When you’ve collaborated with Jay-Z and David Beckham has been spotted buying one of your coats, logic would suggest that you have every right to be cheery. Not in Alexander Stutterheim’s case. Melancholy is in the blood of the Swedish copy-writer-turned-fashion-designer, who launched his raincoat company of the same name in 2011 with one thing in mind: to invite everyone else to embrace it too. Last month, Stutterheim released its first UK collaboration – a unisex raincoat in two colourways in partnership with Whistles – so to celebrate, we spoke to one of fashion’s most downbeat stars.
Photography by Iain Anderson
Styling by Jordan Schneider
As you’ve explained several times since you launched the brand, Stutterheim offers an invitation to embrace melancholy – what do we have to gain by doing that, do you think?
When I got the idea to start this project, it was for two reasons.
The first one was that I saw how amazingly poorly people were dressing up to protect themselves from the rain. It was everything from broken umbrellas, newspapers to GoreTex jackets. This was very strange as Swedish people dress very well for all other occasions. I decided to update the classic Swedish raincoat that my grandfather used to wear and make it available in a well-crafted modern cut.
The second reason was that I understood that people felt blue on seeing a heavy downpour outside. They tried to avoid it and stayed inside. I didn’t want to create a brand that just did clothes, but one that also talked about subjects with a deeper meaning, so I continued to explore the subject of melancholia and rain. Simply put, I found out that in order for the sun to shine at some point it has to rain. Same goes for our feelings. In order to feel creative and happy you need to accept that you feel melancholic from time to time.
So from day one our mission has been to try and get people to feel better about the rain – and, indirectly, themselves. We believe that everyone has something to gain from this, obviously.
Obviously the backstory behind Stutterheim is highly personal, but have you felt any extra pressures or responsibilities as a result of putting your name to the brand?
Good question. I think I have gone through different phases of this. In the beginning I did a lot myself and tried to be everywhere at once. As this personal project has grown into a brand, I have been put in a situation where I can’t go on like I did five years ago. Today there are 16 employees and a group of engaged owners. But what’s still highly important, and sometimes a pressure, is my search for quality in everything we do. I don’t think it would be good to let go of that – but at least I can trust that other people are feeling and acting accordingly in the same way.
You’ve already collaborated with brands and personalities as varied as Volvo, Glenfiddich and Jay-Z. What was the thinking behind teaming up with Whistles this time around?
We have been present in the UK for some time, and have been very lucky with retailers and interest in our brand and products. Our previous collaborations have been either local or highly global and we have been looking for a opportunity for a special project in the UK. When Whistles reached out to us it felt only natural to say yes. The sense of quality that runs through both brands created a interesting energy, I think. It has been a pleasure to work with them.
What is your relationship with football?
My son who is 11 years old has been playing for the last couple of years. He know the names of all the players in the Premier League and there’s a lot of football in our house all the time.
Where musicians and trend-setters lead, it seems that footballers inevitably follow – have you seen any players wearing the coats, or had any getting in touch looking to get their hands on one?
John Guidetti of Manchester City is a big fan of us. He has several coats. When he got his first one, I got an e-mail from him saying that most of his team-mates wanted to get their hands on our coats as well. I know that someone from our UK partner arranged that. I haven’t seen any pictures of who on the team it was, though. And last but not least I know David Beckham bought himself a coat from The Shop at Bluebird in London. So it definitely feels like the footballers are embracing the melancholy as well.
The Stutterheim x Whistles unisex raincoat is now available exclusively at Whistles locations in the UK, and online at whistles.com.
Lewis wears White Heattech Polo Neck Jumper by Uniqlo; Saururus Grey Melange American Fleece Sweater, £110, by The White Briefs; Pinstripe and Indigo Distressed Jeans in bonded wool/denim by CMMN of SWDN TY; Chelsea boots by Dr Martens, model’s own.
Both wear the Unisex Raincoat by Stutterheim x Whistles throughout.