The brand doing the most for modern weatherwear design over the past half-decade hasn't been an outdoor lifestyle behemoth like Patagonia or Fjallraven whose technological approach to smart style has reversed what we thought possible; it hasn't been a streetwear brand taking advantage of and pushing the trends to reverse what we thought stylish; and it hasn't been a fashion house visualizing how the artistic future of cold weather high fashion may appear under the influence of the breakneck pace driven by the current scene.
Instead, a small company tucked into the narrow streets of Stockholm, sparked from the design concept of a grandfather's fishing coat, has done so much more with so much less than any coat designer, and maybe even any fashion brand, in recent memory.
Stutterheim, a small operation producing the finest raincoats and weatherproof style, have made their way up the ranks in recent years, and they've done so in true Nordic fashion - with simplicity, genius, and perfection - the holy trinity of minimalist design. For any true fanboy of the Scandinavian approach across the board - whether it be neo-modernist art, low-fidelity electronic music production, organic and brutalist-revival architecture, or clean, simple fashion statements often underwhelmingly referred to as basics - a Stutterheim rubberized raincoat is a must-have staple of the wardrobe.
Clean, pristine, and foremost, functional, the broad, varied, and dynamic line that Stutterheim currently produces, which is all drawn of and inspired by the design of a singular origin coat, is the work of creative perfection.
Their story is, fittingly, a simple one - a dusty fisherman's coat found hanging from a nail in a barn, the spark of an imagination, the creative desire to break routine, the balance of a true artist to not do too much or too little, and the final product yielded through the organic processes of tradition, creative growth, and environment.
The environment at hand - the Scandinavian environment - is an unforgiving one. Cold, wet, rocky, uneven. But in the harshness exists an underlying beauty, best delineated through a sole word so often embroidered with pride sur Stutterheim's overarching identity - melancholy.
Perhaps misunderstood or simply underappreciated, Melancholy, as founder and namesake, Alexander Stutterheim likes to say, is "an essential part of being a human being."
And he's right. Without downs there are no ups. Through tragedy often comes triumph. There is beautiful in the everyday. There is dynamic importance in the ordinary. There is a never-ending amount of intrigue in every aspect of life that we overlook. So, why should we look down on rainy days and grey weather? We shouldn't. We should instead embrace it. And as a reflection of our innermost selves, so should our personal style.
Enter: Stutterheim - the little rubber raincoat company which has taken what had become a long overlooked and under-worn staple of personal fashion and turned it into a global symbol of good taste.
But who could have ever imagined a rubber raincoat as the epitome of style? To be honest, it wasn't so much a change in the raincoat as it was a series of shifts in fashion towards what the raincoat has always offered, in combination, of course, with the way that Stutterheim has perfected its classic design.
There is an undeniable brashness that accompanies the raincoat's material choice. Rubber is unusual, borderline alien, and rarely used as the primary element of a piece of clothing. So naturally, off the bat, a raincoat is going to stand out. It is shiny, it can be squeaky, it moves abnormally, and yet, through all of the bizarreness exists a certain intangible draw that, when utilized respectfully, makes for a shocking and beautiful statement piece. In a time when the simplicity and earth-tone of material choice are more prevalent in fashion than ever, the accompaniment of a singular abrasive and bold statement piece is an ever more popular way of assigning an outfit a touch of individual expression. And with the range of styles offered by Stutterheim, from a vast wave of single-pane color choices, to minimalist and modern patterns, their raincoats have understandably become the go-to finishing touch to the outfits of those stylish enough to own them.
It's not only the material choice and the color of its dye that has made the classic raincoat a modern statement staple. It is also the cut. Raincoats have historically been cut long in relation to other designs. Like the parka or the trench-coat, the reason for a raincoat's long cut is purely functional. No one wants their coat, which is bravely battling the weather all day, to drip all of its held water onto the waistline of their pants. As much as us humans like to fight it, we have a genetic tendency to widen at the hips thanks to the all-too-intrusive pelvis. So, when we wear a short coat, no matter how well it may deflect the weather, it will all be for not unless we happen to also be wearing rubber pants.
Today, the long cut is not only functional, but the form has become undeniably trendy. Long or short - words to live by when deciding on your next coat thanks to the all-important appearance of layering. Shorter wears - particularly bombers, denim, and shearling coats have all made a rebirth from their not so distant graves in recent years, while excessive length and the trend of shrouded garb has become a phenomenon all its own. From long, layered hoodies and Canada Goose parkas, to double-length pea-coats and belted trenches, it was only natural for the raincoat to fit the bill. Stutterheim is simply the brand which has brought its bold yet simplistic nature to modernity and the public's eye.
In its simplicity lies the raincoat's aesthetic versatility. It's material, though off-center, is beautiful, eye-catching, and clean. Its cut not only aligns it with the tradition of dressy overcoats, but also with anti-fashion and streetwear. So, for someone with a particularly wide-ranging fashion sense – a person who splits time between monk straps and high-tops, heels and trainers, pressed slacks and ripped denim, pleated skirts and leggings, between the office, the party, and even in the gym – a Stutterheim raincoat can always find a sense of cohesion with its situational application.
It can take the place of a pea-coat overtop a suit and tie. It can take the place of a parka on a wet, rainy day. It can take the place of your favorite hoody, your favorite jacket, your favorite statement weatherwear. And it can do so while complimenting everything in your closet. It can standout or seamlessly blend to whatever you’re wearing. It is truly the most versatile piece of clothing on the market today.
Unsurprisingly, thanks to Stutterheim’s quick growth on the global cultural spectrum, raincoats have started to become more apparent pieces from long-established brands. The one-tone or simplistically-patterned, long-cut, rubberized weather proof jacket is now a part of the collections from some of fashion’s most recognizable names. But still, no one seems to be doing it quite like Stutterheim. And no one, without exact replication, ever will because what Stutterheim has established is a perfected design.
Through their success, Stutterheim have themselves, branched out. Different cuts, different colors, different patterns, of course. But also, new materials – just recently launching a series of raincoats inspired by and utilizing denim – Kinna – a bold move for a material often associated with its ineffectiveness to be weatherproof. They also manufacture a line of Chelsea-inspired rubberized rain boots for those truly battered down by repressive weather. Even hats and wallets designed of the same material and simplicity as their original raincoats. Thankfully, through their growth, they have never lost touch with their simplistic value, and their strength has always remained in their long-cut, traditional raincoat – the staple of their company, and the staple of our closets.
Just as Stutterheim has chosen to wear melancholy on their sleeves as a proud exhibition of their environmental and simplistic design choices, we should choose for our sleeves to be Stutterheim as a proud exhibition of our acceptance and appreciation for melancholy. Because, no matter how much we may fight it, melancholy is a staple of our everyday lives, and the sooner we embrace it, the better our lives will be and the better we will ultimately look.