COS emphasizes 'modern,' 'timelessness'

COS emphasizes 'modern,' 'timelessness'

Collection of Style (COS), the sophisticated sister label of Swedish multinational fashion giant H&M, has launched its first standalone store in one of Korea’s most famous luxury districts, Cheongdam in southern Seoul, on Nov. 25.

The brand previously introduced limited collections at three stores in Korea — Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, Times Square in Yeoungdeungpo and Hyundai Department Store in Pangyo — but the new store in Cheongdam is quite symbolic, because the neighborhood is mostly occupied by stores offering luxury brands such as Dior, Burberry and Omega.

“It’s really about accessibility,” said Atul Pathak, head of communications at COS during an interview with The Korea Times. “We often think that, based on our aesthetic, there are going to be people who are very comfortable shopping more with the SPA brand but also with high-end brands, who can still look towards COS, somewhere they feel comfortable shopping.”

Opening its first store in London’s Regent Street in 2007, COS quickly gained popularity around the world, now owning 142 stores in 28 countries. The brand also entered into the Asian market in 2012, launching the collection line in Hong Kong and China before coming to Korea last year.

COS is considered a SPA (specialty retailer of private label apparel) brand in the fashion industry because it is involved in direct control of production, distribution and sales. However, it cannot be seen as a pure SPA brand for its comparatively high prices compared to H&M or Spain’s ZARA.

The most expensive menswear jackets from COS costs up to 590,000 won ($510.38) while its sister label H&M sells jackets at almost half that price.

Although COS first started in London and its headquarters are still located there, the collection shows the essence of Scandinavian design. ‘Modern’ and ‘timelessness’ are the key concepts of the brand.

“We love the idea of reduction and clean simple minimal lines,” said menswear designer Martin Andersson. “Making garments more beautiful, but taking things away, for example, not having a lapel on a blazer or hiding buttons — it’s sort of… we say that we have a Scandinavian design heritage.

“I want (people) to think about really well-designed clothes that have this image of something, which is quite timeless, but modern at the same time,” added Andersson.

The menswear designer picked its winter coat for the must-have item from COS, which is a wool-cassimere mix. It is the most minimal coat ever offered by the brand, and Andersson completely removed everything, hiding pockets and lapels.

The COS 2016 Spring/Summer line reinterprets the concept of serenity with a minimalist aesthetic approach. The designs focused on natural drapes while presenting delicate folds.

The ratio of the women’s collection to the men’s line at COS is eight to two, which goes the same for its stores in other countries. The brand collection consists of accessories, leisurewear, swimwear and underwear.

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