Coster Copenhagen: Bringing social awareness into fashion
Text: Signe Hansen | Photos © Coster Copenhagen
L oved by women all over the world, the Coster Copenhagen fashion universe presents an unusually successful combination of style, social awareness and practicality. This autumn’s collection will see a combination of raw botanic prints, frills and long skirts, and is, as always, produced with a strong focus on social and environmental sustainability.
In 2012, after many years of working and designing for other fashion brands, Pia Coster set out to found her own company. Though she started out modestly from the family’s living room, the project’s potential became clear as soon as the first collection hit the market. Pia’s husband, Chris Coster, soon took over the company’s administration and, six years later, the couple are still working and holidaying together.
Aside from a strong marriage, Pia Coster puts the brand’s success down to its high quality, reasonable prices and wearability. “The clothes themselves create an independent identity and don’t need styling with an extra wardrobe of accessories,” she argues. “They’re easy to wear and easy to understand — you don’t need scarves, necklaces and extra blouses. There are so many small and simple details in the designs, which make each item complete in itself.”
It is a formula that has earned Coster Copenhagen fans all over the world. Today, the brand is distributed in 15 countries and the Coster family has been extended, with 18 employees now working at the company’s stylish Northern Zealand office.
A complete universe
Coster Copenhagen produces four yearly collections, each split into three colour-coordinated drops. This means that each month, customers get a complete Coster universe from which they can easily mix and match pieces to create easily interchangeable looks. “Our customers are very loyal — they buy everything from trousers to coats from us, and might come in and get three tops, a pair of jeans and a jacket in one go. That’s why we have chosen to do it this way. It’s different from what other brands do, but it means that it is very easy for our customers to match from everything in our universe.”
To make things even easier, Coster Copenhagen’s seasonal collections are complemented by a permanent collection of long-lasting staple products, with simple designs and colours. “Our basic collection is constantly expanding but we don’t change the old products or the colours, and this means that our customers can always come back and find that specific colour to match another item,” Chris Coster explains.
This autumn’s Coster Copenhagen collection will see a focus on lace, botanic prints and long skirts. “It’s based on our own Botanic Flower print and the current wave of colours,” says Pia Coster. “Normally, we don’t do flower prints, but this one is done in a more raw style, so it hits our trademark combination of the raw and the feminine perfectly.”
It is our responsibility
From the very beginning, Coster Copenhagen was founded with a strong focus on ethical production methods and quality materials. The implementation of this is not enforced by any third party organisation, but by the Coster couple themselves. Every year, they travel to meet producers in Italy, Turkey, Portugal, India, and China to ensure that the workers who produce their clothes have fair working conditions. “We have chosen to take our CSR (corporate social responsibility) into our own hands because it means a great deal to us. That’s why, when we go to visit our producers, which we do twice a year, we make sure, for example, that the women creating our embroideries work in air-conditioned facilities, and not in 40 degrees under the open sun like they do in some places, and that all workers have proper facilities, like access to toilets and a lunch scheme,” says Pia Coster. ”On top of that, we mainly work with pure materials, which gives a more environmentally sustainable production.”
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