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When little was said about sustainability in Brazilian fashion, we were pioneers in launching the first t-shirt made from organic cotton in 1998. Since then, we have been increasing the use of raw materials and sustainable processes in the production of our clothing lines.
Over the last 10 years, we have estimated the record figure of more than 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles for the creation of e-fabrics. Tons of waste that are no longer being released into the oceans, thereby protecting species threatened by plastic waste.
Oskar Metsavaht launches the fundamentals of sustainable development for Osklen and thus implements strategies that initiate social-environmental projects in fashion.
In 1999 the first t-shirt made with hemp was launched - a tough fiber that does not use chemicals in its production. It was also in that year that Osklen started the development of organic cotton in partnership with Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Company) and the NGO Esplar, in Ceará, ina time when sustainability was not as talked about as it is today, when there was not yet a history of sustainable practices in Brazil.
This year was the launch of the first organic cotton t-shirts with the e-brigade signature.
Idealized by Oskar Metsavaht, the e-brigade is a movement that came up under the slogan "Save your Lifestyle. Act Now ". Its goal was to bring environmentalists, teachers, sociologists and environmental conservation organizations, community action organizations, business, research and education institutions together to combat misinformation regarding environmental and social sustainable development and to disseminate the teachings of the Earth Charter, Agenda 21, the Biodiversity Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
Since 1999 Osklen has advanced in the research and development of sustainable materials and processes and it has thus formalized the e-fabrics project in partnership with Instituto-E. These pieces called e-fabrics use materials from recycled, organic, natural and handmade origins, developed by communities, cooperatives, or by industrial groups.
Among them there are salmon and pirarucu hides, used in the making of accessories, sneakers, handbags and wallets; plastic mesh, composed of cotton and polyester fiber from the recycling of plastic packaging; organic cotton, grown without the use of environmentally toxic substances; recycled tricot made from refined cotton yarns, which in turn come from the reuse of scraps of the textile industry; and organic silk, made from cocoons rejected by the traditional industry for being below the standard. These e-fabrics are still dyed naturally without polluting the environment.
Founded and chaired by Metsavaht and directed by sociologist Nina Almeida Braga, Instituto-E designs and implements social-environmental projects inspired by the concept of the 6 "e's" - earth, environment, energy, education, empowerment and economics - with the objective of helping to promote Brazil as a reference country for sustainable human development.
In the winter collection 2007, Oskar Metsavaht calls for an urban brigade against the degradation of the environment, where men and women assume the role of guardians of the Amazon.
Osklen was appointed along with TESLA as a "Future Maker" by the UK's World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-UK), one of the largest and most influential NGOs in the world.
With the support of the Rio de Janeiro City Hall, Osklen and Instituto-E began the recovery project of the beds of dune-fixing restinga vegetation on the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon.
In addition to bringing the typical fauna of this restinga ecosystem back to the beach, the recuperation of the vegetation contributes to the maintenance of a cooler temperature around the beds and to the fixation of the sand in the event of strong winds or high tides. In 2013, the project was extended to Prainha, in the Western Zone of Rio, and is currtently ongoing.
In 2009, the Instituto-E established a partnership with the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea to analyze the carbon and social footprints of six Osklen e-fabric products, something globally unheard of.
The multidisciplinary teams of Osklen, Instituto-E and IMELS traveled through several regions of Brazil, from the Amazon to the southern region, closely analyzing each stage of the production chain for these e-fabrics. They measured amount of CO2 released since the gathering of the materials used in the manufacture of the pieces until the arrival of the products to the Osklen stores. The number of workers benefiting from the producers' social responsibility programs was also evaluated. The pieces submitted to this analysis received labels that informed the client of their carbon and social footprints. The product that had the largest carbon footprint had its emissions mitigated through a solar-powered fuel replacement project. After the positive results of the project, Osklen had four other products evaluated in terms of water and social footprints. The project was called WATERTRACES.
In May 2011, Oskar Metsavaht received the title of Ambassador for a Culture of Peace and Sustainability from UNESCO.
"UNESCO met Oskar Metsavaht and became familiar with his work for the conservation of the environment through the e-brigade, a true army dedicated towards preserving our planet and its conditions for life. Everything on Osklen matches that goal. After getting to know him more closely, UNESCO immediately invited him to lead entrepreneurs who have the same social responsibility. "
Marlova Jovchelovitch Noleto
UNESCO | Deputy Director of Programs in Brazil
Instituto-E promotes the e-Award, honoring the world's environmental leaders, including Sylvia Earle (Deep Search Foundation), Sebastião Salgado, Russell Mittermeier (Conservation International), Benki Piyãko (Ashaninka) and the legendary Maurice Strong (Secretary General of Stockholm 72 and Rio-92).
A clothing line inspired by Agenda 21 - a document that resulted from the ECO 92 (Rio-92) conference, which establishes the importance of each country acting globally and locally in the search for solutions to social and environmental problems. It was launched in celebration of Rio +20, which updated the values and guidelines of Rio 92 for the contemporary world.
E-Ayiti is a partnership - maintained to this day - between Osklen, the Instituto-E and the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI), a project of the International Trade Center (ITC), a UN-connected agency and the World Trade Organization. With the slogan "Not Charity, Just Work", EFI connects designers from around the world with craftspeople from economically vulnerable countries, guaranteeing these workers a fairer pay. Osklen's participation comes from the development of a line of accessories produced by local craftspeople with recycled material under the supervision of brand designers.
Osklen launches the Ashaninka collection, a creative tribute to the native people of the Amazon, in the region of Acre and Peru. Oskar and his team went to the village Apiwtxa twice in the process of research and inspiration. The royalties for the village implemented improvements in the community school and bought a plot of land in Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, to build an Ashaninka association headquarters.
Concept that brings the urgency to act in the most sustainable way possible to our everyday lives. The line was developed with many processes and materials that minimize social and environmental impacts, thereby reinforcing Osklen's commitment to creating sustainable development-based fashion.