COS is a new fashion brand under H&M, designed for “women and men who want modern, functional, considered design.” Their mission is to reinvent wardrobe essentials, putting a unique spin on timeless pieces that can last beyond the season. I find their products desirable because they are basic and simple without being overly simplistic or commonplace. They expertly navigate the space between edgy and classic. Take, for instance, the mustard skirt above: on the one hand, it’s a traditional a-line skirt; on the other hand, its bold color and stiff structure make it stand out and might cause someone to look twice.
In addition to being modern and functional, their design aesthetic is very restrained, modest, and almost puritanical in nature. The models wear minimal makeup and style their hair simply; their bodies are covered by structured and often oversized garments that are layered on top of each other to produce exaggerated silhouettes. I’m curious about what the move towards a minimalist, androgynous aesthetic bodes for the gendering of fashion and how it might offset cultural norms that pressure women to wear more revealing or body-conscious trends.
I also found the branding of COS desirable because of the way they integrate the display of their clothing with more abstract and thematic elements that show the thoughtfulness and expressiveness behind their design aesthetic. In their online lookbook, different photoshoots are couched between articles about contemporary art and music composition (article previews shown above). By aligning their own designs with other aspects of high culture, they are able to create a lifestyle to accompany their products: one that is intellectual, highbrow, and inquisitive. As seen below, their photoshoots are elegant and artistic, showing how they drew inspiration from natural phenomena.