Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt

Costa Rica, b.1980

Lives and works in San José

Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt, the Costa Rican fashion designer and artist behind the label Obra Gris, is a passionate advocate for sustainability and environmental consciousness. With a background in fashion and graphic design, he weaves his vision into the fabric of his designs.

Ruiz-Schmidt’s roots in Liberia, Guanacaste, fostered early creativity; his mother’s ability to craft her own clothes ignited his passion for fashion design. From a young age, he handcrafted his own items, a skill that would later shape his artistic journey. His education includes an MA in Fashion Design from the Weissensee School of Art in Berlin, Germany, and a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Costa Rica, equipping him with a unique blend of skills.

Ruiz-Schmidt’s commitment to Zero Waste Design is a direct response to the detrimental effects of fast fashion on our planet. He strives to make items that don’t harm the environment and actively opposes the throwaway culture prevalent in the fashion industry and wider society. Inspired by the wise words of British designer Vivienne Westwood, he encourages consumers to “buy less, choose well, demand more.”

Beyond fashion, Ruiz-Schmidt’s practice extends into home decor, as he incorporates his fashion sensibility into creating sustainable, long-lasting objects. From macrame and wall hangings to sculptures, lighting, and furniture, his designs bring the world of fashion into interior spaces, making a lasting impact on everyday life. Through his extensive exhibitions in Costa Rica and beyond, Ruiz Schmidt exemplifies the power of art and design in advocating for a more sustainable and conscious future.

Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt in his studio, 2024 (Photography by Juan Tribaldos)

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