Karin Gustafsson

Wednesday 2nd Dec 2015

Are you a lover of COS?

This is of course a rhetorical question, as I’ve yet to meet anyone to the contrary!

In Sydney recently to celebrate the opening of their new store at 5 Martin Place, I was lucky enough to catch up with their lovely Head of Women’s Wear Design, Karin Gustafsson.

So, as a slightly different take on ‘In Her Wardrobe‘, I asked Karin to fill us in on what inspires her, fashion lessons learnt and what every woman needs in her wardrobe.

For the full interview, follow the link below…


If you were to describe COS in 3 words, what would they be:
Timeless, and yet at the same time very modern.
Functional. Functionality is very important for us, for example we like to add pockets where we can – even if it’s a little black dress.
Quality, even down to the fabric that we use to line the pockets – it needs to have a nice feel to it.


Who is the COS woman?
We don’t see one particular person, we see it more as a group of people that have a similar mindset, sharing our interest in architecture, being culturally aware and also appreciating good quality in both design and materials. She’s someone that’s looking for products that are sustainable.


What was your inspiration for the current collection in store now?
Our starting point was an architectural style called ‘Tropical Modernism‘ and the work of its leading architect, Geoffrey Bawa. We really like its aesthetic – its style is very close to mid-century modern architecture but there are subtle differences, accommodating for humid climates, the blurred lines between indoor and the outdoor spaces and their use of green. We wanted to immerse ourselves with loads of different greens.

We also wanted to give the collection a technical feel. We used a technique called ‘burn-out’ on a lot of our technical materials as well as our core, natural fibres. We looked to map typology and also deconstructed words and letters so they become like graphic elements and combined these with the ‘burnout’ technique to create a new, modern take on lace.


Is there a colour, shape or silhouette that you find yourself coming back to season after season?
The ‘straight-up-and-down’ silhouette is very key for COS. We see our customer really liking this silhouette and we see them wearing it in many different ways – be it volume on top of volume, belted or even just on its own.


What 5 key elements does every woman need in her wardrobe?
You must have a good base, so you need to invest in good basic stuff – a good t shirt, a good shirt, a good mens-inspired trouser, a good dress and then you can add seasonal highlights.


Is there anything in fashion that you never want to see again?
I don’t really see fashion in that way. Everything can be turned around into something new again. Reinventing is really nice. That is something that is core to us. We look to the past and research that but then turn it into something new.


Is there a lesson that you’ve learnt that you find yourself sharing and handing down?
Never sacrifice on the quality, the design and the material that you use. Always pay attention to all the details.


Any outfit looks better with

A black lace up brogue.


And finally, you can find even more COS here…

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