Meet The Globe-Trotting Designer Behind Cosette

PHOTOS BY KAREN HERNANDEZ FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

PHOTOS BY KAREN HERNANDEZ FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

“Traveling for me has an untapped potential for inspiration,” designer Rosa Kim shared in our interview, “it’s not only the experience of being at a different place and experiencing new things, but in my case, I try to align my whole mind and body to be ready to soak up anything that might be captivating or interesting.”

It’s one thing for travel to play a role in a designer’s creative inspiration, but for LA-based designer Rosa Kim of Cosette, it has really played a vital role in just about everything. From South Korea to Buenos Aires, the globe-trotting designer’s experiences have taught her to not only explore but to fully understand all the world has to offer. Naturally this has translated into her approach to design as she’s studied extensively in Europe - a destination in particular that she attributes much of her inspiration to.

Though for Rosa, the Cosette woman never feels confined to one location in particular…in fact she contends that her girl is “a citizen of the world” whose imagination and curiosity is just as frenetic as her desire for discovery. Luckily the clothing itself is able to cater to this lifestyle. The collections boast a variety of easy silhouettes, beautiful and muted color palettes, with a few fun details including eye-popping prints and textures.

Unsurprisingly our sartorial needs were met during our recent visit with Rosa and her team at our tradeshow in LA! There, we spoke about the evolution of Cosette, the authenticity of travel, and how Rosa is assembling the brand’s community in LA and beyond. Check out the conversation below and head over to The Style Line for an exclusive second part of this interview.

Please introduce yourself!

I consider myself a California girl now but I was born in Korea, raised in Buenos Aires since the age of 5, and moved to Los Angeles when I was 15. Reminiscing on that experience, I believe it has made me appreciate other cultures, their lifestyle, their food, and the importance of having an open-mind to capture the innate beauty found in these places and elsewhere. So whenever I’m not designing, my keen inclination is to get out and travel to a new place.

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Now that you’re based in LA do you have any itch to discover or spend time somewhere else? 

In 2012 I took a sabbatical year to study patternmaking at Central St. Martins in London and I think it was the best professional move I could have done at the time. I tried to maximize the time there so I also studied sweater design in Brighton and leather design in Florence, Italy. The whole experience was very eye opening and it gave me the confidence boost that I needed to start Cosette. So, if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would travel to another European city, perhaps Barcelona, if I feel that I need to regain my inspiration back.

How would you characterize your relationship to Brand Assembly and what role does community play for Cosette?

Brand Assembly has created a unique marketplace where organic interactions take place between buyers and both established and emerging designers. For us being a young emerging brand, the Brand Assembly team was exceptionally friendly and showed a genuine interest in our brand. They helped us along the way to open up dialogues with relevant people to our business such as buyers, showrooms and press opportunities that are so crucial in the formative stages of a new label. 

Community has an instrumental value to us as well. It has helped us meet wonderful individuals who love what we do, that want to see us succeed and then take action in helping the cause. It has stimulated collaboration to happen naturally in so many projects across the board, and I feel it has helped us ground the foundation of a fan base, which we’re very grateful for. 

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Your design experience spans the globe - why do you think travel is such a prominent source of inspiration for designers and how do you hope to have these experiences uniquely translate into Cosette? 

Traveling for me has an untapped potential for inspiration. It’s not only the experience of being at a different place and experiencing new things, but in my case, I try to align my whole mind and body to be ready to soak up anything that might be captivating or interesting. It may sound ceremonial in preparation but I’ve discovered the most meaningful details that I then collect and incorporate into my designs. 

Many contemporary fashion designers that we’ve spoken with have alluded to the fact that they’ve got their hands in every aspect of their business. So from PR to social media, what other areas of your business have you developed a passion for? Have these discoveries led to any new inspirations for the brand’s story?

I must confess that prior to Cosette, I wasn’t so engaged in social media. I used it but not like today where I’m constantly keeping up-to-date with our Instagram page and connecting with bloggers and people who are interested in the brand. I’ve met very nice people along the way, who have helped me develop the brand and support me in areas where I need advice and that’s what I came to realize, that social media extends its interactions into the real world, and that’s very fun.

Who is Cosette? If she had to have a story what would it be?

Simplicity, functionality and sophistication is what the Cosette girl seeks in her wardrobe. Modern yet classic, day to night, work and play, feminine and masculine, understated and sexy, elegant and casual, forward-thinking, yet timeless. She dresses not to clamor the attention of those around her, because attention more often than not, gets in the way of real encounters. She is confident and doesn’t shy away from exuding her feminine side, after all it’s what makes her unique and free. She sees herself as being a citizen of the world and as such perceives it in a broad way. Being the avid world traveler that she is, she finds cities to be her natural habitat where she can explore and feed her intellect and imagination. Vibrant places rich in history and culture, with unique architecture and design.

From a design point of  view, what are you most excited about pursuing this year?

While we always try to incorporate something new and fun in the fabrics or prints that we use, this year I would concentrate more on personality. By depicting and exhibiting all those traits that make the Cosette girl unique and interesting. 

What do you assemble daily? 

I always try to be up-to-date in new upcoming trends or shifts of trends mainly just to be informed of where the market is moving. It’s not always the case that we follow a specific trend, unless it’s something that it is very important for us as designers to be aware of in order to keep ourselves relevant and with a forward thinking mentality.