Pleasure State has appointed a new Design Director and by the looks of things, intimate apparel is about to get a whole lot more interesting and a whole lot less predictable. Frederika Cook is that fabulously attractive mix: genuinely curious about lots of subjects and seriously smart. As a child she did not have a singular focus but rather wanted to do and try everything, and by doing, discover if she actually enjoyed it. She had no idea what she wanted to do with her life after school and graduated from university with a Mathematics degree.
I took the long way round into fashion. I didn’t take the scenic route, I got lost in the haunted forest along the way!
Childhood memories, however, are of combing through new editions of Vogue and Collezione with her Mum, relishing colours and details.
“There’s this institution of a magazine and book shop that was originally located in the back streets behind Oxford Street in London, called R.D Franks – it had all sorts of printed wonders – that we used to visit when I was young. I remember my Mother buying me books of paper dolls that were dedicated to different designers,” said Frederika.
Her first job was with Wacoal where she learned the basics; then she started Bordelle and Dietrich, two boutique brands; and went on to Agent Provocateur before Bendon.
In true Frederika fashion, she has no formal fashion education - she taught herself everything from CAD drawing to pattern cutting; asked for help from whoever was willing to impart their wisdom and learned from her mistakes.
Whilst not having a fashion degree has clearly not impeded her success, Frederika admitted that being sure of your future in the industry and pursuing a fashion education would allow you to be surrounded by like-minded people that much sooner.
Frederika approaches design holistically.
“I always approach it with a ground-up perspective,” she explained
“I make sure that every element of the garment has been fully considered, even for our more accessible price point ranges.”
Her very first intimate apparel design was a corset that she cut and sewed herself. The ‘seams’ were held together with hook and eyes that had a vintage industrial aesthetic.
“The fabric had such a high fabric weight that the needle kept getting stuck; I used my teeth to pull out the needle and chipped my tooth!”
As with any brand, Frederika sees the challenge as having to remain relevant.
There will always be competition but the trick is to know what makes your brand unique and to have the foresight and courage to evolve.
It follows then that it is critical that you know your customer. Cook says of her target market,
“The Pleasure State customer is confident, elegant, mesmerizing; and she is all of these things effortlessly. It is this effortlessness that makes her alluring – you become seduced.”
Having just completed her SS17 collection, Frederika is incredibly excited to see her first prototypes come through. Customers can expect shades of stone and beige, denim tones and tonal contrasts. Inspiration comes from her own moods as well as seasonal global trends.
Advice for the next generation of designers is to learn how to take criticism and to find the right company that can match your aesthetic and personality.
“Designing comes from the heart and not everyone knows how to give constructive criticism so you can’t take it personally.”
When asked about hobbies Frederika admitted that when your work is your passion, it is very often your hobby as well but true to form, outside the office she can be found doing anything challenging and adrenaline-inducing.
Frederika Cook is international, smart, interesting and beautiful – a seemingly perfect fit for Bendon’s Pleasure State brand.