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BRAND BACKGROUND COS, which stands for Collection Of Style is a fashion concept launched in 2007 on Bond Street in London by the high street giant H&M. The aim of the brand is to cater for a middle market between high-end designers and the high street. The brand produces a more luxurious collection of men’s and women’s wear, has a higher price point than H&M, but still adopts the same core values of “fashion & quality at the best price”-H&M [online] 2011 COS offers clothing with higher quality design, materials and construction than H&M and in doing this COS aims to appeal to an increasingly quality, value and price conscious consumer to whom the H&M brand wouldn’t appeal. Since 2007 COS has successfully expanded across Europe and now has over 40 stores.


The niche are of the market that COS occupies is providing timeless clothing that still remains innovative in its design. Their high street competitors are mostly providing either innovative trend led collections, which are likely to appeal to a younger consumer or longer lasting yet un-inspired collections. Brands that have similar style including Patrik Ervell and Jil Sander cater for a more high-end designer market.

TONE OF VOICE .modern.urban.chic.quiet.accessible. luxury.scandinavian.wearable.clean. timeless.creative.classic



The selling point of the brand is that it provides high-end materials and designs at high street prices. The brand is marketed independently, with no clear connection to H&M, this aim of this is to help COS build a brand identity that is completely separate to that of H&M, as associations with its more mainstream parent brand would not help the brands more upmarket appeal. The whole COS experience aims to mimic that of the designer brands that it emulates in its collections. The brand produces its own magazine which has a similar style to the ACNE paper, and marketing campaigns and in-store environments all have a consistently minimalist and un-cluttered aesthetic, aiming to bring the customer the entire luxury experience at a more accessible price.

One of the most recent 2012 campaigns celebrating the brands 5th anniversary involved the launch of a special limited edition collection of 5 takes on the classic white shirt. COS specialises in creating fashionable essentials and reinventing classics. The brands style is clean cut and sophisticated, with designs that aim to be long lasting in the wardrobe, with subtle design twists on wardrobe staples and essentials, being consistent with the websites tag-line: “timeless modern tactile functional” COS [online] 2011

DESIGN DRIVEN COS is very quiet in terms of its advertising, with its main forms of communication with the consumer being its online presence and seasonal magazine. The website features a section called “things” with features on a variety of creative influencers, from furniture designers to architects. The brand is also involved in artistic collaborations and partnered in projects for London’s Freize art fair. By being involved in these projects COS positions itself as a brand that is creative and forward thinking in its designs. COS aims to engage with a customer who is cultured and creative by drawing inspiration from contemporary art and design. It is not a brand that is about cheap slogans and fast fashion trends, but positive design and innovative ideas.



Brand as a Product Stylish Timeless Functional Modern Classics Quality Distinctive Accesible

Brand as an Experience Easy High Quality Straightforward Luxurious

Brand as a Symbol Simple Graphically Pure Minimal Clean Streamlined Muted Colours

Brand as a Person Professional Intelligent Creative Mature Cultured

Brand as an Organisation Distinctive Creative Professional

RATIONALE FOR PHOTOSHOOT TO HIGHLIGHT NEW MENSWEAR COLLECTION The aim of the photo shoot will be to highlight new seasons menswear collection in the COS seasonal magazine and online, as well as sustaining customer loyalty. Although the brand currently caters for both males and females, there is an opportunity to increase COS’s appeal in the menswear market, as men are increasingly wanting quality clothing that will last across the seasons, with less men finding it as important to keep up with the latest fashion trends (Mintel, 2010). The photo-shoot will be featured on the COS website and also as an individual menswear feature in the COS seasonal magazine, to help strengthen their brand identity as one that is innovative yet timeless and wearable.

Target Consumer Pen Profile Michael 27 London Interior Architect

He Is: Professional Independent Creative Stylish On-the Go Technology Savvy

He enjoys: Travelling when he can afford it a well fitted suit art exhibitions films living in the city his bike

He Reads: Apartmento Dansk Frame Favourite Gadget: Graphics Tablet

Style Icons: “Bob Dylan, because he was so far ahead of the game, some good sunglasses and a shirt were all he needed, or James Dean because he had a good solid look.�

Favourite Stores: American Apparel Vintage Stores DS Dundee Selfridges Zara YMC Goodhood

Further Insight into COS & the Consumer The perceptual map shows that COS caters for a customer that doesn’t want to buy into the latest fad, yet still has an interest in style. It offers a more grown up take on H&M’s menswear collection and therefore appeals to a more mature audience (25-50). Their collections appeal to professional urban men of style, and have been credited in the Guardian for providing “some of the best suits on the high street” The Guardian [online] 2010 The brand is targeting a customer who feels fooled by paying premium prices for a designer label in their clothing, but still wants the quality of design and finish at more accessible prices, making aspirational fashion a less elitist. Their collections focus on timeless pieces, to last across the seasons.

