Before Oskar Metsavaht founded Brazilian luxury fashion brand Osklen, he worked as a doctor, and only turned to design out of necessity when he had to make ski jackets and pants for a trip with friends (fact: ski gear is not readily available in Brazil)—a background that explains why his collections are a mix of "nature and urban landscapes and high-tech combined with the raw."
We caught up with Metsavaht as he prepares for São Paulo Fashion Week to talk about the art of traveling light, how he found his own personal style, and how good posture can make even a basic tee look elegant.
1. Be selective, but always experiment with new elements. Try new cuts, colors, and accessories.
2. Learn from the style icons you admire, from fashion editorials, from art books, from films, and other sources of inspiration. Then compose your own interpretation by combining different pieces, playing with the way you fold your cuffs, and collars, layer and mix, until you arrive at combination that best exudes your personal style.
3. Distinguish yourself in the details. Even if you're dressing for a formal or conservative event, if you understand your own elements of style you'll know how to demonstrate them in a very subtle way and be distinguished from the others in room without being dressed inappropriately for the event.
4. Less is more, always. Buy high quality, original pieces. You don't need a lot of pieces to have a great wardrobe. Use your money smartly and ethically.
5. When I design my collections, the aesthetic is of upmost importance along with comfort and sustainability. New ergonomic shapes and materials allow for comfort without sacrificing the contemporary elegance of the design. The same can be said how one dresses. Being "relaxed" doesn't mean wearing baggy, ill-fitting clothes. It means being confident in the clothes you're wearing. Don't be afraid to try tailored pieces or a slimmer silhouette that are more flattering to the body.
6. Elegance is key. It's reflected in your manners and the way you present yourself; not necessarily what you're wearing. Pay attention to how you interact with others. Listen more than you talk; be polite and smile.
7. Stand up straight; have good posture. Even if a man is wearing the best look at the party, if his posture is bad he won't look elegant at all. Try posture exercises. I like Gyrotonics, TRX, and yoga. With good posture, you'll always look elegant whether you're wearing a suit or a T-shirt.
8. Travel light—the lighter, the better. For me, it's always a challenge as my trips span many countries, and each trip always includes work, events, art, and sports. If it's winter, I bring a classic contemporary overcoat. If it's summer, I bring a light gray cashmere sweater, black and white T-shirts and, of course, my signature board shorts.
9. Sneakers aren't just for sports. I design sneakers for every occasion. When I'm not wearing sneakers, I wear a great Italian shoe.
10. Find a way to express your creativity wherever you are and whatever you're doing. As a creator, I have an opportunity to experience art, nature, fashion, and architecture from very different cultures. I always carry my cameras with me, since photography is the way I capture images and, most importantly, a way to express my emotions and my elements of style.