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No Translation Required: Suki Cohen’s Fashion Fusion
Posted by richard | July 17, 2014
Suki-Cohen_2

If you haven’t encountered the hip Colombian lingerie brand Suki Cohen before now, there’s a good reason.

Hand-crafted in small batches, the brand’s highly technical garments sell out quickly, so there’s little need for the label to market its products.

All that will change next month, though, when Suki Cohen debuts at the Curve Expo lingerie and swimwear exhibition in New York, where thousands of retail buyers will get their first glimpse at its bold, avant garde designs. The label is one of several from Colombia that is being subsidized by the country’s trade commission to seek export markets abroad.

Suki-Cohen_12

At first glance, Suki Cohen appears similar to other bondage-influenced lingerie styles that are riding a wave of popularity around the world. Look closely, though, and you’ll see a degree of complexity, originality and precision in Suki’s geometric silhouettes that is unrivaled.

Suki Cohen is a true fashion anomaly, a fusion label that blends vintage and contemporary aesthetics and both western and eastern cultural references — not to mention the Native American iconography that shows up in its branding and in some of its underwear designs. It looks and fits like designer swimwear, but it’s not (although a Suki swim collection is coming later this year).

Suki Cohen also doesn’t look anything like most South American labels, which are typically much more decorative and erotically suggestive, even though most of its customers are from Colombia.

And then there’s that brand name, which likewise doesn’t exactly sound Latino, even though its founder — whose name is Sarah Cohen — was born and raised in Bogota, with Spanish as her first language.

“It is my brand but I didn’t want to call it ‘Sarah Cohen’,” she said in an interview with Lingerie Talk. “‘Suki’ is just a word I really love. In Japanese it means ‘beloved’.”

The vaguely exotic name is fitting for a designer who is passionate about traveling and whose products are gaining popularity in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and even Australia. You can find Suki Cohen in the U.S. too if you look hard enough: it’s stocked by one NYC vintage store and an L.A. boutique that specializes in Latino designers.

Suki-Cohen_1

Sarah, 33, studied fashion design in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and traveled the world before launching her brand in 2010. Like many designers who put their name on clothing labels, she’s involved in all aspects of the business and an admitted perfectionist when it comes to product quality.

“Many brands are trying to do what I’m doing, but they don’t have the know-how so they make simple pieces,” she said. “I’m trying to do something that is really well done. That’s the way I do things.”

Suki Cohen garments are assembled in a fair-trade factory in Colombia — “All the girls are well paid,” Sarah says. “There’s a lot of social work behind the brand.” — and are complicated productions that require skilled, well-trained seamstresses.

“Making a Suki bra is like math,” she said. “It takes a long time. Sometimes we only make 10 bras a day.

“These are haute couture pieces. I am trying to reinvent the bra because other bras are really comfortable.”

Suki-Cohen_3
Suki-Cohen_4

That point — comfort over style — is what drives the brand and also what sets it apart from much of the Latin lingerie market.

Suki Cohen works primarily with high-end nylon-based polyamide, a durable, quick-drying fabric that lends itself to snug fits and is often associated with swimwear. It also allows the brand to create powerful silhouettes that hold their shape without the use of underwires — a significant distinction in Colombia, where push-up bras reign supreme and breast-enhancement surgery is very common.

“Latin girls are really sexy but they all use underwire bras and man girls have plastic surgery,” Sarah said. “We try not to use wire because it’s so uncomfortable. I say be natural, be yourself, that’s who you are. I’m inviting you to be yourself.”

With a range of underwear ensembles and bodysuits in three solid colorways, Suki Cohen is an obvious choice for trendy outerwear layering, but Sarah says her dramatic designs can work in many different occasions.

“It’s like an armour. You can wear it with a thousand things from your closet,” she said.

And there’s one indisputable truth about the brand that needs no translation in any country.

“If you wear a Suki Cohen,” its founder says, “everybody is going to look at you.”

Below are a few more styles from the Suki Cohen collection that will show at Curve Expo next month.

