Sustainable Fashion Made in Rio

I happened to be visiting a carioca friend in Rio de Janeiro 2 years ago during the World Cup Soccer. Being the only Belgian in a room of 30 young Brazilians they almost had me killed when Belgium beat Brazil 2 – 1 in the quarter-finals. Keeping a low profile was the message .

The next day I decided to explore Rio’s historical center. Strolling through a small alley and craving for coffee I crossed the street. Convinced I was entering a minimally decorated coffee bar, I pushed the all glass door. My eyes must have been blurred cause they were not selling coffee. Nicely displayed glasses made from the reuse of wood hang on the walls in stead.

It marked the beginning of a 5-day hunting tour for sustainable fashion made in Rio !


Zereres is a brand of glasses made from the reuse of wood. The brand started in 2012 with items produced with wood found on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Each pair of glasses used to be marked with the number of items made from the same piece of wood and stamped with the street name where the wood was found.

Zerezes sill works with recycled wood from the Jacarandas, pinhos de Riga, amongst other recycled woods.

The latest thing is that they added glasses made of plastic straws to their line. Crazy ! ?

Zerezes oculos de canudosWhy use straws? Straws belong to the category of disposable plastics. It is one of the most found plastics in beach cleaning, carioca beaches, remember !

The first batch is being produced with straws that ZEREZES receives as donations from establishments that can no longer use them due to the law. BUT their dream is to collect the straws from places where the law that bans the use of plastic straws is not binding yet.

ZEREZES used machines from a movement called Precious Plastic. These machines grind the straws and inject them into a mold which ZEREZES creates and produces itself. From the injection the parts will enter into the traditional production where the hinges, pins and lenses are added.

The colors of each frame may vary a lot as the ‘raw material ‘ is a mixture of melted straws, at times more homogeneous, at other times more stained with white and red.

In partnership with Welight, 1% of their sales goes to Brazilian social institutions like Redes da Maré and Instituto Four.

Rede da Maré


Levh is a beachwear brand that always values sustainability, seeking to minimize environmental impacts in all processes.

Its creators, Melissa Granado and Raphael Almeida, live in Rio and already led a lifestyle connected to nature.

Levh works with technological and biodegradable fabrics, generating benefits for people and the planet.

This type of tissue, when in contact with the bacteria present in landfills, decomposes in a maximum of 3 years.

A process of decomposition much faster than that of an ordinary fabric, which takes about 150 years to decompose under the same conditions.

Levh has a line of bikinis developed with fabric made from regenerated nylon from fishing nets and other types of nylons discarded in the oceans and landfills. The fabric is supplied in partnership with the Italian company Econyl. ( for more sustainable beachwear brands )


In addition, all of our fabrics have UV + protection.

In partnership with Riobike Courier, they make ecological bicycle deliveries as such helping to avoid 4 more tons of CO2 emissions per month.

Additionally, 1% of the value of each piece sold is donated to the SOS Amazônia institutions ( an NGO whose mission is to promote the conservation of the region’s biodiversity ) and EcoSurf ( an organization which protects beaches and oceans).


Born out of the desire to generate positive changes in the community using fashion as an instrument of awareness and social transformation is what made Débora launch Lusco Fusco in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The brand carries her DNA, to transform the world into a better place, where the preservation of the planet, the extension of the life cycle of the fabrics and the appreciation of the workers involved are essential points for its customers dress in an ethical, authentic and sustainable way.

Lusco Fusco

The Lusco Fusco pieces are produced from the scraps that are left in the garments’ industry: fabrics that are left over from the cut as well as rolls ends, lost in the stock. These are materials that would otherwise end up in the trash or left untouched and unused.

Working with slow fashion, the brand produces on a small scale, employing local labor and mixing different techniques.

A percentage of the sales from a special lines of pieces called PalavraLivre ( free word or free speech ) is donated to social projects that seek to reduce social inequalities.


It is difficult to talk about eco-friendly fashion without mentioning Osklen – even though it is a very consolidated brand in the national and international market. The brand, created in 1989 by Oskar Metsavaht, was a pioneer when it comes to sustainable fashion in Brazil, having embraced the cause as of the 90s.

Sustainability is one of the core pillars upon which the brand was founded. It is a crucial guideline for the design and development of Osklen’s collections, which are created with a deep respect for local communities and the environment surrounding them.

Osklen brings innovative, environmentally responsible materials to the luxury market. These are called ‘e-fabrics’ and include organic cotton, organic silk, recycled cotton, recycled PET, organic jute, Salmon and Pirarucu fish leather and LWG Gold certified leather, among others.

Pirarucu leather handbags Osklen

Pirarucu has traditionally been fished for food, with the skin historically discarded. But, together with Nova Kaeru and Instituto-E, Osklen helped to develop this waste by-product into a new luxury material which is used in all of Osklen’s accessory collections. In creating demand for this new material, Osklen is able to further support the local community and economy. The main social benefits include improvement of the conditions of riparian communities in the Amazon region, not only with income generation, but with support for long-term initiatives such as training programs.

In Brazil : You can find OSKLEN in 100+ different stores throughout Brazil.

In Uruguay : There are three sales points, one in Punta del Este and 2 in Montevideo.

In the US :

OSKLEN has two stores in the USA, one in New York and one in Miami. All US packaging boxes are made from 100% recycled content and are also fully recyclable.


No Rio de Janeiro without going to the beach. And no going to the beach without flip flops. No Havaianas for me this time.

So, yes what ! Green flip flops, Made in Rio, what else, where else of course !

Green Flip Flops made in Rio

Green flip-flops are made from 100% renewable, a high percentage of biodegradability plasticizers, prepared from plant-based oils, which are not derived from petroleum.


In addition to plant-based origin plasticizers, Green Flip Flops is also made of PVC resin, a plastic of lower presence in weight in urban waste and it is not (not 100%) originated from petroleum. The PVC resin is still more easily identified for recycling than the others, thanks to the presence of chlorine in its formula, which in turn is obtained from sea salt.

That is, it is the environment, once again, showing the right path to sustainability.



The Green Flip Flops composition does not contain phthalates, a chemical compound proven to be harmful to human health and constantly used as additives to make the plastic more malleable. Phthalates can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and lungs, and are considered a probable carcinogen.

“If our mission is to preserve the planet, it is our duty to preserve the health of the species that inhabit.”

IPE Havaianas

But before I conclude, let me take you back to Havaianas. It’s worth mentioning here that they help the Brazilian forest and flora.

For 4 years now, Havaianas has been working with the Ipê  (Environmental Research Institute) Institute to help them on their Brazilian fauna and flora conservation projects. The sales of this model have already raised over 4.5 million Reals to help preserve the Brazilian natural habitat.

The collection reflects the range of colors and diversity found in Brazilian forests, as well as raising awareness of indigenous species that are often not known by the wider public.



I am planning to return to Rio as soon as the borders between Brazil and Argentina re-open. I can’t wait to explore more and go on a sustainable bike-shopping tour with Giramundo.

I get so excited when I see what amazing eco-initiatives pop up in Rio. So much dedication, so much creativity !

A word of thanks goes to WealthyAffiliate. Without their encouragement and technical support 
this website would not exist.

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