Koos van den Akker, Bill Cosby’s Sweater Designer, Dead at 75

“He died over a sewing machine,” owner of Koos & Company tells TheWrap

Last Updated: February 5, 2015 @ 2:36 PM

The man responsible for comedian Bill Cosby‘s famous sweaters on “The Cosby Show,” Dutch designer Koos van den Akker, died Tuesday in New York City at age 75 after battling colon cancer. 

“He died over a sewing machine,” owner of Koos & Company and close friend, Puck Meunier, told TheWrap. “That is what he always wished — to sew until the end.”

“He fell and became so very weak,” said Meunier. “We kept him in the work room. He had no family and we wanted to keep him comfortable and loved.”

In addition to garnering fashion industry acclaim as the man behind Cosby’s sweaters in the 1980s, he also inspired designers like Marc Jacobs and designed for Cher.

The Cosby sweater has inspired a Tumblr account, a song called “Bill Cosby Sweater,” several websites, and its own party theme.

“He had a cult following,” Meunier recalled. “Everybody wanted a Cosby sweater.”

Born in the Netherlands in 1939, Van den Akker lived and worked in the United States where he was embraced by fashion houses, including Balenciaga.

In a 2012 interview he told Dutch TV, “The Netherlands was not concerned with fashion. Then my customers asked, ‘Can you adjust this and this?’ Terrible people, I won’t go back for gold.”

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