10 Brazilian Fashion Designers To Watch

Fashion In Rio, 2009
Fashion In Rio, 2009
Lucy Freeland

One may be forgiven for believing that Brazil’s contribution to fashion extends only to Havaianas, yet with the rapidly growing economy and increasing presence of Brazil on the world stage, the fashion industry is along for the ride. Here are ten of Brazil’s most talented modern designers, not only successful in their native country, but internationally acclaimed for their outstanding attention to detail and innovative approach to textiles.

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Brazilian born Alexandre Herchcovitch was instructed by his mother, Regina, to model and sew from an early age, quickly becoming her personal stylist in his pre-teen years. Regina promoted his designs at parties by modeling them himself, swiftly leading to the commissioning of the young Alexandre’s work by friends and family. Herchcovitch’s style is famously and wonderfully eccentric with notes of nostalgia, bringing the delicacy associated with undergarments to the fore in an attempt to demonstrate the exquisite beauty of careful lace detail. Victorian style mutton-chop sleeves on dramatic jackets and crystal encrusted jersey camisoles are offered in a range of buttery neutrals and chic black, with the occasional flash of fuchsia and scarlet to demonstrate the diversity of Herchcovitch’s tailoring technique.

Pedro Lourenco

Pedro Lourenco has both a fashion instinct and an eye for design literally in his blood: as the son of established Brazilian fashion moguls Reinaldo Lourenço and Gloria Coelho, Pedro was raised to have a keen understanding and awareness of the workings of fashion politics, studios, patterns and textile craftsmanship. Working intermittently for his mother’s ‘Carlota Joakina’ line from a young age, Lourenco designed and completed his first fashion line at the age of twelve, showcasing it at Sao Paulo fashion week in 2002. Following brief but integral working stints, learning and designing for Lanvin and Giambattista Valli, Pedro launched his own brand to high acclaim.

Oskar Metsavaht

Oskar Metsavaht is a force of nature in perhaps the most literal sense. Training first as an orthopedic doctor, it was his outdoor lifestyle and love of nature that steered him into fashion. This somewhat unconventional route into the world of design began with Metsahvaht devising a high-tech, ergonomically astute anorak for use during his expedition to the Andes. His profuse scientific knowledge and eye for design resulted in the launching of the Osklen brand in 1989. Osklen soon rose up the ranks as one of the premier lifestyle brands in Brazil with stores opening in New York, Tokyo, Miami, Milan, Rome, Buenos Aires and Punta del Este. Metsavaht brings sustainability into the fashion world in not only a realistic and workable sense but by establishing innovative aesthetic benefits of world-friendly ‘new luxury’, working closely with Anna Wintour in the Runway for Green Event and founding Institute E, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting and supporting sustainable human development. In addition to these impressive contributions to the green movement, Metsavaht also initiated e-fabrics, sourcing materials that meet a high-number of specific socio-environmental criteria.

Barbara Casasola

Brazil-born designer Barbara Casasola trained at Central Saint Martins in London and graduated first in her class at Istituto Marangoni, Milan. From this impressive start, Casasola was then snapped up by Roberto Cavalli to work in Florence, assuming the position of assistant designer for the women’s main collection. After three valuable years with Cavalli, followed by a number of years consulting for major fashion houses in Paris, Casasola returned to London in 2013 with her debut catwalk collection at White Cube. Going from strength to strength, Casasola was the deserved winner of the 2014 Guest Women’s Designer award at Pitto Uomo and continues to impress with her commitment to communicating the visual language of Brazil through the sweep and clean lines of her textile creations.

Sandro Barros

Since his early childhood days in Itapetininga, inland Sao Paulo, Sandro Barros displayed a passion for the strong women in his family and their desire to adorn embellished evening wear. His own love of classical ballet, fine arts and the glamour of the movies led him into the realms of couture and costume, examining the beauty of design and the multitude of material available with which to bring those designs to life. Having left Itapetininga to pursue fashion at Anhembi Morumbi University in Sao Paulo, Barros worked for names such as Vogue Brazil and Jorge Kauffman as a fashion assistant before making the leap from observer to creator in 2002, accepting a position at Daslu Couture with Silvia Reali Campos da Silva. After nine years at Daslu, designing and creating everything from accessories to ornate evening dresses, Barros established his own brand together with a friend and former customer, Renata Queiroz de Moraes. The Barros brand champions each woman by not attempting to place the customer in clothes she is uncomfortable with. They tailor fashion to the individual, with an ever mindful eye on quality and uniqueness.

