To understand Osvaldo Santos Araujo Borges – founder and creative director of Di Santi Studio – one must appreciate the parallels between Manchester (his hometown) New York City (his spiritual home) and Angola and Portugal (his ancestral homes). These creative hubs, the four corner’s of Osvaldo’s world, unite to create his brand vision.
Growing up, Osvaldo was engrossed by African-American culture – namely New York’s rap scene. Fascinated by the blinged-out, denim-clad rappers of the 00s, the aspiring designer would emulate their style on a budget. From an early age, he acknowledged the correlation between looking good and feeling good.
During his teen years, Osvaldo faced dark times. He found himself financially unstable and disinterested in the mediocre lifestyle the education system was preparing him for. Fortunately, darkness sparked creativity inside the young creative. Of all places, it was in a classroom where he first brainstormed the concept of a luxury brand called Di Santi Studio.
From inception, Osvaldo knew his mission to break into the fashion world would be no mean feat; albeit, he was confident in his foresight and imagination. He spent over a year seeking inspiration for the brand, most notably by attending New York Fashion Week. After visiting shows, speaking to stalwart fashion insiders and getting a taste for the industry, Osvaldo decided to put everything he had into his new label.
Upon his return, Osvaldo realised the manifold similarities Manchester had with New York City – viz. the street art, the bustling energy and the attractively gritty cityscape. He knew he could, sartorially speaking, bridge the two cultures together with his zeal for streetwear and inherited Afro-Portuguese flair.
Osvaldo started by creating jeans for himself; it was a relief to (finally) be wearing pairs that fit perfectly and felt true to his style. He enjoyed experimenting, creating a multitude of designs by deconstructing, destroying and embellishing pre-owned and counterfeit denim. Thenceforth, he became known across North-West England for his personalised denim pieces, attracting a range of high-profile customers – including lionized names from the UK rap and football scenes.
Now the brand has built a cult following, Osvaldo continues to expand Di Santi Studio’s offerings beyond denim – lending his sought-after style to various wardrobe staples.
Although the ambitious creative knows he’s still got a long way to go, he wakes up everyday feeling blessed that he can work with a team of like-minded others to bring his luxury ideas to life.