Suki-Cohen_main

If you haven’t encountered the hip Colombian lingerie brand Suki Cohen before now, there’s a good reason.

Hand-crafted in small batches, the brand’s highly technical garments sell out quickly, so there’s little need for the label to market its products.

All that will change next month, though, when Suki Cohen debuts at the Curve Expo lingerie and swimwear exhibition in New York, where thousands of retail buyers will get their first glimpse at its bold, avant garde designs. The label is one of several from Colombia that is being subsidized by the country’s trade commission to seek export markets abroad.

Suki-Cohen_12

At first glance, Suki Cohen appears similar to other bondage-influenced lingerie styles that are riding a wave of popularity around the world. Look closely, though, and you’ll see a degree of complexity, originality and precision in Suki’s geometric silhouettes that is unrivaled.

Suki Cohen is a true fashion anomaly, a fusion label that blends vintage and contemporary aesthetics and both western and eastern cultural references — not to mention the Native American iconography that shows up in its branding and in some of its underwear designs. It looks and fits like designer swimwear, but it’s not (although a Suki swim collection is coming later this year).

Suki Cohen also doesn’t look anything like most South American labels, which are typically much more decorative and erotically suggestive, even though most of its customers are from Colombia.

And then there’s that brand name, which likewise doesn’t exactly sound Latino, even though its founder — whose name is Sarah Cohen — was born and raised in Bogota, with Spanish as her first language.

“It is my brand but I didn’t want to call it ‘Sarah Cohen’,” she said in an interview with Lingerie Talk. “‘Suki’ is just a word I really love. In Japanese it means ‘beloved’.”

The vaguely exotic name is fitting for a designer who is passionate about traveling and whose products are gaining popularity in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and even Australia. You can find Suki Cohen in the U.S. too if you look hard enough: it’s stocked by one NYC vintage store and an L.A. boutique that specializes in Latino designers.

Suki-Cohen_1

Sarah, 33, studied fashion design in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and traveled the world before launching her brand in 2010. Like many designers who put their name on clothing labels, she’s involved in all aspects of the business and an admitted perfectionist when it comes to product quality.

“Many brands are trying to do what I’m doing, but they don’t have the know-how so they make simple pieces,” she said. “I’m trying to do something that is really well done. That’s the way I do things.”

Suki Cohen garments are assembled in a fair-trade factory in Colombia — “All the girls are well paid,” Sarah says. “There’s a lot of social work behind the brand.” — and are complicated productions that require skilled, well-trained seamstresses.

“Making a Suki bra is like math,” she said. “It takes a long time. Sometimes we only make 10 bras a day.

“These are haute couture pieces. I am trying to reinvent the bra because other bras are really comfortable.”

Suki-Cohen_3
Suki-Cohen_4

That point — comfort over style — is what drives the brand and also what sets it apart from much of the Latin lingerie market.

Suki Cohen works primarily with high-end nylon-based polyamide, a durable, quick-drying fabric that lends itself to snug fits and is often associated with swimwear. It also allows the brand to create powerful silhouettes that hold their shape without the use of underwires — a significant distinction in Colombia, where push-up bras reign supreme and breast-enhancement surgery is very common.

“Latin girls are really sexy but they all use underwire bras and man girls have plastic surgery,” Sarah said. “We try not to use wire because it’s so uncomfortable. I say be natural, be yourself, that’s who you are. I’m inviting you to be yourself.”

With a range of underwear ensembles and bodysuits in three solid colorways, Suki Cohen is an obvious choice for trendy outerwear layering, but Sarah says her dramatic designs can work in many different occasions.

“It’s like an armour. You can wear it with a thousand things from your closet,” she said.

And there’s one indisputable truth about the brand that needs no translation in any country.

“If you wear a Suki Cohen,” its founder says, “everybody is going to look at you.”

Below are a few more styles from the Suki Cohen collection that will show at Curve Expo next month.

Suki-Cohen_5
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Suki-Cohen_7
Suki-Cohen_9
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Posted in Suki Cohen

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