Dempsey & Carroll event curator, Remo Nuzzolese, sat down with Colin to discuss his South African background and his inspirations.
RN: You have an amazing backstory. How does that experience affect your work?
CC: I was born in central Africa Zambia and we had one bad hotel, a couple of restaurants and a country club to which we belonged. That said we entertained in our homes and making people welcome and happy was something that was instilled in me from a very early age. Not to mention, I love creating environments where I get to make people happy.
RN: What is your relationship with your home-country? Do you still have ties with Southern Africa?
CC: South Africa is a country rich with history and culture. From the sunny coast to national parks brimming with incredible wildlife, it was a wonderful place to grow up and fortunately I get to visit my family there often. An important part of my collaboration with Dempsey & Carroll, is that it gives back to the youth of South Africa. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Lalela Project, a charity that provides educational arts to children in extreme poverty.
RN: Dempsey & Carroll and Colin Cowie have collaborated on a new collection of fine papers. What was the inspiration for these new designs?
CC: When most people think of a trip to South Africa, their thoughts go immediately to safaris, game drives and the iconic Big Five – the African elephant, rhino, Cape Buffalo, lion, and leopard- which is where I drew my inspiration for my collection with Dempsey & Carroll. These animals are the embodiment of both strength and beauty. Handwritten notes are a lost art and nothing is more special then getting a letter written on an elegant card. A handwritten note only takes a few minutes and it makes the receiver feel incredibly appreciated.
RN: In business you are known for being an incredible idea generator. What is the secret to contribute and play with such energy all the time?
CC: I love any event that includes people, food, cocktails and music! Every client and every party is different and I never do the same thing twice. When people ask me which event is my all time favorite, I always say it’s the next one I’m planning. I love to find new ways to push the envelope and create something extraordinary.
RN: You are clearly living the dream, but if for some crazy reason you had to choose another profession, what would it be?
CC: I would be a rock star, James Bond or a doctor!
RN: Is there a passion that you would like to cultivate in 2015?
CC: I travel a great deal and would love to discover new cultures and learn how other people live and celebrate life.