Los Angeles, CA
Where did your entrepreneurial side come from?
My father. His story always blows my mind. He moved from Tel Aviv, Israel to LA when he was 19 to become an actor, he’s always had the biggest passion for film. He started sewing curtains out of his garage with no money at all. He then started a drapery business, in which was used as the opening for many award shows such as the Oscars, Emmy’s, Tony Awards, Broadway, etc. He then built his first film studio in 2003, from the ground up and sold the shmata business. Now he has a second studio and rents them both out to many production companies for commercials, films, and musicians rehearsing for tour.
Is that how you started working on set?
Yes. When I was 18, I started working as a production assistant for commercials. I remember my first job was on a lays chip commercial. I remember arriving on set at 3:30 am and ending the day around 7 pm every day for a week. We’d spend hours going through hundreds of boxes of lays to find the most perfect chips that would be a 3 second clip of the entire commercial. Was greatly rewarding seeing all of that hard work on live television, paid well, and got to eat all of the “reject” chips. ;)
What were your plans for the future at that point?
Well, I didn’t have any. I had just graduated high school and knew I wanted to do something on set, that was creative that used my hands. Piano taught me my love for using my hands. I went to special effects makeup school while working on set part time, but then realized as much as I love doing my own makeup, I don’t have a steady hand, and could never draw, but wanted to challenge myself. I also always wanted to go to culinary school, but that wasn’t an option so I thought by working with food stylists I could learn through them. After working alongside food stylists for a year, and working on food network shows such as Giada at Home, I decided to take a break.
I was 19, my mother passed. I couldn’t handle the stresses of that kind of schedule during such a sensitive time. So I started making jewelry with my sister for a designer in North Hollywood. As a way to cope, I also picked up learning how to crochet off YouTube and books form Joann's. I became obsessed with it. Watching a single thread of yarn weaving into intricate formations for hours was fascinating to me and also hugely meditative. That hobby turned into a business on held on Etsy, consisting of 70’s style crocheted intimates. I sold steady for a solid 4 years, to festivals all over Cali and boutiques in Bali. However I knew this wasn’t a career. I had the urge to gain a better understanding of garment construction and thought I’d take the leap to dive into apparel design.
That’s awesome! Did you go to school for that?
Yes. I attended a small fashion school called FCI Fashion School in Downtown LA in 2019. They specialize in short term, fast paced fashion programs. So I took two design courses. I learned how to sew the first day of class in Design 1, in May of 2019 which was all about learning how to create your own patterns and drafting a dress. Shortly after, I took Design 2, which entailed learning t-shirts, button downs blouses, pants and learning how to draft our own versions of them. Our final was to create a cohesive collection. Upon graduating, I was presented the opportunity to participate in LA Fashion Week, October 10, 2019. I had less than a month to create 10 cohesive looks for LA fashion week.
That sounds brutal, having such little time to create a 10 piece collection? What did your collection entail that you presented?
My pieces were almost entirely constructed out of vintage textiles I had collected, including Victorian/Edwardian lacework to deadstock cowboy fabrics . My collection was inspired by the elegance of 18th century romanticism, and the rawness Wild West as captured in television and cinema. Considering myself an old soul at heart, I carry a desire to bring back old fashion values. To me, I think it’s sexier to show less skin, makes the mind wonder. I created peasant style looks featuring high necklines, gigantic puff sleeves and lace bodices to edgy western silhouettes inspired by 40’s/50’s ranch-wear with a modern twist. I wanted to emulate both timeless worlds into a fantasy and create a nostalgic mood. I considered this collection to be a predilection of the exotic, remote, the mysterious and the transcendental - all of which are a huge reflection of my creative spirit.
Seeing my pieces on models for the very first time- was inexplicable. This moment was insanely emotional for me.
That’s beautiful. How did you go about creative direction?
The theme of my collection was prairie girl meets western cowboy. I had the music starting with Lee Hazlewood, then The Abigails and ending with Fat White Family. On the day of the show, myself and 16 other designers only had 4 hours coordinate the order of our models, looks and music. This was also the only time we had to do an initial fitting with the models presented to us day of.
Wow, that sounds intense. 4 hours just before the show? Talk about a time crunch!! Was this overwhelming for you?
Totally. I remember my former classmate and I were up until 4 am sewing last minute details hours before the show until we were like “welp, I guess we’re not sleeping tonight!” It was brutal. But the minute I started my fittings, and seeing my pieces on models for the very first time- was inexplicable. This moment was insanely emotional for me. I cried so so hard.
Then had 15 minutes to throw on a dress, and put makeup on my haggard face, lol.
What did you do after the fashion show?
I slept for 3 days straight, lol. However after right after my sleep hiatus, I was so elated with the amount of positive feedback I received and decided to start my own line of clothing instantaneously.
Wow, that ambitious of you to start your own line of clothing right after you had your very first fashion show!
Yes, I was completely transfixed! I was on an unfathomable adrenaline high after watching my models walk down the runway in my pieces. The hours of mistakes, struggles, sleep deprivation I encountered made everything worth it. Something you’re passionate about never comes easy. Chase it until it kills you, and when it does- keep going. I’ll take that chase for the rest of my life.
I admire that determination. Your passion for design speaks for itself.
Tell me more about the starting of your brand.
Well, my sister Brianne, who is a silversmith specializing in handcrafted southwestern turquoise jewelry, had her own line of jewelry at the time. Upon starting my own line, we shortly after decided to join forces and start a brand together - seeing that our styles are very much intwined. We created our brand Taryn Cossette @shoptaryncossette via Instagram in January 2020.
That’s amazing! Where does your brand name Taryn Cossette come from?
Our middle names. Ariel Taryn and Brianne Cossette.
What are the influences behind your brand?
