Working Lives: Rio de Janeiro
- 14 September 2012
- From the section World Radio and TV
Fred d'Orey remembers his first attempt at surfing, on a cold rainy day at Ipanema beach, at the age of six.
Now at 50, he says he is still hooked on the sport that has guided his career from the beginning - first as a professional surfer, then as journalist writing about the sport and more recently as the inspiration to become a fashion designer.
Mr d'Orey began designing men's shorts with bright, colourful patterns because he thought the beachwear available in Brazil was too conservative and didn't reflect the lifestyle enjoyed on the sand.
He first sold the shorts to chain stores in Rio. When he realized they wouldn't buy his bolder prints, he decided to start Totem.
The first shop opened in Ipanema in 1995 and became a hit among cariocas, as Rio's residents are called. Today, the brand has 10 shops in Rio and exports as far as Australia. His brand makes about $10m (£6.2m) a year.
His aim is to translate Rio's laid-back culture with clothing suitable for both the beach and the city. He still sees the beach as his main laboratory.
"Rio de Janeiro is such an interesting culture that you don't have to hire a marketing director or agencies to know what's the new trend. All you have to do is suck from your own experience, from your own city," he says.