owner & designer bas kosters studio
interview by Isrid
'Alone you are nothing’
“I am in my thirteenth year as a tenant with Bas Kosters Studio at the World Fashion Centre. Back in 2004, I took on an assignment for Bugaboo to add colour design to their line of strollers. The Dutch Fashion Foundation, located at the WFC, was able to provide me the workspace to do this project. Angelique Westerhof, who is the head of the Dutch Fashion Foundation, came up with the idea to create “The Floor” within the WFC. This entire floor would allow up and coming designers a proper space to work and it would also serve as a ‘creative hub’. The former board of the WFC understood the need for change and creativity within the building and they agreed to free up the thirteenth floor in Tower 1 to support this idea. I love it here! I have seen boards come and go and experienced numerous positive changes to the look of the building. Just recently, the front of the building got a fresh new look and they added some greenery. People are positively inspired seeing the Bas Kosters showroom. I also like to do my part in making sure the common lounge area on The Floor is a fun and fresh place to be.”
“ Being a tenant at the WFC has been a great experience for me and I am very happy with my workspace. Back in 2003, as I was starting my career as a designer, due to winning the Robijn Fashion Award, I was working out of a very small studio. Those were uncertain times. Once I started working at The Floor, I found myself in a clearly defined, enjoyable space. Throughout the years there has been a positive collaboration with the WFC.”
Can you tell us more about that?
“I was asked to design a WFC soccershirt. The board of the WFC came up with the idea for us to watch a very important finale, as a unified front, in matching shirts. For my red carpet show I was allowed to transform the basement into a red carpet catwalk. It allowed the WFC to try out a new and innovative use of their basement. Last year, as I was looking for additional space to feature my solo exposition, the WFC was quick to support me in my search. So, be strong, be loyal and try to break new ground together.I experience this as congenial and positive.”
Looking at your projects at Bas Kosters Studio, would you say you are a die hard believer in collaborating and co- creating?
“Alone you are nothing. Frankly, I can’t do too much alone. All I have is a clear vision of the future and how to get there. Together we are working to create the Bas Kosters dream.”
'Fashion is a craft. We are the craftmen and the workers. '
“Sometimes an internal struggle is going on due to various ambitions. On one hand there is the need to make money which in turn allows me the freedom to explore my fantasy and creativity. I feel gratitude towards both.My best ideas come to fruition as I am riding my bike into work. I can see it clearly and it comes alive in my mind, this certainly feels like some kind of magic. There is no way to turn it off.”
You are a multi disciplined person, how did you develop this versatility?
“ I realise I never changed from what I did when I was a child: playing dressup, wearing my mother’s jewelery, doing her make up, playing with dolls, drawing or doing arts and crafts. I am a curious, open person, I dare to express myself.The many things I do, makes it so that all has the right to be. This is truly the key to the puzzle. If you look at every aspect more closely, you will find I am not a true designer. As a musician, I don’t make very good music. In spite of all that it feels right. All that I do, I do with conviction, enthusiasm and vigour.”
The Company Bas Kosters Studio
“ I have one assistant. In addition I work with freelancers and a lot of interns. When it comes to directing my staff, I am pretty easy going. Throughout the years I have learned what does or doesn’t work, with the occasional fuck up. I am only human.”
How do you select your people?
“I am pretty much open to anyone who has the drive to do something within the company. I enjoy someone’s curiosity and enthusiasm in which I can be of some help. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are individuals best left alone and others who need a swift kick in the butt to get them going. It is important to me to be able to create my own surroundings. As a child we had very little rules: we were allowed to draw on the walls at home, we had a swing and sandbox right in the hallway and I was allowed to take all my toys to bed. My mom even recreated an entire mouse family as seen in a magazine. I got the space that I needed. I do realise space doesn’t work for everybody, each individual is different and some may need more structure. The problem with that is the upset it may cause when someone moves beyond that structure.”
“I once started ‘Anti Fashion’. I am all for fashion, just not the empty side effects that can accompany it. The need to acquire something new every single week: the latest mascara, another lipgloss, I feel that’s not what fashion is about. We will never learn differently if we don’t start educating people. Fashion is a craft. We are the craftmen and the workers. Fashion shouldn’t be just about consuming and owning it. The image of fashion needs to change. We need to develop a new way to look at fashion: revamping and reassessing the fashion industry.”
Looking at your work, do you consider yourself a fashion designer?
“I don’t like to label myself, I would rather call myself an artist. I create fashion but I do so much more than that. However, I am proud to be a designer and I do love fashion. I believe in the power and magic of fashion, not the warped image we all seem to believe in.”
“I always say: go with the flow. Perhaps a bit cliche but there is some truth to that. People should be genuine, now that’s a truth I believe in.”