Oscar Calvo: designer, PR master and delivery man
Oscar Cavlo wears many hats. Not only is he one of Australia’s most celebrated designers, he is the sole operative of his own PR/event management machine, and the last I heard from him, he was delivering 100 bottles of sparkling wine to his Melbourne Spring Fashion Week event – so we can add delivery man to his long list of talents.
Having had the pleasure of chatting with Oscar, he told me the story of his early years growing up in the working class Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows, his natural aptitude for creative arts and the inspirations and experiences that influenced his evolution into the accomplished designer he is today. I was also given an exclusive peek behind the drape that is ‘Oscar Calvo: the enterprise’ to see ‘Oscar Calvo: the 80’s pop culture fanatic, Madonna memorabilia collector, qualified massage therapist (who knew?) and genuine down-to-earth guy’.
Oscar’s creative credentials were first noted at Erinbank Secondary College, where he was awarded the Dux of Art honour for excelling in art and graphics. The encouragement of a teacher to pursue fashion, textile fabrication and his love of Eighties pop culture, music videos from Madonna and Culture Club were the impetus for what was to become an ambitious force.
During and after his tertiary studies, Oscar spent a good chunk of is life working in retail management, gaining experience in visual merchandising, leading teams and a robust comprehension of consumer needs and behaviours. Graphic-adorned hoodies and t-shirts were his first release, reconnecting to his fine art and graphic roots.
Working for Barbara Wilson is where the love affair with luxury fabric combinations and constructions took flight. He released his men’s clothing label ‘Oscar Calvo’ in 2004 and, thanks to a knack for marketing, advertising and pitching to magazines for editorial opportunities, he found himself being featured regularly in newspapers, fashion magazines and blogs. “I’m so lucky to be doing what I love. Creating works of art either in clothing, events or runway shows is a constant highlight,” says Oscar.
The following year at age 26, he was chosen as a finalist in the National Mercedes-Benz Start Up Program and won the 2005 Designer Award at Fed Square. The incredible feeling of his first accomplishment as a Fashion Designer, being recognised on a national level for his hard work and having his first insight into the real world of fashion fueled his ambitious appetite.
Oscar opened his first shop in 2007 with private trunk shows for his eponymous label. His innate ability to execute successful PR campaigns and events led to him launching his own PR and event management company, OC Communications & Events, in 2009. “Having the label and fostering my relationships with media has helped. I have made many mistakes in this field as well, which has made me learn quickly,” Oscar admits.
Oscar has recently celebrated 10 years in the industry. He summarises his style over the past decade as ‘everyday life in Melbourne’. To him this means his collection has many shades to it: it is fun, glam, sophisticated and dark. He’s been inspired by Eighties New Wave California beach culture, New York’s emerging hip-hop scene and his Spanish culture, including Flamenco music, dance and bullfights. “I drew inspiration from these scenes because I’m a huge fan of them. I wanted to join beach and hip-hop culture together and create a glam, chic and sporty collection,” says Oscar.
To coincide with Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, OC Communications and Events is hosting Fashion Connect MSFW at Melbourne’s Spice Market on 4 September from 6.30pm, an event that’s best described as “an exciting mix of fashion, circus and live pop entertainment”. As colourful as the man himself.
By Steve Lopez