Though Lee Oliveira is often seen artfully capturing influencers, models and editors at the fashion industries most anticipated events of the year (the international fashion weeks) Lee Oliveira is a somewhat elusive man. Armed with multifaceted talents, Oliveira is habitually busy with a project, be that the street-style photography, of which launched the initial propel of his career, or styling, or creative consultancy. He’s honed his attention to detail and interest in the visual to develop the Lee Oliveira Media Group Australia in 2010 and has gained recognition as an influential figure in fashion.
A Brazil native, but now residing in Australia, Lee Oliveira personifies the resourcefulness, vivacity and zeal of the Carioca spirit and that’s why we’re pleased to welcome him to the Carioca Club.
Lee Oliveira didn’t come from a fashion background originally, nor has he studied fashion in a formal manner. Fashion know-how is a quality that Oliveira acquired organically when he became interested in fashion in early adulthood;
“I found the interest was in the storytelling of fashion. Fashion is a form of art where self-expression, visual ideas and imagination come together. Whether it be through styling, art direction, taking photos and capturing videos.”
And it’s this unorthodox ideology of fashion as art that has allowed Oliveira to navigate his talents through the fashion industry; starting as a street-style photographer at a time when it was fairly novel before, working in creative consultancy, trend forecasting and styling. Though, somewhat of a fashion renaissance man, Oliveira hasn’t abandoned the visual outlet that made him a recognisable figure among the dense fashion week crowd. When asks what qualities he looks for when street-style casting he speaks of individuality,
“I’m always taken by surprise by what I find on the streets because I never know what others will be wearing that particular day during the fashion week season. A lot of times I find a signature look on someone that I know is individual to them.”
“Fashion is a form of art where self-expression, visual ideas and imagination come together.”
Which is, perhaps, what set Lee Oliveira’s street-style photography apart from his contemporaries. As well as his attentiveness to the nature of storytelling; a concept that certainly directs his methods of working. He expresses that,
“In the end (for me), it’s all about the quality of the storytelling that I am able to capture. It has to have a frame on frame. Wearing a “total look” from a catalogue isn’t style. Personality is another important key to make you stand out. Fashion is a form of art where self-expression, visual ideas and imagination come together.”
One might expect that his appetite for ‘self-expression’ and ‘imagination’ is a part of the Brazilian spirit, but Oliveira is somewhat of an international spirit. Though born and raised in Brazil, he’s lived in New York and currently resides in Australia – a place he’s called home for over ten years. When asked how style compares in the ‘fashion capitals’ of America, the UK and Italy with Brazil he states that,
“It’s hard to compare all these cities together as their culture, climate and social economies vary. Big metropolitan cities have their own signature on how people express themselves throughout fashion. Brazil for me is still growing in the fashion world.”
When it comes to personal style, Lee Oliveira takes the modernist approach of quality over quantity, and he is usually snapped whilst taking street-style shots of others (in some sort of street-style paradox) in undeniably cool, but nonchalant outfits; be it a graphic t-shirt and well-fitting chinos, layered with a loose shirt, or a sweatshirt and purposely scuffed jeans.
He finds purpose in a curated collection of clothes,
“I have one rack of clothes that I wear quite often and, every now and then I like to switch things up a bit.”
And a few Frescobol Carioca items make the cut, mainly the tailored shorts, as he finds “them a great summer ‘all-round’ item”, though the Sungas and beach bats are also favourites in his summer roster.
There’s a clear proficiency in understanding what’s worth owning, photographing, etc with Lee Oliveira; and this ability is yet another addition to the qualities that make Oliveira one of fashion’s most persuasive figures.