Osklen combines the typical carioca frivolous and surfy way of dressing with innovative design. His fashion emporium expands Brazil’s borders, because Oskar Metsavaht – the real name of the genius behind the Osklen label – is not only a strong designer but also a clever business man. And an eco pioneer I found out after one month when reading articles on São Paulo Fashion Week. With his Instituto E he develops brand new eco materials of resources such as fish skin, bamboo, recycled plastic bottles and rubber from the Amazon. This year he had invited a handful of Brazil’s top designers to work with these materials. The result was an exposition of top pieces made out of eco textiles that gained widespread exposure.
I`m not the type of girl that spends a night in a sleeping bag in front of a post office to be able to buy tickets for Robbie Williams. Or who strangles other women in order to conquer a limited edition Louis Vuitton bag. But thanks to Osklen, I have met a new me. A me that walks into an Osklen store every week to caress the newest arrivals. Three months after the start sign of my newly acquired groupie behaviour, was My Big Day. I bought Osklen ballerina’s made out of lime green fish skin. For weeks in a row I had been admiring them and saved money and finally I could make them mine. It took another three months before I allowed myself to wear them. My sister’s wedding back in Holland, was the sacred inauguration of my eco chique designer’s shoes. I had no idea you could dance so well on fish skin…..
Two weeks after the wedding I`m in Paris for Ethical Fashion Show. Four days of lectures, shows and workshops with 100 expositors and thousands of visitors. And the subject is my big passion: eco fashion. On the second night, ModaFusion launches Ethical Fashion Show Latin America that we will organize in Rio de Janeiro in 2009. In cooperation with Sao Paulo Fashion Week and with Osklen’s Instituto E. The launch is a great success and gives me a boost of ecostacy. Even without the caipirinhas we serve, I fly around like a little girl in a play garden. On my eco ballerina’s that everyone has been admiring all day.
Then my colleague Andrea pulls my jacket.
‘Did you already meet Oskar?’ she winks.
‘What? He is here?’ my heart jumps.
‘Yes, for the launch, he came straight from the airport and was just in time for the show.` She drags me to a man with the face of a rockstar, standing in the corner, observing the crowd.
‘Hi Oskar, I want you to meet Kim. She is part of the ModaFusion team so you will see her more often this year’. Like in slow motion Oskar’s hand stretches towards mine and I move mine in his.
‘Hi, I am Oskar, nice to meet you’. The shiest smile I have ever seen. I stare at him. Dark blue pin-striped suit. Cream coloured shirt. Matching sneakers. A design sports bag - unmistakably Osklen - loosely in his hand. A real gentleman. It seems an eternity and my breathing stutters when I force myself to answer. ‘Hi, I am Kim anduuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh, these are my shoes’.
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