31 July 2017

The Wise Words of Cottweiler's Creative Duo

Putting the 'suit' in 'tracksuit', Cottweiler's co-designers Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell propose a reworked vision of authenticity by giving an unassuming formality to the urban uniform. With collection references that have ranged from prison roof riots and patio furniture, to a dystopian cornfield set and a Hare Krishna-inspired live installation, the brand self-defines as "contemporary luxury". Having already documented the 'Wise Words' of Rick and Demna, I thought with this one, it'd be another chance to hone in on the extension of a specific type of relationship between fashion and subculture, through the words of the designers themselves, of course.

    

1
on how Cottweilier came to be...
"It was kind of like an extension of what we were working on whilst we were studying. Also the main reason was that we were a bit sick of not finding any nice clothes to wear."

2
on subcultures...
"We are fascinated by the notion of hidden codes of dress within youth and subcultures, and the way in which a group member can identify with someone else due to a small detail in their clothing or by the way it has been worn."

3
on the future...
“Years ago everyone thought the future was a touchscreen phone. Now everyone’s walking around with a touchscreen phone with fingerprints all over it and dents and smashes in it. As soon as nature is involved, as soon as humans are involved, it becomes something else, and what we tried to represent is our vision of what the future is, in more realistic terms."



4
on design iconography...
"This has ranged from eastern European forest raves to free diving."

5
on the differences between designing for men and women...
"For us, we don’t really define it as men's and womenswear. It’s menswear that works on women."

6
on presentations over runway shows...
"We like to create an installation that stands on its own as a piece of work then integrate the boys into it. The whole sensory experience is very important to us."



7
on the Cottweilier boy...
"If you’re committing to being a Cottweiler boy and you’re going to dress head to toe in Cottweiler, it would be weird to put it with another brand. You could, of course, but you’re committing to becoming part of the brand or group."

8
on Cottweiler's subtle statement...
"The brand identity has really become about making a subtle statement, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s not about being overly ostentatious, it’s not necessarily about wanting to stand out in a crowd. Instead, it’s about being noticed over time."

9
on reinvention...
"Each season we understand more about what we like and the reasoning behind it, so it becomes more refined, however, we do like to contradict ourselves quite often and that's when things become re-invented."

    

10
on the A/W 16 mud fetish reference...
"...young lads that work on farms, who are maybe 16 or 17 years old. They’re in the fields anyway, so they start to film themselves, probably a bit out of boredom?"

11
on group mentality...
"I had a kind of vaguely religious upbringing. Ben’s family were like teddy boys and skinheads and all this kind of thing. Ben’s dad was into rave culture, and that’s all about group mentality. It’s all about having a uniformity within a group—but that group standing out from the rest of society."

12
on staying away from prints...
"I guess it’s a bit of a geeky thing. We’re really interested in fabrication. We’re also really interested in the way you can create light without colour using layering systems and transparency... We were told by a buyer once that we need to do more print, so we didn’t."



13
on avoiding trends...
"We’re always thinking about how we can produce something that is going to be around for a really long time—new pieces that become timeless classics. We’re always trying to avoid trends. The minute we see something that someone else is doing, we tend to kind of go the opposite direction."

14
on the brand's USP in the menswear market...
"For us it’s just about offering a true product that’s not trying to be anything other than a genuine piece of clothing. We’re honest and what we do is honest."

15
on the creative constraints of entry-level jobs...
"It’s tough at university when you have this free rein to be as creative as you want, but the reality is – especially going in at junior level as a designer – you never really get to be creative. We definitely felt stunted when we were working for other people."