Ahead of what’s set to be a killer season, get familiar with the label doing sportswear justice
Sportswear and fashion have made strange bedfellows over the years. In the 70s tennis brands translated sporting opulence into premium leisurewear; in the 80s companies capitalised on jogging culture with flashy trainers and tracksuits; and in the 90s, sneaker culture brought sportswear back to street level.
It’s only recently, however, that the fashion world has finally met sportswear on the terms of the people who first made it look good: the kids on the streets. From high fashion collaborations with adidas Originals, to genre-defying new labels bringing streetwear to the catwalk, to grime’s global explosion, it seems like 2016 was the year fashion stopped trying to make sportswear something it isn’t, and embraced it for what it is – cool clothes.
As we enter 2017, that looks set to continue, and one brand that has captured this mood is British label Cottweiler. Ahead of their show at today’s London Fashion Week Men’s, we break down why you should be watching them closely in 2017.
THEY'RE BLENDING SPORTSWEAR AND TAILORING, CREDIBLY
Over the past few years, countless labels have tried their hand at creating authentic sportswear with a fashion mind, but few have succeeded. Cottweiler’s founders Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty grew up in sportswear though – Cottrell as a runner, Dainty as a fan of terrace casual brands like Stone Island. The results are collections that fit like sportswear favourites, with subtle material and stylistic updates. Don’t mess with the classics.
THEY'RE DOING IT FROM A DISTINCTLY BRITISH PERSPECTIVE
For too long, British street style has stood in the sidelines while America’s basketball jerseys, varsity jackets and sneaker culture have dominated understandings of what street culture is. But if you’re British, each Cottweiler collection is like a visual history of British street style and our unique fascination with sportswear. Expect nylon shell-suits, high-peaked caps, zip-up track jackets and aggressive, jagged trainers. Glorious.
THEY KNOW THAT UNDERSTATED IS THE BIGGEST STATEMENT
One of the most appealing things about Cottweiler’s designs is their notable absence of external branding. Whilst some brands have gone big and brash in recent years, Cottweiler truly lets the clothes speak for themselves. Merino wools, premium technical fabrics, geometric cuts and a futuristic, greyscale colour palette are all you need. What this creates, also, is a sense that this really is a celebration of the British sportswear aesthetic, not an attempt to claim it.
THEY'VE GOT A SLEW OF CELEBRITY FANS
Cottrell and Dainty designed FKA Twigs’ striking tour wardrobe back in 2014, but they’ve got a whole other long list of famous fans who are getting behind the brand, including Skepta, Yung Lean and Jamie XX (their gear featured in his masssive video for “Gosh”). They’re not big on celebrity placement either, so if you see someone wearing it, it’s either because the star likes Cottweiler, or Cottweiler likes them.
THEY'RE KICKING OFF 2017 WITH A BANG
First is London, where the duo will put on their second ever runway show. Then just a few days later at Pitti Uomo, they will present their Designer Project Cottweiler for Reebok, a collaboration that is sure to see the two bring their winning elevated-sportswear aesthetic to a brand so rooted in British sportswear there’s a Union Jack on the trainers. Lastly, they’ll be in Paris, where they’re up for the Woolmark Prize. So – that’s London, Florence AND Paris. No sweat.