Our mother was a huge influence. She was a southern belle from Alamaba, so naturally we’ve carried on her western roots. I’ve always been very intrigued by the costumes in Westerns, and wanted to recreate them with my own twist. My sister was a perfect match because her handcrafted silver turquoise gems is very complementary to my aesthetic. We actually discussed the idea of starting this idea back in 2013, but never thought we’d go through with it.
Seems like you both manifested this for yourelves. That’s fantastic.
Did starting a brand last year effect your brand being able to grow since we were on lockdown throughout all of 2020?
Interesting question. Definitely. I moved to Long Beach in February of 2020, and was working on my current collection that was set to be presented in La Fashion Week early March. Then lockdown hit, the show was inevitably canceled. I was super bummed, but took advantage of all that time continuing to create in my new home.
My sister and I had to get creative when it came to creating new content. We essentially had to become our own photographers and models, along with construction our collection entirely on our own.
Wow, that’s a lot of work for you two. Was that a struggle for you guys?
Honestly yes and no. When I moved in February, I had no idea how close it would be to my sisters house. We are so lucky to have one another. Shes my world. We’d FaceTime eachother daily with new ideas. There honestly isn’t a second throughout the day we’re not constantly speaking. She’s my best friend in the world. We’d pick each other up on days we weren’t inspired and have always been each others number one fan.
That’s so great you guys are so close.
I see you’re also a stylist, is that correct?
Yes. In fact my goal in fashion initially was to become a professional fashion stylist. Since I was a pre-teen, I would dress up my girlfriends in outfits I’d put together and hike into our neighbors backyards to get a cool shot haha. But naturally since I was young I’ve always done self shoots that are purely inspired by an outfit I see in my head. I grew up on Laurel Canyon, so my backyard was my creative zone. I’d carry my fits into the hills, and would prop my phone up against a branch to get the shot (before self timer entered the world heh) :)
Oh so you wanted to be a stylist before a designer?
Yes. Honestly I never thought I’d become a designer, or at least it never entered my mind. The thought of it alone was very intimidating. I knew I had an eye, but also never liked the idea of choosing to solely be a stylist or designer. I don’t like the idea of settling on one career... cause why? Haha, but yes, I do style quite often in between designing.
That rad! What was your best styling experience?
When I got asked to style male models backstage for MOSCHINO’s Haunted Resort FW/19 collection at La Fashion Week. That was absolutely surreal.
Oh wow. That sounds like a dream!
Indeed it was.
What was your highlight of 2020?
You mean besides staying indoors every day? Waves of depression and sadness during lockdown? The uncertainty of normalcy in life again?
Proooobably when i got asked to collaborate with Jeffrey Campbell.
How did this come about?
One of the photographers for Jeffrey Campbell approached me over instagram and asked if I wanted to take a trip to Joshua Tree and shoot my brand, while having me style their new line of boots. The ironic part is, while wrapping up shooting the first day of the model in my clothes, I put on a pair of JC boots that didn’t fit the model at the end of the shoot. The photographer asked me to kick as high as I could, and told me she was only getting a photo of the boot. I happened to be wearing pair of custom repurposed denim pants I made, that featured cow print cutouts, resembling chaps. Thinking it was just a close up of the boot, the entire photo landed on Jeffrey Campbells website for their shop “Westerns’ collection. That was pretty cool because it was so unintentional.
Holy cow! Sounds like some of your greatest forms of art happen unintentionally or when you least expect it.
Totally. There’s so much beauty in that. I can go on and on about this topic. I think sometimes we can get too stuck in our own heads, fixating over certain an idea for hours- ending up having you want to disregard everything all together.
You mentioned having waves of depression. Did that effect your ability to stay inspired to continue creating?
Well, I find beauty in sadness and darkness. A saying that’s never left me is: “The ink is black, the page is white, together the world can read and write.”
My latest collection I worked on during lockdown displays all black and white, which was a stark contrast to my usual emotional state. I heard a song called “good vs. evil” by Paul Cary while creating this collection, that really stuck with me.
Would you say music often inspires your ideas?
10000% top influence behind my designs. Music is my everything. I’ll listen to a beautifully written verse, or hear a solo instrumental when I’ll instantaneously slide into a daydream state. I’ll then visualize an item of clothing I want to make, portraying what I feel while listening to it.
What kind of music do you fancy most?
Country, but that’s no shocker. I’m very big on jazz and blues, folk, psychedelic rock. The list goes on. I can talk music for hours.
It’s sounds like you’re a visual very creator.
Yes absolutely. As well as a visual learner.
In class, we had to sketch what we wanted to make. Drawing is one thing I’ve never been able to master, so I was reluctant. The things I wanted to create were all in my head, I couldn’t translate them onto paper. So instead of sketching first, I’d take that vision, make a paper pattern out of it, draft it onto muslin, then make the final sample with the fabric I wanted. Sometimes it’d turn out exactly the way I visioned it, and sometimes it’d turn out the complete opposite- but that helped me grow as an artist.
What do you see yourself doing if you weren’t designing?
I’ve always wanted to direct music videos, or be a film editor. I can spend hours editing.
What are your other hobbies? Any new ones you picked up during quarantine?
I love camping, spending as much time outdoors or in the ocean as humanly possible. But during lockdown, I taught myself the harmonica. I was listening to a lot of Neil Young and Junior Wells. practiced a ton of sketching. Learned how to sew many new things via YouTube tutorials. Read a lot.
What do you like to read or what are your favorite books?
Poetry primarily, Rupi Kaur is a top favorite. I have a book called pleasures which entails women who write erotica in the 1800’s.
Anything pertaining the history of the Old West.
I’m very into C.C. Jung- his book titled “Synchronicity” I’ve read a million times.