12 July 2016 11:00:00
Stutterheim: when it's raining cats and dogs
Telling you how to fall in love with melancholy
The world of garments is divided into two types: those we want and those we need. Sometimes these two conditions interflow. Raincoats are the great example of that. BRANDSHOP tells you about waterproof raincoats and Swedish melancholy
People in yellow capes
Stutterheim Raincoats was founded in Stockholm in 2010. The idea behind Stutterheim Raincoats sparked by a combination of events. Founder Alexander Stutterheim was early for a meeting while working as a copywriter at Saab. It was raining and he sat down for a coffee, looking at people outside. Nobody even came close to being well-dressed, not one single person, wearing ugly, functional raincoats, cheap umbrellas or even newspapers over their head. Northern Europe is known for constant melancholic mood but when it rains everything is way sadder. Suddenly he realized that there is actually nothing nice to wear in bad weather.
A few weeks later Alexander’s grandfather passed away. He wrote poems and managed a big theatre in Stockholm and lived in Arholma - an island in the Stockholm archipelago. While cleaning out his house, Alexander stumbled upon grandfather’s old raincoat. This was an old classic fishermen’s raincoat, a plain and heavy garment in a sturdy oilcloth material. His grandfather often went out fishing during stormy weather wearing this raincoat. It looked cool on, albeit too “tent-like”, and the idea of creating a raincoat for today based on the style of his grandfather’s coat was born.
Confrontation and unity with nature
Grandfather’s raincoat became a prototype of the future invention. Stutterheim knew that modern textile corporations are now far away from where they were – production process is now cheaper and, accordingly, the quality of products is lower. But the nature conditions are still the same. So, he decided to recover the quality and style of a classic raincoat. He went out to buy a piece of oilcloth. He put it on the kitchen floor and cut out a design using the old coat as a pattern. He showed the sample to a couple of friends. And after some improvements, there it was – the 60‘s raincoat from the archipelago, updated to fit the modern man and woman.
An important detail
He brought the prototype to the last standing textile factory in Sweden, in the small town of Borås – rainwear has long since been engulfed by the sportswear industry, and production moved to countries with lower costs far away. With their skills, craftsmanship and great attention to materials and detail Alexander realized that raincoats should be handmade. A great way to honour his grandad's durable and practical raincoat. And there it was. The coat. With all its seams taped and sealed. In the very best quality; handmade and with a discreet, classical cut. The first 200 coats were made and sold in his apartment. Each coat was signed and numbered by the seamstress (they still are) to really make sure the quality matched the very highest of standards. The coats were an immediate success, offering something a lot of people had apparently been missing: stylish yet functional rainwear. There was a niche in the market ready to be filled by Stutterheim. The business quickly grew too big to be managed from Alexander’s apartment. So, in 2011 Stutterheim Raincoats store was opened, in combination with an office. From here both sales and all other functions were handled.
The capital of melancholy
The theme of melancholy has been present since the inception of the brand, where the idea of creativity being born out of melancholy has been an important base for building the brand that is Stutterheim. Alexander says that feeling blue inspires creativity. If August Strindberg, Ingmar Bergman, Karin Boye and hundreds of other famous Swedish artists had felt happy all the time, they wouldn’t have produced their fantastic work. Being melancholic is an essential part of being a human being. If we try too hard to get rid of melancholy it’s almost like we’re settling for a half-life. To embrace melancholy is ultimately to embrace joy. Designers of the company are sure that melancholy shouldn’t be confused with depression. Melancholy is an active state. When we’re melancholic, we feel uneasy with the way things are, the status quo, the conventions of our society. Through our melancholy we come up with new ways of seeing the world and new ways of being in the world. Melancholy and creativity go together like ebony and ivory on a piano. We yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with the world. And in that yearning, we’re forced to explore the potential within ourselves – a potential we might not have explored if we were simply content.
To the last drop
By telling a true story, Alexander Stutterheim created a brand that is very true to its Swedish heritage, but at the same time very different from other Swedish and Scandinavian brands on the market. Company’s raincoats are the example of eluding beauty and functionality – a real melancholy on a rack.
StutterheimMen's raincoat Stockholm Black
StutterheimMen's raincoat Stockholm Yellow
StutterheimMen's raincoat Stockholm Red
StutterheimPanama Bechholmen Navy
StutterheimPanama Bechholmen Charcoal
StutterheimPanama Bechholmen Red
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