Fashion

COS Creative Director Karin Gustafsson Brings the Brand to Life in Print

Inspired by architecture, the issue features work by Juergen Teller and Donald Judd.
Reading time 5 minutes

As far as brand content goes, COS has a very interesting print magazine. For example: an entire editorial featuring Karen Elson in the wilderness; a six-page interview with Juergen Teller with photographs of his custom studio; an inside look at the home-slash-museum of Rainer Judd (daughter of Donald Judd). Of course, the magazine also works as a catalog for the brand's Autumn Winter 2018 campaign, most of which was shot by Viviane Sasson, so if the magazine's primary goal is achieved, you may find yourself committing to a sweater or jacket along the way.

We spoke with COS creative director Karin Gustafsson about her inspirations for the issue, why she decided to introduce it by interviewing a New York City doorman, and what it was like to work with the founders of Fantastic Man to achieve a perfectly minimal aesthetic.

SAVANNAH SCOTT: How did you decide on“building” as the theme of the issue? 

KARIN GUSTAFSSON: We have always been inspired by architecture so it felt natural for us to create the “building” issue that really appreciates our interest. We not only wanted to focus on their designs but also to peek into their interiors, and explore the stories behind them.

SS: It’s interesting that it starts with an interview with a doorman. How did you find Anthony Narvaez and why did you choose him?

KG: We were already intrigued by the Forward Building for its Beaux-Arts design style and history as a former Jewish-American magazine headquarters. This then led us to Anthony Narvaez, the condo building doorman. As its guard of 12 years, he is the living embodiment of the building. We enjoyed profiling him in order to learn something new and to be able to share more about the building as a result. 

SS: COS is a very architectural brand, as in the clothing is more about quality, shape, cut and geometry, and much less about following trends. Where do you think the brand fits in this current climate of fast fashion and quick trends?

KG: We always consider what our customers want and aim to create timeless pieces which we can evolve season upon season. We tend to focus on our own trends by means of inspiration whether it’s through architecture, design or art, rather than focusing too heavily on industry directions. We certainly take the time to develop our collections and consequently, we’re able to offer high-quality products that are well-designed and made to last. Fashion is constantly moving and it is important that we are aware of what’s changing, of course, but also that we stay true to our brand identity in our own evolution.

SS: How do Teller and Judd fit into the COS brand?

KG: Juergen Teller is an esteemed photographer and artist so we were curious to know what he had behind the doors of his new West London studio. Traditionally, he aims to surprise through his works and for that reason we could only imagine what to expect of his studio. It was great to spend time with him and to hear first-hand what he thinks of his celebrated and architecturally superb space.

We have always been inspired by the works of Donald Judd and so we were excited to explore his legacy further and interview his daughter and Judd Foundation co-president, Rainer Judd. It was a truly fantastic opportunity for us to have time with Rainer at the preserved Judd Foundation base in New York’s SoHo district. 

SS: How did you go about choosing the artists, architects, and sculptors whose work is featured?

KG: There are so many inspiring creatives we follow, we like to reference their works to inspire us in our own creativity. We are constantly looking to these throughout our processes; without any inspirations, it would be difficult for our brand DNA to exist. We become excited when going through initially what inspires us and enjoy discovering innovative ways to present them in the magazine.

SS: What’s the goal of creating a magazine for a brand? What do you hope to achieve?

KG: The magazine acts as a sharing tool for our inspirations, a medium for us to play with our creativity and to curate that which influences us. It is also important for us to connect to our seasonal collections by presenting our own fashion editorials along with seasonal campaigns. We are proud to present beautifully shot imagery which is also cohesive to the theme of the magazine.

SS: Putting image credits on the cover of a magazine is rather unusual. What aesthetic decision did you make in regards to that? What was your intention?

KG: For magazine layouts and aesthetics, more generally speaking, we continue to work closely with the founders of Fantastic Man magazine to create a special, unique, and accessible publication. For instance, with the current Fall-Winter issue, the cover triggers a point of difference to other print publications with the untraditional crediting, giving more obvious contextual information to our readers.

 

See more from the issue below.

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