André Fu, Studio Swine, Michael Sailstorfer, Bjarke Ingels—it’s a list one might associate with a biennale, not a fashion label. And, yet, they are just a sampling of the creative talent that Swedish apparel brand COS has pulled into its orbit.
Marked by Scandinavian and Japanese influences, COS (“Collection Of Style”) is a seasonal, more mature alternative to parent company H&M’s fast-fashion approach. It also maintains an equally considered patronage of the arts. Support of the Dia Foundation, the Serpentine Gallery’s Park Nights, and an annual pavilion at Milan Design Week have established a design world presence, while its retail flagships—some sleek ground-up constructions, others smart examples of adaptive reuse—demonstrate a keen architectural eye.
While fashion companies regularly work with artists, COS’s efforts are less brand alignments than curatorial statements. “COS and I talked openly and learned we share values regarding the plastic waste crisis, sustainability, and democratizing creativity,” Arthur Mamou-Mani says in reference to Conifera, the sustainably rendered latticework pavilion that took over Palazzo Isimbardi—and Instagram—during Milan Design Week 2019. “We were both excited to design something that the integrated values I’m passionate about. It ended up being a beautiful, collaborative process.”