The brand caters for a customer that feels disenchanted by fast fashion trends seeking style and form rather than cheap slogans and throw away fashion that dominates the high street. Michael Kristensen, COS’s menswear designer said: “The focus is quality in terms of the fabrics, fit and finish. It’s ready-to-wear level design at high street prices. Plus, there are lots of fundamental pieces, like the perfect fitting piqué polo shirt; crisp shirting; classic T-shirts and cashmere V-necks” H&M [online] 2007 COS aims to bring the Luxury experience to the High Street consumer, and has built a strong brand image of aspirational simplicity through its in store environment, collections, website and magazine. Their collaborations with artists and design-led creative processes give the brand a more authentic creativity than fast fashion brands that copy catwalk trends. The brands strong handwriting and attention to detail are what sets it apart from other high street competitors.

Key Message COS is the future of style for the urban man, providing timeless style with a twist.

What is the big idea?

The Narrative

The photo shoot is going to be based in the urban environment of New York City and the main reference point for the style of the shoot will be the film The Adjustment Bureau. The urban backdrop will help to illustrate the collection as the ideal wardrobe for the modern man with the big city mindset.

The 2011 film the adjustment bureau tells the story of a romance between a U.S. Congressman and a ballet dancer. Their romance is interrupted by a legion of “adjusters”, who have the power to manipulate their futures, trying to separate them, as their life is supposed to follow a pre-determined plan in which they never met. After being told “the plan” for his future by the bureau the congressman tries to change his fate in the final scene, which features a cat and mouse chase through New York City between the adjusters, who are identifiable by their hats & the congressman as he tries to go against the “the plan” and keep his relationship, altering their futures.

The big idea for the photoshoot is going to be based on The Adjustment Bureaus’ tag-line “Your Worlds Has Been Adjusted”. The aim of the photoshoot is to highlight the idea of timelessness in COS’s designs, as the film deals with ideas of time, future, also reference the idea of adjustment of the past, which is relevant to the COS design ethos of classics with a twist.

This final urban chase scene will be the narrative for the phtooshoot.


Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm are a photography duo based in Amsterdam. Their work is somewhere between fashion and art, which works particularly well the reputation COS wants to build as a cultured and creative brand, as it defies traditional expectations of fashion photography.

Some of their work also experiments with perspective and an imaginative use of light & shadow, which could help to illustrate the urban hide & seek narrative to the photo-shoot, with models hiding in shadows and just silhouettes of figures being shown.

Their style of photography is extremely graphic, the clean lines and bold silhouettes would help to put emphasis of the photo shoot on the shape and form of the collection against the urban backdrop.

The pair are experienced working in black and white, which is necessary for this shoot, to give the photographs a minimalist feel, which is coherent with the mostly muted colour palette of COS’ collections.


London Based stylist Jodie Barnes has been chosen for this shoot. He is currently the fashion director at men’s lifestyle magazine, FANTASTIC MAN, which has been praised for its art-direction (D&AD, 2008). Alongside this he has also contributed to Arena Homme +, The Gentlewoman, Interview, 10 Magazine, and i-D. As one of the aims of the shoot is to brand COS menswear as the future of style for the urban man, Jodie Barnes would be a suitable stylist, as his experience, particularly at FANTASTIC MAN, would mean she already has an understanding of the type of consumer that COS is targeting.

This is because the magazine markets itself as “The Gentleman’s Style Journal”, with the creators Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom claiming the magazine was created for a man who couldn’t identify with all the models being used in magazines, all the 12-year-olds . . . We thought, Let’s redefine a men’s magazine and make a contemporary magazine for us 30-plus guys who don’t want to wear sportswear anymore Interview Magazine <online> [no date] His styling reduces colours and shapes to their absolute essentials. This clarity suits COS perfectly as her clean and restrained aesthetic shows design with no distraction. This will allow the purity and unexpected design details in COS’s collection to to take centre stage, and present an attainable and wearable image.


