Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell spent a lot of time this season wading through muddy ponds. After becoming obsessed with a niche YouTube fetish where people get dressed and go traipsing through shoulder high slop, they decided that this season they wanted to create a uniform for such an activity — if there’s a gap in the market, fill it! Their presentation was staged in a dystopian part-barley-field-part-corrugated-plastic stage set up, and sounds of strong winds rustling through the reads transported us to the muddy puddles right away. The colour palette was classic Cottweiler — staying within the strict parameters of one or two tones: for AW16 it was camel, black, and a translucent iron grey. Somehow, the brilliant streetwear designers had managed to take what would usually be an incredibly unproductive YouTube vortex (we’ve all been there) and birth an entire collection, that oddly enough, made total sense for the streetwear fan in the colder months.
Nature versus Nurture
Natural fabrics — in cottons and borgs — were juxtaposed next to or beneath sheer plastic sheeting or thick padded neoprene. Here was the collision of man made and natural. Particular outliers were the woollen camel track-pants with plastic panelling protecting half of them, or the translucent waders which were elasticated at the waist, from which big plastic panels jutted at the front to the chest beneath which a similarly fluffy sweater was worn. Yeti-like gloves made the third garden in an all beige three piece of jacket and sweatpants. Weather proof jackets in black gore-tex were a regular occurrence throughout, and here was a collection that melded forward thinking streetwear with absolute functionality — just check it’s machine washable before jumping head-first into any swamps.
At the heart of Cottweiler’s brand ethos is the idea of non-seasonality. Although each season is demarcated in terms of time, and inspirations are often different with each offering, the label is supposed to be seen as something with which you can transcend trend: a trouser from AW14 will work perfectly well with a jacket from SS16. The brand have achieved this, up to now, by focussing on strict limitations in their design process: colour, fit, fabrication are fairly non-variable in the Cottweiler annals. However, this season felt like a slight — only slight — departure from this ethos. The atmosphere of the collection was much the same and this is where the importance lies, but who knows if this collection will be totally miscible with your pre-existing Cottweiler threads? Either way there’s a lot to love, as ever.