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Karin Gustafsson


Most Creative People 2017

Karin Gustafsson

Creative Director, COS

For not wasting a stitch

Unlike fast-fashion com­panies that operate on a model of cheaply made garments meant to last only a season (including its parent, H&M), the British brand COS designs for “functionality, modernity, and long-term investment,” says Karin Gustafsson—all at an aff­ord­able price. Gustafsson has been creating the company’s minimalist, art- and architecture-inspired silhouettes for more than a decade, but since becoming creative director in summer 2016, she’s been helping the company extend its sustain­able mission even further: For COS’s 10th-anniversary collec­tion, which launched spring 2017, designers and pattern­makers worked side by side to create shirts, tunics, and jackets that utilize the full cut of fabric, which minimizes production waste. The company’s environmentally conscious model is proving to be scalable: In 2016, COS opened 43 new stores, including its 10th in the U.S. since 2014. It’s also growing its e-commerce presence, without traditional advertising or marketing. 

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