|Cosmos Europe sunglasses – design by Dilk
Dilk: “The OGEE project was great to work with, a lot of freedom to create a real piece
Artwork for the frames, no watering down the ideas, a really cool bunch to work with.
Can’t wait to see her on the streets next year. OGEE will no doubt come more. “
Cosmos Europe is a Nottingham-based design and manufacturing company that works with some of the very talented people of Nottingham, including Dilk, Jon Burgerman, Simeon Hartwig from Bantum and May Cortazzi from Regenerate. We met Pete from Cosmos to find out more.
You design, produce and sell glasses, that’s impressive, where did it all start?
It all started with a family connection. We have a factory where we make and sell commercial, but not necessarily “cool” brands. Nye, our Managing Director, founded Cosmos Europe to design and manufacture in the UK and Europe for more fashion brands.
Tell us about a typical day at Cosmos …
We have meetings most mornings to discuss where we stand with each brand we target and how the designs are advancing with those we work with. At the moment, most of the time revolves around the introduction of our new OGEE brand. What we look forward to the most. It involves working with four creative geniuses from Nottingham, Jon Burgerman, Dilk, Regenerate Clothing and Bantum, who each create 4 designs, so there are 16 different styles to choose from. We are currently organizing the production of these frames and our sales strategies for them. Nye is currently in China to see the samples of these new styles and all of our other brands.
So imagine that I’m a designer and I’ve designed sunglasses, I’m bringing you my design. What happens from then on to make them?
When we work with a new customer, we usually receive mood boards and a brief insight into the brand in the form of a mission statement. Usually, I and Nye would meet with them to discuss price points and show them samples of our work to help them decide what type of materials to use. There are two main types of jars in a nutshell, injection and handmade acetate. Injection glasses are usually cheaper and more suitable for the masses. Acetates are of better quality, more versatile, but more expensive. We see ourselves as acetate specialists. As soon as we have all the information we need, we will develop designs from it. Once the designs are approved, specification drawings are created which are then sent to the factory for manufacture.
Cosmos Europe sunglasses – design by Jon Burgerman
How did you come to work with 4 of Nottingham’s best creatives?
The idea for the collaboration came from our decision that there was a gap in the market for affordable sunglasses with a little story behind it. You can go into pretty much any store right now and find cheap, unbranded, soulless sunglasses. We wanted to bring out some that cost little or no more, but have something special.
Who we worked with came naturally, but quite lengthy. It all comes down to people helping each other in the creative industry. May helped us with the styling for a photo shoot for one of our optical brands. So when we decided to get in touch with designers, she was at the top of our list. After meeting her, she mentioned Jon Burgerman and gave me his email address, he was immediately interested. It was around the time we started our first internship at Nottingham Trent University, she mentioned that she lived in the apartment above Simeon and had his number so we called him. As for Dilk, I’ve known him for a while and had mentioned sunglasses to him before, so I knew he’d be interested. It was all surprisingly easy.
Have you ever been hired to do something really extraordinary?
The most unusual glasses we are currently making are for a Spanish brand called ‘skunk funk’. They are completely covered with velvet. Everyone who came to contemporary Nottingham last month, where we were showcasing OGEE and some of our other work, got a taste of it. They got a fantastic welcome as they are a little different. Everyone wanted to buy them; unfortunately you have to wait until next summer for them.
Which designers are currently inspiring the Cosmos team?
The people we love are Ralf Vessen, Carrera, Persol, Ksubi, Mykita, Oliver Goldsmith and Tom Ford. All of them are really trend-setting and are constantly developing fantastic new concepts. We take inspiration from them and hope to one day be as respected as each of them. Our inspirations change regularly as from time to time an unknown company with a fantastic concept like Sunnettes who make a fantastically shaped frame in many modern and fresh colors pops up.
|Cosmos Europe sunglasses – designed by May Cortazzi of Regenerate
May Cortazzi: “The new Regenerate Cosmos sunglasses series unite Regenerates
Rock ‘n’ Roll, urban handwriting with an edgy twist! The range has been designed to fit most
Garments of our customers and are the perfect companion for everyone who is unique and stylish, our new Cosmo sunglasses are the must-have accessory of the British festival season for us! “
What are your three favorite spots in Nottingham and why?
There are three full-time employees at Cosmos, so we picked one for each:
Pete – Montana Sprayshop, I’m a bit biased as Dilk is a good friend of mine, but I just love the layout and I’m a sucker for all the clothes in there.
Pinky – as a tourist from Leicester, she doesn’t know Notts very well, but loves the Ally Café as she isn’t a meat eater (aka veggie).
Nye – anyone who’s met Nye will know they love to eat. So his favorite place has to be a restaurant. NAGOYAKA on Mansfield Road which offers a traditional Korean grill and hot pot. He claims it’s the best food around.
What do you love most about the Nottingham fashion industry?
It’s an incredibly close community. Since working with everyone on our OGEE project, we have been amazed at how willing people are to help each other. When we made the designer market in Contemporary, everyone seemed interested in helping in any way they could. Everyone seems to really try and really believe in what they’re doing.
|Cosmos Europe sunglasses – design by Simeon Hartwig from Bantum
Simeon Hartwig: “The project is super exciting for us because it gives us the opportunity to set up our designs
a new medium. With great attention to detail, it really put us to the test how many details you create
fit on glasses frames. We can’t wait to see the finished samples. Sometimes when you meet
People you just click and we’ve had from our first meeting that they shared similar visions with us
where they wanted to be in the market and how they wanted to be innovative and not imitate! “
Which famous person, alive or dead, would you most like to design glasses for?
That’s a really tough question; There are so many people out there who are iconic sunglasses wearers. The most famous is probably Steve McQueen, who actually named some Persol sunglasses after him. However, we are very fortunate to design Liam Gallaghers for pretty green, another prolific sunglass wearer. He has always had an interest in very good colors from the best materials with different shapes. This is exactly what he wants to achieve with his range, which is exciting for us, because that’s what we like to do.
What does the future of Cosmos Europe look like?
We’d just love to be respected for what we do and be lucky enough to keep making exciting sunglasses. We would be delighted if our house brands OGEE and Spear become household names. Spear will be our more expensive classic-style range that will be launched in 2012. Look out for these; they become something special.
Any advice for those looking to get into the design world?
You have to work hard, not be afraid to ask for help, or take setbacks personally.
Christmas time is getting closer, which is what makes Christmas in Nottingham
Mulled wine in a shed on the market square every Christmas, followed by a sausage in a far too small bun, makes the perfect Nottingham Christmas.
Find out more about Cosmos Europe and OGEE