COOGI, formerly Cuggi, is a luxury knitwear label founded in Melbourne, Australia, 1969, by Jacky Taranto. Renowned for colorful, geometric, and three-dimensional patterns inspired by Australia’s landscape and intricate Aboriginal artwork.
As Celtic sweaters are emblematic of Ireland, COOGI sweaters were initially purchased by tourists, a symbol of their status as world travelers. Decades later, American pop culture became consumed with the exotic knits. Before Biggie Smalls, the undisputed innovator of the craze, venerated COOGI on a host of lyrics; Bill Cosby popularized the kaleidoscopic style on his record-breaking television show.
However, shortly after the millennium, inundation of licensed products only sought to cheapen the brand, leading to the establishment of COOGI Partners LLC in 2002. Under creative director, Willie Esco, the brand was resurrected in 2014 in collaboration with Rag & Bone.
The company approached Esco after identifying a distinct rise in popularity of vintage COOGI on women’s social media accounts. The line, which debuted at the fall NYFW shows, featured the iconic patterns with an absence of color, like an untouched coloring book. Later that year, the brand officially relaunched with its Reimagined line of men’s streetwear, sold exclusively at NYC boutique, Kith. The collection remains rooted in the signature aesthetic that is COOGI, updated with leather, camo, and hardware. Esco explains, “Our archives are tremendous. It just has to be re-introduced—you can’t oversaturate.” The enduring OG styles of the Reimagined line continue to be sold on the company’s site. Sweaters, full-zips, puffer vests, shorts, and headwear, including balaclava ski masks, are available for purchase in men, women, and children’s styles.
Like clockwork, COOGI is at the center of American pop culture once again. A favorite among rap superstars A$AP Mob, Mac Miller, and Drake, who wore matching sweaters with Andy Samberg in a skit for SNL. Hypebeast taste-maker brands have been clamoring to incorporate the unmistakable knits into their lines ever since. Beginning with Burton’s printed puffer ski jacket in 2012, followed by snapback hats at Supreme, and Etonic’s recreation of the “Biggie” sweater, worn by noted MMA fighter Conor McGregor. Most recently, Puma has teamed up with COOGI to present several sneakers and shirts at an accessible price point, released earlier this year.
Popularized by American entertainers, immortalized in the Smithsonian, browse the gallery to discover the iconic brand and explore styles available in our stores!