By Kelsey Glein
Updated Feb 06, 2015 @ 3:06 pm
Koos van den Akker
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

The man responsible for comedian Bill Cosby's famous sweaters on The Cosby Show, Dutch-born fashion designer Koos van den Akker, passed away earlier this week in New York City at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer.

Van den Akker had a storied resume: he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in France, apprenticed with Christian Dior, and eventually went on to launch his own stores Koos & Company in New York City and Los Angeles, where he sold pieces created using his signature "collage" technique that layers different fabrics on top of one another to create bold patterns. This design style truly made each one of his garments a unique work of art.

Though van den Akker had a multitude of famous fans—including Stevie Wonder, Brooke Shields, Isabella Rossellini, Glenn Close, Lauren Hutton, and Magic Johnson—he became famous for designing the brightly patterned sweaters that Cosby wore on television, after the actor received a van den Akker-designed sweater as a gift and became a fan of his creations.

"I think of myself as very basic," van den Akker once said. "I am a craftsperson and I sew like that. I sew beautiful clothes. I am nothing more than a worker sitting behind a sewing machine. That's where I feel most comfortable, that's where I am the best. That's what I do best and it's very basic."