INTERVIEW WITH THE DUTCH DESIGN DUO BEHIND SINE & COSINE
Interview by Anano Shalamberidze
It is rare to see brands celebrating their heritage in an authentic but modernized manner; Sine & Cosine seems to have the formula down.
Characterized by unisex designs, Sine & Cosine explores the division between the old day farmer and the modern-day citizen. Inspired by the Dutch landscape, culture, and craft, the brand tries to narrow the space between different purposes of dressing. The founders illustrate the junction between contemporary occasion wear and traditional farmwear from its origins by blending comfort, material, and function.
Due to the mathematical background of its founders the brand received its name Sine & Cosine. Starting from the philosophy of farmers, Sine & Cosine stands for the independence of thought and dressing. While design movements often try to reinvent the wheel, science has always build-up from previous structures. Therefore the founders take an approach to design that resembles more one of the secondary disciplines.
To dive deeper into the story of the Dutch brand and its philosophy, we spoke to the design duo behind the creations, Felix Koopmans & Robert Pans.
Firstly, let’s go back to the beginning. Where and when did it all start? How did you two meet?
We are childhood friends from high school in Maastricht. We are actually very close since the age of 15. We always shared a love for fashion. Back then, we would sometimes go to Amsterdam or Antwerp together to look at the beautiful boutiques that we didn’t have in Maastricht. The passion for fashion continued to live on during our student years, but we didn’t find a way to combine our academic backgrounds with fashion yet. During the first quarantine measures in early 2020, we were constantly at home and had more time to think about what we wanted to do in life. We realized we wanted to create things and work with physical objects because these were the things we missed in our academic studies. This is when we started working on our ideas and it resulted in our brand, Sine & Cosine.
Coming from a mathematical background, how did you transition into fashion? What inspired the move?
I would not really call it a transition. We share a passion for fashion for as long as we have known each other. At one point, a study was added, but that passion did not diminish. But the real reason we decided to start this is that we realized that we like it much more than the ‘normal’ career path of a mathematician. The thought of doing mathematical research or becoming a data analyst at a large corporate for the rest of our lives just really depresses us.
Tell us a little bit more about the brand name and its connection to the brand’s core values.
The brand name refers to our mathematical background. The sine and cosine are functions that are widely used in mathematics and with these two functions you can approximate all other mathematical functions. The name is actually separate from the core values of our brand and says more about how we approach fashion. We aim to become the sine and cosine of fashion.
You describe the brand philosophy as the exploration of the division between the old-day farmer and the modern citizen. How did you make sure to connect the two worlds?
We strive to explore this division with every design we make. We take inspiration from the aesthetics of the old-day farmer and combine it with everything we know from our own contemporary city life. In this way, we translate our designs into a combination of the two.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the product development process? What is the starting point of an idea and how does it come to fruition?
We started with the idea of bringing back the Dutch clog to the streetscape. We thought the old wooden shoe was such a unique shoe and wanted to breathe new life into this Dutch heritage. This was our starting point. Starting with the design, we went looking for suitable and high-quality materials. For this, we went on a research trip to Portugal. Our ideas and designs often arise spontaneously and while talking about other things. We do not work from the thought; now we are going to design a new collection. Our creative ideas arise at the most random moments.
In today’s fashion climate, what are the brand’s plans to promote and engage with sustainability?
In the context of sustainability, the first thing to mention is that Sine & Cosine makes high-quality shoes that last and are meant to be worn for several years. We strive for premium products that are especially sustainable in socioeconomic area with fair wages and fair working conditions. The shoes are handmade by professionals who practice their profession with love. In addition, we produce small quantities and do not need to destroy any leftover products. Also, all the leather we use is a by-product and no extra animals are slaughtered. Finally, we recently took on an intern to do research on sustainability, how we can keep our footprint as small as possible and how we can differentiate ourselves from other brands in this area.
And finally, what are the next steps for the brand and for you as designers?
We are currently working on new styles, in which we embroider further on the original concept. We have the ambition to have a broader shoe collection and, when the brand is established and ready, to do other leather accessories in the future. Furthermore, if the opportunity arises, we would love to learn more and to work as designers for other established brands as well.