Interview by Anano Shalamberidze

Almost exactly a year ago, Sine & Cosine, a Dutch brand inspired by the country’s landscape and culture, came on our radar. Intrigued by the design duo’s innovative approach to translating heritage into modern wearable pieces, Numéro had a conversation with the brand about their creative process. Now a year and a new collection later, we catch up with Felix Koopmans and Robert Pans about the brand’s newfound visual identity and future aspirations.

Felix and Robert, we spoke about a year ago about Sine & Cosine and the brand’s ambition for the future, what has changed since then for you as designers and for the brand? 

Since the last time we caught up, we’ve been working hard to establish and define our brand. We’ve been in contact with industry veterans and have linked up with many other creative minds. Also, we’ve expanded our team with a historian with a fashion background—he’ll be doing our communications. We still have a long way to go, but we’re really pleased with the progress we’ve made in the meantime. We’re just enjoying ourselves as much as possible and doing exciting things. Last January, we were represented at Paris Fashion Week, debuting our OOGST 2 collection, a dream come true. When all the hard work pays off, it makes you even more motivated to keep going. 

As designers, we put in the effort and the hours to further hone our craft. We’re taking it step by step, ensuring that we come correct when we do something. We’re in this for the long run, so some patience is needed. But that’s fine because we enjoy every bit of it. It’ll be something that we’ll continuously work on. 

For your second collection, OOGST 2, you are expanding the product line with a boot and a mule. Please tell us more about the inspiration behind the expansion and the new collection. 

For OOGST 2, we applied the same mathematical notion as we did to our first collection: we built upon an existing structure. In the case of the first collection, we built upon the classic design of the wooden Dutch clog. We felt we hadn’t yet fully explored the possibilities of that design, so, we decided to get back to the drawing board. We built further upon a structure, but this time it was a structure we created ourselves. That was a bit of a full-circle moment. After some tinkering, we found two new silhouettes that really excited us; a boot and a mule. We took it further and experimented with new fabrics as well. 

For you collection visuals, you worked with the Dutch photographer Sander Coers. How was the creative chosen as your collaborator?

Last year we hosted an exhibition at EXPO 12, inviting six photographers to make a piece incorporating our products. One of the photographers we asked was Sander Coers. That was the initial meeting between us. Sander has a dreamy and hazy aesthetic in his work that we find very interesting and captivating. By chance, our paths crossed once again. Since we loved his work for EXPO 12 so much, we asked him to campaign for us. The rest is history. 

What is the idea behind the new campaign? 

We and Sander have a shared passion for Dutch landscapes. Sander, who grew up in Zeeland, which has one of the most captivating sceneries in The Netherlands, often draws inspiration from the surroundings for his work. In fact, it plays a very integral part in most of his work. In this beautiful landscape, he recreates memories from his childhood. When discussing what we could do together as a campaign, it quickly became obvious that we should interweave the presence of Sine & Cosine in the scenery of Zeeland. A redesigned clog would perfectly fit in. We loved the idea and gave Sander carte blanche to capture everything in his signature hazy style, almost like he was reinventing a dream. We were pleased we gave him that creative freedom. 

In your press release we can read: “Instead of only showing the initial idea and meaning behind their collections, Sine & Cosine invites artists to create with their products.” Is this an indication of future collaborations with artists and creatives? Tell us a little bit more about this initiative. 

We’ve been planning on it for a while, and it is now finally starting to take off. When we design our products, we give them meaning and a purpose. We hope that people will gravitate towards that. But, as soon as you create something and share it with the world, people will give it their own meaning. That might be something you didn’t expect or intend, but it’s still just as important. It’s the actual manifestation it takes in the world, not the intended one. Through collaborating with other artists, we want to show their interpretation of our products and the meaning they give them. It’s a far more inclusive way of telling the story of Sine & Cosine and simultaneously that of a fascinating, creative mind. On top of that, it also opens doors for us to explore other creative disciplines. We have some fantastic projects with other artists lined up that we can’t wait to share. Unfortunately, for now, we can’t talk too much about it. 

In the name of sustainability, as we mentioned in our previous conversation, Sine & Cosine seems to be taking a slower approach to debuting collections. Do you think this is going to change as the brand grows?

As we mentioned, we want to make products with meaning and a purpose. To us, true luxury wear looks incredible and is meticulously produced but doesn’t compromise practicality or wearability. Creating a product that ticks all those boxes simply takes time and resources. So, for that reason, we’re forced to have a somewhat slower approach to debuting collections. We’re totally fine with that. Good things take time, and it’s a sustainable way of running a brand. As we grow, though, we might have the means to produce more extensive collections at a somewhat faster pace, but we will always stick to our morals. The products will be inherently sustainable if they meet all our standards. If we can’t, we won’t. If the possibility does arise, we will see how we can execute it in a way that aligns with our morals and is sustainable. 

Shot and edited by Richard van Rijn, produced by Soft Spoken Studios