If anyone can make raincoats cool, it’s the Swedes. Stutterheim has managed to do exactly that with clean silhouettes and, most importantly, material and shape that provides strong protection against wind and rain. So how does one create weather gear that’s considered highly-functioning while remaining cool enough to wear regardless of the weather?
Launched in 2010, Stutterheim began when founder Alexander, who was then a copywriter, was looking for a raincoat. Though there were some options, none were both stylish and well-made. Around the same time, his grandfather passed away and he found an old fisherman’s rain jacket while cleaning his summer cottage. Alexander used that design as the basis for Stutterheim’s first coat, the Arholma Black. The first run of coats was around 200 items and Alexander sold them out of his apartment. Barney’s in New York City, Voo Store in Berlin and Dover Street Market in London (!) were among the brand’s first international clients.
When I ask how Alexander went from wanting a raincoat to running a raincoat company (wouldn’t most of us just do some online shopping?) head designer Patric Wallertz explains, “Alexander is the kind of person who makes things happen. In the early days, Stutterheim was very much based on the strength of his personality and personal energy.”
But a company can only be based on one person for so long. Their growth over the last five years has been rapid. Patric joined in the spring of 2015 after studying in London then working for H&M, Filippa K and a three year stint at Swedish cult-favorite Uniforms for the Dedicated.
The particular design concerns for Stutterheim, Patric says, are maintaining the clean lines that are important to the brand while improving functionality. “It’s hard to get this fabric to breathe,” Patric explains, “so improving the functionality is something we’re always working on. We’re currently looking at a few new fabrics.” The original functionality is so strong, in fact, that their best seller is a coat launched three years ago – the Stockholm Coat – developed from that first Arholma coat with only minor tweaks.
When we visited the office, which is actually a group of charming cabins tucked away in leafy garden in Södermalm, Stockholm, we got to see upcoming patterns and run our hands over the waxy, sturdy materials.
The space couldn’t fit the brand any better; the combination of nature with the unpretentious, well-used indoor area is a perfect testing ground for the coats. Want to see how the latest design works? Just pop outside the office – you’re instantly in the woods.
If you’re looking to be inspired by the Swedish landscape, a concrete office just don’t do it for you. Stutterheim has put themselves right in the middle of the natural world in which they work and it’s resulted in a line of rain gear that gets better and better.
Poking our heads around the design cabin, we see a few exciting changes among the coat racks. While Stutterheim’s collections have previously been unisex, the AW16 season will split into men’s and women’s lines. This is less about creating different styles, Patric explains, and more about (there’s that word again) functionality. “Women’s and men’s cuts are different – they fall differently on the body and it can change the way the coat fits,” Patric lets me know.
Stutterheim has done something that few brands can do successfully – straddle multiple categories. “We’re in both the fashion and outdoor gear worlds,” Patric tells me, “but we’re looking to be more fully immersed in fashion than in the outdoor genre. It just makes more sense for us, and it’s something that few other brands are doing.”
When I ask if Patric has anything else he can share about the new line, he’s clear that Stutterheim may be be moving forward, but it is still the same core business. “The new collection is going to be quite different than what you’ve seen before. It’s still us; just better.” That means staying drier, looking better.
With Kanye West already wearing their coats and continued interest from the fashion world, all Stutterheim needs now is a few cumulonimbus clouds.
See more on Stutterheim and stay dry!
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