Cottweiler is an East-London-based concept-led menswear label providing luxury casual wear informed by an appreciation for simplicity, function, fit and fabrication. Design and tailoring avant-garde creatives Matt Dainty and Ben Cottrell met whilst studying Fashion and Textile at Bristol University. Despite their different upbringings, the pair were soon drawn to each other thanks to the shared fascination in both British and continental subculture, and the mutual desire to create an organic label with longevity that would have people rethink their opinion on fashion.
From their small but perfectly formed studio squeezed into a railway arch in East London, they work tirelessly on growing the label in their own uncompromising way and terms. Distanced from the glare of mainstream London Collections, they started off creating garments on a personal order basis for their mates. Gradually they kept evolving in to the future by extending the production of garments – without losing grip with their core values in developing nonchalantly edgy sportswear in high-end fabrics. That’s precisely how each Cottweiler collection results in a smorgasbord of subculture, an intriguing mishmash of iconographic references from youth movements, religious symbols, fetishism and the occult. In addition to producing both seasonal and limited-edition capsule collections, the duo continues providing for an ever growing made-to-measure client base – and they collaborate with cutting edge artists on projects across several media ranging from film and photography to illustration.
Perhaps the distinctive element that sets Cottweiler aside from the mass of similarly emerging hip brands is the role played by fabric. In Dainty’s own words, “Fabric is so important to us. We’re both excited by performance fabrics and fabrics that still perform, yet have the appearance of classic cloths. We’ve managed to build five core suppliers – some are in the UK and others in Germany, Switzerland and France, and they will work with us in small quantities”.
Although working side by side (virtually 24/7) through the whole creative and production process may sound draining enough, the duo just can’t seem to get quite enough. Their aesthetic authenticity travels through their spot-on curation of amateur photography – and youtube screenshots sit seamlessly alongside subsequent look books. From prison codes to scuba diving, joyriders and tunnel dwellers to ravers, it will only take a look into Cottweiler’s kaleidoscope of inspiration on their Tumblr to fully and easily understand what they’re on about (see the bottom of the article for full links).
As for their SS14 collection, inspiration is once again drawn from Czech ravers and the wilderness surrounding a certain 1990’s, cool gabber style of ever-tempting and sexy Prague. Starting from videos of boys wearing full tracksuits in the shower and filming themselves, Cottweiler builds on their signature aesthetic and reveals exciting updates to their beloved silhouette and techno fabrications, experimenting with volume and sophisticated layering – all executed in signature Cottweiler no-logo style. Staples include white semi transparent mesh bonded membrane shell tops and re-proportioned tracksuits to be worn directly on the skin. That’s the keyword to the entire collection: covering – and oftentimes not so much covering – the body with one layer only, be it a soft nylon transparent zipped wind jacket with matching shorts or equally comfortable satin tracksuit trousers. All pieces are explored in a palette of transparent off-white and satin black tonal shades, with the signature Cottweiler tape details.
Thanks to this incredible formula and the pair’s easy-going stamina and determination, Cottweiler is now available at Primitive London, GR8 Tokyo, Substance L.A., V Files New York, Tate’s Zurich and Wildstyle L.A.
The duo don’t particularly believe in names. They admit: ”We’ve tried to develop the identity of Cottweiler without putting our names all over it. We are pretty anti-branding to be honest. […] That’s how we dress as well. We are into sportswear, but we’re not into swooshes and three stripes everywhere”.
There is a subtlety to Cottweiler that makes it utterly unnecessary to resolve to a brash logo to be unmistakably singled out: they already stand out with their very personal take on sportswear in luxurious, lavish fabrics. And despite the duo’s somewhat hostile outlook on branding and names, we’re sure they won’t mind their many recent features on Hunger, Vogue Italia, Ponystep and WAD Magazine.
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