All the Rage: Paris, London, Milan… and Escazú

July 15, 2005

THOSE looking for the latest fashionsfrom Paris, London, Milan and Amsterdamneed look no farther than the western SanJosé suburb of Escazú. Cosmo Fashion,owned by Dutch mother-and-daughterteam Rita Smit and Tiffany Sparks Smit,carries the hottest trends imported fromEurope.Both designers from Amsterdam, Smitand Sparks Smit opened Cosmo Fashionfive months ago with the idea of tappinginto an open market – imported designerclothes for women.“Women here don’t have a big choicewhen it comes to buying the latest collections,”Sparks Smit said. “Good fashionbrings out the best in you, and that’s whatwe want to offer at Cosmo Fashion – wewant to help women look and feel theirbest.”COSMO Fashion’s original locationwas in Plaza Acuarium, south of Multiplazamall; however, after a recent relocation,the store now boasts a larger locationon the heavily trafficked main street of SanRafael de Escazú, across from McDonald’sand next to the Best Brands shoe store.Smit and Sparks Smit hope to use theextra space in the new store to design theirown clothes, which they haven’t yet donein Costa Rica. At their store in Amsterdam,the pair sold exclusively their own brand.Sparks Smit said their designs are “forthe modern woman who knows what shelikes.” Their clothes are definitely high end– dresses start at about $500, a pair ofpants at $300.“When we design, we think as awoman, about what feels good and what’sa good fit,” Sparks Smit said. “We’re separatefrom other brands, and our customerssee that. They’re happy and willingto pay.”The mother and daughter’s shared lovefor fashion led them to begin designingtogether. Daughter Sparks Smit said shewas influenced at a young age by hermother’s flair for fashion. When she turned15, she went to school in Paris for twoyears to become a designer. Afterward, sheand her mother launched their own brandand opened a store in Amsterdam.Their work is a collaborative effort ofsharing ideas and inspirations. “I can’twork without her and she can’t workwithout me,” Smit said.SPARKS Smit moved to Costa Ricatwo years ago, after marrying a U.S. citizenwho owned land here. Her mother joinedher from Amsterdam to open CosmoFashion.Though the designer pair hopes CosmoFashion will carry its own brand in thefuture, it will continue to import brandsfrom the fashion hotbeds of London, Paris,Amsterdam and Milan.Smit travels to Europe three times ayear to buy clothes and scope out the latestlooks.L.M. LuLu from Paris and Rinascimentofrom Italy are among the labels shehas bought and shipped to Costa Rica tosell in the store. In addition, CosmoFashion boasts it is the only store in thecountry to carry the popular Sevendesigner jeans.Smit said she looks for “whatever ishot” while shopping for evening dresses,pants, tops, purses and shoes for the store.The brands are top-end, but Smit saidthey’re not overpriced for imported clothes.SINCE it opened, the store has attractedregular customers who come in lookingfor something different from your everydaywear.“Women come in because they aregoing to a party and don’t want to be wearingthe same thing as everyone else,” Smitsaid. Customers include North Americansand Ticas.Styles from Cosmo Fashion can also beseen on “En Vivo” on Teletica, Channel 7.Hosts Laura and Pilar wear the store’s merchandisein each episode.For information, call 288-0952.

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