The location used for the shoot should be a very clean stylized urban environment, stripped back to the bare minimum, in order to be coherent with previous COS campaigns. Various locations should be used to illustrate the â&#x20AC;&#x153;urban chaseâ&#x20AC;? narrative of the shoot. With some shots being taken from above on second story walkways. The surrounding environment should be angular dynamic, featuring brutalist architecture and sharp lines. There must also be at least one shot featuring a stairs, cropped to only the lower half of the body or feet, to specifically illustrate the footwear.

IDEAL LOCATIONS COULD INCLUDE: Seagram Building & Plaza Guggenheim Whitney Museum Ford Foundation building American Folk art Museum Begrisch Hall The Hayward Gallery


There should be at least 4 models cast to represent the Adjusters in the photo story and one model to represent the congressman. Casting models that are more culturally diverse should make the brand appear more accessible to a wider demographic, aiming to appeal to any man with an interest in style regardless of race or age. The models cast should not be the typically chiseled or “fresh faced” young models of fashion, and should be similar in appearance to the main characters featured in the film.

THE PROPS & STYLING HATS DELIVERABLES The main clothing used in the collection will be the upcoming menswear range for next season, the only other essential element is the hats worn to identify the Adjusters. Michael Hackett, producer of The Adjustment Beaureau, explains that the idea behind the hats and Mad Men styling of the adjusters in the film was to have “great-looking suits and hats, but not to have them indicate any one specific time period, It could be '40s, it could be '30s and it could be today. There's something retro but also modern about them. It's evocative and adds to their otherworldly element without having them be exaggerated” YouTube [online] 2011 The styling of the shoot should be consistent the COS’s minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. The looks should not be eccentric or trend driven in their styling should be easily wearable by the consumer, market research has found that few men want to really stand out when they buy clothes, particularly in the more mature market that COS caters to (Mintel, 2010). The aim of the shoot is to build an image for the brand as one that advocates style over fashion.

The models used should be new faces in fashion, so they aren’t associated with other brands or celebrities. This is because COS is targeting a consumer who doesn’t want to buy into a brand or celebrity, but simply into a quality product. When asked if COS would use a similar celebrity endorsement strategy to H&M, head of COS womenswear Rebekka Bay said Never say never, but it’s not really what COS is about, it’s a very democratic brand, and it doesn’t really need to show off. It’s just about beautiful clothing Monocle [online] 2011


DELIVERABLES A series of images are required for this photo shoot, as the story will be used as a menswear editorial feature in the COS magazine, and online. The photo shoot must include: ! a photograph cropped to the lower half of the body with the model running up steps, to illustrate the brands footwear. ! a photograph taken from above, simply showing the 4 adjusters shoulders and the top of their hats crossing a plaza. ! an image from the front of the 4 adjusters lined up beside each other looking down over a second story pedestrian walkway ! One image of the congressman running towards the camera ! One image of the congressman taken directly from the front looking his side as if he is hiding around a corner from the bureau. This photograph is particularly important as it will; be used on the front of the COS magazine, enough space must be left at the top of the image for the COS logo to be added above. ! One landscape close up of just the cuff and watch, with the arm grabbing onto a railing ! One portrait image taken looking up at the architecture from a lower perspective with the congressman in front. ! One image with just the shadow and silhouette of one of the adjusters against a concrete backdrop. ! Close up shots cropping the body of the model to only certain limbs to highlight a design detail in the clothing. ! There must be a collection of images just featuring Brutalist urban architecture to be used as a border for other images in the editorial post production. ! The final image of the series should be of one of the adjusters hats, hung up on a railing or on the floor. The model should not be making eye contact with the camera in any of the images. The photos of the congressman should mostly feature him looking back over his shoulder as if he is being chased, or ahead past the camera. Shots of the adjusters should mainly be taken from behind, to add mystery to their characters, with them walking alongside each other in a military fashion.

PHOTOSHOOT EXECUTION POSTPRODUCTION All images should be shot in black & white using a high contrast to empasise the form and silhouette of the clothing. It may be necessary postproduction to increase the contrast of the photographs. On the COS website the photographs will be used as standalone images, with no extra text added. One of the main uses of this series of photographs will be for a menswear editorial feature in the COS magazine, the layout of the images should be consistent with that of the brands current magazine layout designed by Jenny Eneqvist. The use of wide white borders is prevalent throughout the magazine, so a variety of image formats should be produced, not just full page portrait images. The brutalist architecture photographs should also be incorporated into the borders as part of the layout.

COS photoshoot brief  

This is a photographic brief project written to guide a photoshoot for the COS menswear collection.

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