Hiking gear – it’s not exactly cool, is it? Where the clothes worn by bikers, fighter pilots and lumberjacks have always appealed to guys’ machismo – and thus been reworked by menswear designers for decades – the hiker’s uniform is somewhat less glamorous. It’s the stuff your dad wears on his Sunday walks with the dog.
Enter Cottweiler. Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty’s label has found inspiration in all sorts of weird and wonderful places: Eastern European forest raves, agricultural technology, Hare Krishnas and, as Ben once told me, “Ukrainian boys that live in tunnels.” For the brand’s SS18 show at London Fashion Week Men’s, the guys filled an empty warehouse space with massive mobile homes and had their guys march around decked out in all sorts of luxe interpretations of your dad’s waterproof trousers.
Sporty jackets, cargo trousers, backpacks and ponchos were splattered in handy pockets, jangling carabiners and flailing drawcords, while models clutched their own shoes (they walked barefoot) and, err, empty water barrels.
The duo’s Reebok collab continued, with some ugly-cool trail sneakers that looked more than a little similar to the adidas x Hyke collab from a few seasons ago. Given that Cottweiler recently won the Woolmark prize, it’s hardly surprising that their favored sportswear fabrics were accompanied by some shaggy, fleecier materials. Knowing Cottweiler, it’s more likely to be some next-level weatherproof blend than your boring-old merino wool, though.
Aside from all the crazy tech and rain-beating outdoor gear, there was a lizard motif that the guys used as a mascot. It appeared as a print on graphic tees, as a charm jangling from waistbands and, not quite as commerce-friendly, painted onto guys’ faces.
So, are all these rugged outdoorsy vibes the sort of thing guys actually want to wear? Well, you’ll find the answer to that in the theme running through all of Cottweiler’s work: raving. They might be using next-level tech and have extremely strange things on their mood board, but at the end of the day Matt and Ben just want to make stuff you can wear at the rave for 10 hours straight without drowning in sweat. That’ll be where all those pockets and dry-fit fabrics come in handy for Cottweiler’s army of thirsty ravers. And the water bottles.
For more SS18 goings-on, check out Gosha Rubchinskiy’s latest collection with adidas and Burberry.
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- Photography: Eva Al Desnudo / Highsnobiety.com