Cos: First Fast Fashion Brand to Show at Pitti

Florence, Italy — Not a squeak was heard in Florence’s Renaissance-era Ospedale degli Innocenti where London-based minimalist, fast-fashion brand Cos showed its “Soma” menswear capsule collection, in a poetic display choreographed by famed British choreographer Wayne McGregor.  

Cos SOMA menswear presentation in Florence. Photo: Courtesy of PR.

In fact, a lot of eyebrows were raised when Pitti Immagine, the organizers of Pitti Uomo, announced the London-based brand’s presence on the roster of Pitti Uomo 94, as many of the long-time brands that show here are rooted in slow fashion and Italian craftsmanship. Cos’ "Soma" show marked the first time a fast fashion brand has showcased at Pitti Uomo.  

“I think that it confirms the importance of Pitti Uomo’s image in terms of the world of menswear,” Pitti Immagine CEO Raffaello Napoleone, who added that in addition to the special guest designers like Craig Green and Roberto Cavalli designer Paul Surridge, Pitti has for many years been an occasion for brands, as well as artists, musicians, and other creatives, outside its traditional realm to showcase to a wide, global public.  

Cos is owned by fast fashion powerhouse H&M and also has a global retail network, so many of the buyers present at the fair went to the show out of sheer curiosity. 

“Pitti was the proper place because, historically, it’s the biggest menswear event ever in the year. You’ve got traditional tailoring and it’s also very experimental. It is amazing to show it in a real city, a beautiful city, away from the stage and not in a fashion show – very real life,” said Christophe Copin, Head of Menswear at Cos. 

Copin stressed that “Soma” is all about essentials. “We didn’t want to make a fashion show because it was not about that. It was about the movement. There’s something very connected to the functionality of the fabric. We always do work with other artists, and this time it was about the movement that we do every day without even thinking about it. That’s why the name is ‘Soma,’ because it’s about body without mind. You make the movement 200 times a day without even thinking about it.”

Cos SOMA menswear presentation in Florence. Photo: Courtesy of PR.

The fashion brand chose the calming courtyard of the former orphanage designed by famed architect Filippo Brunelleschi as the setting to solidify its reputation among the industry leaders that attended Pitti Uomo’s 94th edition. With “Soma,” creative director Karin Gustafsson, who is known for her indelible mark on the brand, was able to convey her signature style and flair for timeless, tactical fashion. 

“I think it’s just something about the aspiration of the clothes – clean, beautiful, minimal. We wanted to do something with the bodies; they were very liquid and quiet and not very rhythmic,” McGregor said, adding that each outfit was tested and experimented with in order to determine what movements could be created with each piece.