Inundated with the speed of trends? One brand takes you back to basics, with well-thought out fabrics and cuts, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan
WHEN you feel exhausted from consuming what fast fashion has to offer, there’s Cos.
It’s a line where basics are not so basic and where a simple white shirt or a pullover is given a lot of thought in cut, material and fit. The silhouette is generally loose, the colours are often dark or muted and the fabric is often cotton or silk.
It is owned by H&M yet is worlds apart in terms of style with the mass-produced, fast fashion label. It opened its inaugural store in Malaysia last year and more than a year later, a second store at The Gardens Mall.
In conjunction with the opening, its head of menswear design Christophe Copin talks about the brand and why comfort is the key to being stylish.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE WORKING FOR COS? AFTER ALL, ITS DESIGNS ARE VERY STREAMLINED AS OPPOSED TO MANY OTHER FASHION BRANDS WHICH DO MANY THINGS
It is exciting. We strive to create quality pieces which have longevity and are accessible. I have worked for many high-end designers who appreciate quality.
However, I wanted to work for a brand that also offers accessibility and affordability, and this combination makes Cos unique.
The Cos aesthetic is modern, timeless and often understated, but many of our pieces are also very striking. We focus a lot on cut and silhouette, as well as creating an elevated and considered colour palette in our collections.
Our design process always starts with research and exploration. We develop our collections from our studio in London, constantly striving to reinvent wardrobe staples and deliver the best possible quality in design and materials.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN DESIGNING MENSWEAR?
Menswear is an important and growing category. As a brand, we aim to design a menswear collection that caters to the needs of our customer, so we must understand how our clothes are being worn. We recently focused on the elevated everyday wardrobe, which resulted in our Soma collection.
The collection comprised 17 wardrobe essentials which were inspired by everyday movement; fittingly we worked with a choreographer to put the collection into movement.
The presentation took the form of a performance at Pitti Uomo, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, which marked our first foray into this creative discipline, following a long lineage of collaborations with artists from other disciplines.
THE TREND IN MENSWEAR DOESN’T MOVE AS FAST AS WOMENSWEAR. AS A BUSINESS ENTERPRISE, HOW DO YOU GO AROUND THIS WITHOUT AFFECTING EARNINGS?
We are unique in that it offers a timeless, quality product with great design, materials and finishes at an accessible price point.
Some of the techniques or details used in our garments would normally be associated with a bespoke tailor. Our pieces are designed and made to last beyond the season.
THE CLOTHES THAT COS MAKES ARE EUROPEAN IN STYLE. HOW HAS ITS MENSWEAR LINE BEEN ACCEPTED BY MALAYSIAN MEN?
We are constantly evolving to offer the best results for our customer while always staying true to our brand DNA. We are influenced by the work of artists and designers around the world. These collaborations provide a constant source of inspiration for our collections.
We believe that our customer shares the same interests and values we have as a brand wherever they are around the world. We feel very fortunate to be opening our second store in Malaysia and hope that we continue our success in the market.
WHAT WOULD BE THE MENSWEAR FOCUS AT THE NEW STORE IN THE GARDENS? WHAT IS THE FOCUS IN AUTUMN 2018 AND HOW IS IT RELEVANT TO PEOPLE ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD?
The Cos collections are consistent internationally, therefore the focus in Malaysia is in line with our focus for the rest of the world.
The Cos Autumn 2018 collection takes inspiration from the worlds of design and architecture. You will find reimagined casual essentials such as chinos, trench coats and T-shirts, which have been given new proportions.
Fabrics are clean, technical and redefined, and the colour palette ranges from a multitude of greys, taupe and oatmeal melange to more vibrant greens.
WHAT’S THE BEST FABRIC YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH FOR MEN AND WHY?
This really depends on the garments we are creating and where we are taking inspiration from. For Autumn/Winter 2018, we looked at contrasting and innovative materials to develop a lightly padded jacket from a thermoreactive fabric that interestingly changes colour when exposed to heat.
DEFINE A WELL-DRESSED MAN.
I find it difficult to come up with a set definition for a well-dressed man.
At Cos, we have a clear aesthetic but feel each piece should be styled in a way that makes the wearer comfortable.
Personally, I prefer a colour palette of navy blues and black, and feel more comfortable in casual everyday pieces such as five pocket jeans and merino crew neck jumpers.
WHAT’S THE PERFECT LENGTH OF A DRESS PANT?
I think it is important that clothes sit well on the body. A more formal trouser should sit just above the tops of your shoes so as not to alter the cut. However, we often create suiting in relaxed fabrics, sometimes taking inspiration from leisure and sportswear and these can feature a more exaggerated length.