COSSAC is a fashion brand that is committed to slow fashion and sustainable design. Designed in London and made in Europe, COSSAC is promoting the minimalistic concept of capsule wardrobes and redefining the basics with a sass edge.
This blog post is about an interview we made with the founder of COSSAC, Agata Kozak.
How was COSSAC born and what are its core values?
COSSAC was born in 2014, when the Rana Plaza disaster took place.
“I love fashion, but it really hurt me that fashion can make people so miserable, I think that if people that are making your clothes miserable, it’s not a beautiful piece of garment.” and this is why COSSAC was born!
The core values of COSSAC are transparency, sustainability and social well-being. Everyone should have fair wages, conditions are very important, no discrimination and the fabric used are sustainable and organic. The products need to be good, then sustainability is an added value. “Sustainability should be a standard, it’s not extraordinary, it’s just basic,” she said.
Another value is to make eco-fashion; current and relevant. Normal people who are not converted into eco-fashion yet, find this preachy attitude very off-putting, therefore, the language used to communicate with their customers is easy language and not too pushy. As for business, marketing is very important. Photoshoots and branding are very thought through because this is where many eco brands fail. It’s all about image!
What are the things that define a piece or is there a piece that is defined by a different criterion than other pieces, or is it standard?
Everything in COSSAC is sustainable.
Even the neck label is made from recycled polyester, the hangtag and the lookbook is made from recycled paper! And they always keep packaging and labelling to a minimum.
It can sometimes be a struggle, and one of the biggest problems to become sustainable is that it’s hard to find nice sustainable fabrics. Organic fabrics are hard to produce, so fabric companies are not very flexible with minimum orders while most fabric companies want to work with big brands and avoid entertaining small orders.
Sometimes they just don’t understand.
Where are the productions carried out?
All productions are carried out in Europe, Portugal and Turkey. All the factories are ISO and GOTS-certified factories. These factories are small and transparent; therefore, it is easier to build up close relationships. The first collaboration started in Istanbul, Turkey.
Agata regularly travels to partnering factories to see the processes and the conditions conforming the ethical production standards.
“if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your product, because they will care more and want it to succeed.”
What are the good and bad times in being an entrepreneur in sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is slow fashion, but for fabric orders, many needs to be bought in bulk, and this is a risk for any clothing brands that do not do fast fashion. Since then, with the growth of COSSAC, it has increased the number of styles from 20 pieces per style to 100-120 pieces.
In Turkey, the paperwork for the delivery processes is very complicated, this is the reason why COSSAC is also working with factories in Europe and Portugal.
The good of it is the good feeling you get knowing that when an order comes through, someone is trusting to pay for the work that is being put in.
A happy moment for COSSAC was when there was a wholesale order from Japan. As some of you may know, it is extremely hard to break into the Japanese market!
Where do you see COSSAC in 5 years?
Keeping COSSAC a small brand because a “small brand is beautiful”. Growing too big would not be so sustainable and there has to be the right balance such as having a minimum number of quantities.
COSSAC has an open business plan and being extremely flexible is very important! Business plans limits opportunities, it is also best to see the brand from season to season and make the amendments.
Having to know each shop that they work with personally is very important to keep for the business relationship and another dream is to become more established in Japan, because Japan is Agatka’s happy place and she would like to move there one day!
Why should more people be more conscious of what they wear and how to start doing so?
It is baby steps. Agata is very conscious of what she puts on her skin, what she eats, everything that contributes to the quality of life and as people grow older, they will realise it.
“I still have high street fashion labels in my wardrobe, many people go to one extreme or the other but, I think it’s better to be 30% sustainable than nothing at all. This is where many people get it wrong!”
COSSAC is aware that their target customer is an educated woman, so there are certain types of people that understand this transition.
People in bigger cities have so many options to choose from, and that helps a lot. Sustainability is not a trend. Sustainability is becoming mainstream, it’s becoming a norm and people expect things and are more curious about the background of the products that they buy.