Stutterheim, the Swedish raincoat brand that’s spreading their own brand of “melancholy at its driest,” is no stranger to experimentation. Their collaborations range from the political (their Vladimir rainbow coat, based on the artwork of activist Gilbert Baker, references the Russian government’s anti-gay actions, with 10% of proceeds going towards LGBTQI+ organisations), to the fashionable (they’ve launched designs with Henrik Vibskov & Marni, to name a few).
Wanting to get in on the design fun himself, Founder and Creative Director Alexander Stutterheim opened the “Stutterheim Clinic,” a former cement factory in Öland, Sweden. Surrounding himself with 200 white raincoats and a few buckets of black paint, Alexander got busy creating the first limited edition range of coats from the lab.
We spoke with Alexander about his inspiration for the coats and what’s next for the Stutterheim Clinic:
You used 200 white coats for this project. Is the white coat a reference to a lab coat; a sort of clinical experiment? Or is it just a blank canvas?
Yes, I wanted the clinic coats to be as laboratory-like as possible in contrast to the abandoned and scary factory environment. It looked like a horror movie; my son was actually afraid to go there. But creativity lies in the darkness…
Explain your process for creating the coats
I am not very good at taking vacations. I like to create and work almost all the time. This summer it was sunny which I don´t like, so I stayed in the factory most of the time. I guess I have more fun working than I have when I have “fun.” I tried various techniques but ended up with this action painting method to control the splashes but not fully know the outcome of them. It made each coat totally unique.
Is there a dichotomy for you between a product like a raincoat – something that needs to be hearty – and making it so one-of-a-kind? Are these coats as wearable as your typical raincoats?
I like the contrast between the practical take on things and total artistic expression. For me, it is very interesting and challenging to combine left and right sides of the brain into one piece that is fully wearable in a downpour.
Was the artistic process cathartic for you? What did you enjoy about it? What did you not enjoy about it?
Putting my hands in paint and throwing it on a raincoat was really fun and also connected me to my inner child. One part of me said: no, you can´t destroy a perfectly nice raincoat! And the other part wanted to be an anarchist and just splash away. I really like how they turned out.
Do you plan to do more Clinics like this one?
I would love to. If I ever have another vacation.
Will you continue to use the converted space? If so, how?
We are discussing developing new items there, to make it our creative laboratory. We may also use it for photoshoots, and for my other brand John Sterner; to perhaps have some knitters working there. A dream would be to also have a melancholy music festival at the factory.
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