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Alexander Stutterheim

The founder of Swedish brand Stutterheim Raincoats tells Graeme Moran how to stay stylish in a downpour.

You’re opening a pop-up shop on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch from November 17 to December 23. Tell us about this and the concept behind it.

This will be a shop presenting how I think people can embrace bad weather in style. Visiting the store will be a journey into craftsmanship, melancholy, style and passion. The time is right for me and my brand to explore territories outside Stockholm. People dress badly in bad weather, and I want to see if I can do anything about that.

Tell us about Stutterheim Raincoats. Why did you set the company up? Is it true the inspiration came from finding your grandfather’s old fishing jacket?

I was on my way to a meeting wearing a suit (I worked as a copywriter at the time) and the only thing I had to protect myself from the rain was an unstylish Gore-Tex jacket. I looked like a sad golfer lost in town or a guy on his way to climb a mountain. A week later I found my grandfather’s fisherman’s coat in a barn in the Stockholm archipelago. It was brutally cool and I instantly felt I wanted one for myself. But there were none to be found, it was pretty much Gore-Tex everywhere. So I decided, as a total hobby project, to make an updated version of it on my own. The result was a pretty cool, understated raincoat that I ended up selling from my kitchen for the first five months.

Tell us about the factory you use to make the coats.

I’m tired of the throwaway mentality. I wanted to do my coats really slow and careful and keep it close to me, both mentally and geographically. I took the prototype with me and visited the last remaining sewing factory in Sweden.

On your website it says ‘No Gore-Tex. No Velcro. No reflectors’. What’s the thinking behind this mission statement?

I guess I wanted to emphasise that my products are fuzz-free, hardcore and simple.

You often talk about Swedishness. What does this mean to you?

It’s a way of scaling down design to a minimalistic, essential level where both the item and owner stand free from unnecessary details.

What’s your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?

My handmade hat from Victor Osborne in New York, black jeans from Ralph Lauren, white shirts and a wool jacket.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

In Sweden, Nitty Gritty and NK. In London, Present, Liberty and Selfridges, and Mr Porter online.

If you weren’t making raincoats, what would you be doing?

I’d like to write a novel.

What’s your career highlight so far?

Kumi Kawaij, the former chief designer at [Yohji] Yamamoto, telling me I have a really good eye.

What other brands or designers do you admire?

[Maison Martin] Margiela, Helmut Lang, Acne, Yamamoto, Paul Smith and many more.

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