Time is early afternoon of Tuesday May 27, 2014 and location is the garment district of Manhattan and BDMOTP feeling lucky because we get to interview Koos van den Akker, fashion designer and creator of the iconic “Cosby Sweater” seen on Bill Cosby in old school sitcom The Cosby Show. We are in his workshop and Koos is behind his sewing machine, ready to spill.
Koos: Do you mind if I smoke?
BDMOTP: Of course not!
And Koos lights a cigarette.
BDMOTP: Koos, how do your goals and experience jive with the goals of the young and the hip of today?
Koos: I have no idea.
BDMOTP: Can a creator ever be separated from his creation?
Koos answer is in the negative and he indicates that he is always creating in his workshop even over the past Memorial Day weekend when everyone else is out partying or travelling. There is no place Koos rather be than in his workshop creating. He creates not to please customers, but for the sake of creation. He hopes that what one creates will be pleasing to someone. Koos considers himself to be a craftsman and not an artist – too many people call themselves artists today and they produce, well, sh**.
BDMOTP: Koos, are there certain concepts or ideas you employ during the creative process or is it all intuition?
Koos responds that simple shapes are his canvass and that fabrics are his paints. He was much inspired by the access to fabrics he found in New York when he first moved to Manhattan from Holland in 1968. Koos has always been much inspired by New York skyscrapers, and when he is creating and designing he thinks of men even though it is mostly women buying his creations. Today “women want their men better dressed”, Koos says.
BDMOTP: What will be your legacy Koos?
Koos: I hope to drop dead behind the sewing machine.
Koos wants to be remembered for his hard work, for being successful with doing what he loves to do, for not compromising, and for making beautiful things. But he rather not have his work end up in a museum when people no longer wear it, because, according to Koos, ” … that is like death”.
You can find his creations at Koos & Co on 1263 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Or you can find Koos on Facebook.
- Interview by Richard Chianese
- Photos by Rayzor Sharp
- Modeling by Kevin van Delsen
- Written by Sandro, BDMOTP