Drawing creativity from overcast skies, the Stockholm-based raincoat brand is making bold moves next season
Back in 2012 CH spoke with Alexander Stutterheim in his small boutique in Södermalm’s SoFo district in Stockholm and discussed his small, yet already well-formed, brand bearing his own name: Stutterheim. At the time, his range of raincoats numbered only four designs, but now—three years later—Stutterheim has grown dramatically.
We returned to the brand's HQ (still on Södermalm) recently and spoke with marketing director, Johan Loman—a man who has been there from the start and also has an umbrella named after him. He tells CH, "I remember when I first really spoke with Alexander about what would become Stutterheim. It was in a bit of a bleak time and I went to the Hotel Skeppsholmen where Alexander just happened to be. We knew each other from our time at the ad agency Lowe Brindfors, where I was in planning and he in the copy department. He explained to me how he felt there was nobody really making good raincoats."
The conversation evolved, with Loman injecting the idea that, if there were to be such a coat, that it should be numbered and signed by the person who stitched it. Fast forward to the present and, when the clouds burst with rain, Stutterheim is almost omnipresent on the streets of Stockholm. “It feels fun each time I see a Stutterheim jacket out on the street,” says Loman.
You’ll never see us release something purely based on a trend.
The label has a loyal (and ever-growing) fanbase, from style bloggers to a few superstars like Jay Z and Kate Moss, yet they have remained true to their original vision: to make raincoats to "fight off the inner and outer demons." Loman explains, "We are who we are because of the passion that we have, but now we have to show that as a brand we are capable of evolving and developing new styles according to our core ethos: creating quality, stylish rainwear." Yet, as a brand grows, they aren't—and cannot be—averse to change. “We’ve gone from the underdog with just Alexander and a small team to more of a rounded, mature brand. The character and craftsmanship from our supplier remains the same as when we started, although a few years back we had to move production from Sweden due to demand growing as the production capacity of our Swedish factory being very limited," he says. "Today we work with a supplier in Poland and we travel there on a regular basis and work closely on R&D as well as our regular production. Now though we’re releasing new products twice a year but hold onto the notion that quality and longevity are everything. You’ll never see us release something purely based on a trend. That said, everything must be protective from the rain, feel good and look good."
For A/W 2015, Stutterheim is releasing a bunch of new, eye-catching pieces. There's a bomber jacket, a cafe racer-style biker jacket that comes in matte black or glossy white, a double-breasted hoodless jacket named Skeppsbron—named after the bridge that separates Skeppsholmen island from the center of Stockholm. Another standout—though not due for release for a little while longer—is the long, slender trench with asymmetrical double-breasted poppers in a classic sandy beige.
Evidently, the brand is remaining as strong as ever, but is willing to take a few risks—within their chosen realm. “Purely personally," Loman says, "my ambition has always been to build a strong, unique and premium brand. One where our story and imagery play as much a role as the products themselves. On one level we’ve got those classic attributes of a fashion brand. But on another deeper level we’re also talking about things that matter to us: how melancholy can influence creativity and shouldn’t be avoided but embraced. Can we maintain that balance in the future? Maybe. Hopefully. But now, I’m satisfied with what we are, the way we’ve evolved."
Images courtesy of Stutterheim