Lucas Nascimento

The London College of Fashion graduate and Bonito-born Lucas Nascimento has reinvented the common perception of wool and knitwear. Nascimento teases materials into tight weaves to create dazzling jacquard dresses that skim the body, studying the geometric structure and unique texture of knitwear to utilize the material in a revolutionary manner, creating unusual and unexpected silhouettes with a futuristic dimension. The comfort of all-encompassing wool is given a postmodern twist, something he is already becoming renowned for. Having been granted the British Fashion Council NEWGEN sponsorship for spring/summer 2014 – for the fourth consecutive season since his London debut in 2011 – Nascimento is establishing himself as the last word in timeless pieces so carefully crafted as to defy the natural resistance of hostile fabrics.

Tufi Duek

Brazilian born Tufi Duek is famous for creating that most evasive yet most desired of wardrobe staples – the perfect pair of jeans. His manipulation of denim gained him national respect across Brazil, alongside his sophisticated and beautifully crafted evening dresses. His popular labels ‘Forum’ and ‘Triton’ have achieved widespread acclaim, with the former investing in international quality campaigns and catalogues – made possible by the six year partnership with art director Giovanni Bianca. Triton saw Duek move towards the more avant-garde, preppy fashions popular with youth culture, concentrating on the sensuality of form and pattern. Duek continues to effortlessly and quietly dominate on the world stage, with ‘Forum’ – marketed simply as the ‘Tufi Duek’ label outside of Brazil – now sold in more than 150 stores across the United States.

Ocimar Versolato

Ocimar Versolato has a stellar fashion pedigree, especially if geography is anything to go by. Born to parents of Italian stock in Brazil’s home of fashion, Sao Paulo, he now owns a salon on the Place de Vendome in the fashion capital of the world – Paris. It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Versolato, however. Following the death of his father, Versolato and family were found bereft of not only a loved one but, crucially, an income. As an intuitive response to this, Versolato’s mother opened a sewing shop that gradually developed into a couture salon. Out of the six siblings, Ocimar Versolato was the only member reported to have relished the opportunity to design and create outfits for the Sao Paulo ladies of high society. After a brief flirtation with the study of architecture, the designer dropped out to enjoy success in the production of women’s accessories. Following this encouragement, he left for Paris and the Bercot Fashion Design School in 1987, working for Herve Leger and Lanvin before producing his own line in 1993. After the establishment of his Parisian studio, Versolato launched his first couture collection in 1998 and has since produced lingerie, denim wear and other garments carrying his label.

Bruno Basso

Bruno Basso is a name often mentioned in terms of the ‘Basso & Brooke’ brand. Basso, born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Christopher Brooke, born in Nottingham, United Kingdom, met in 2001 and decided to launch their own label. Their digital prints push the boundaries of textile manipulation, testing the aesthetics of traditional design and playing with the integration of new technology alongside the delicate structure of established materials. The opposing backgrounds of the designers has necessarily established a multicultural thread that has become integral to their design – whether it’s the Japanese inspired line of Spring/Summer 2009 or the clothing line conjured from their research tour to Uzbekistan, commissioned by the British Council. The pair have established impressive links with companies as diverse as Swarovski – for whom they produced a chandelier for the Crystal Palace exhibition in Milan (2006) – to Coca Cola and Turnings Leaf Wines, for whom they produced a line of unique furniture pieces.

Carlos Miele

Based in Sao Paulo, Carlos Miele achieves his unique designs by combining the natural with the artificial. With an equally strong interest in architecture, Miele’s clothing labels – ‘Miele’s’ and ‘Carlos Miele’ – specialize in complexity of structure, investigating the quality and mutability of the material used. Indeed, Miele is deeply interested in the quality of the fabric used to create his designs, working closely with Brazilian favelas and indigenous communities to ensure Fairtrade within his company and support the delicate work of Brazilian artisans. Compiled of sensual and clinging fabrics, his ready-to-wear women’s collections have increased in popularity over the years, with flagship ‘Carlos Miele’ stores in Sao Paulo, Paris and New York.


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