Meet the London label tapping into the fetishisation of sportswear

The menswear design duo looking to YouTube fetish groups and cults for inspiration.

[T]he first fabric to spring to mind when you think of cutting-edge streetwear? Wool probably isn’t high on that list. Though thanks to Cottweiler designers and International Woolmark Prize menswear winners for 2016/17 Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty – the ubiquitous thread for autumn breath new life into the brand’s signature fetish-infused garments featuring Merino wool base-layers, quilted waterproof outerwear and a heavy dose of utilitarian detailing.

‘For this project we decided to look back at our own archive and reimagine some of the pieces in Merino wool,’ Dainty tells Hunger. ‘We’re always looking to make things windproof and waterproof, and wool [is that, and also] really kind to the body in ways that synthetics can’t be, so for us it was about combining the two to create something unique and innovative.’

Cottweiler International Woolmark Prize collection

‘We also created a fitted gilet, which comprises all of the off-cuts of the collection as its filling, so no piece of fabric used in the making of the collection has gone to waste,’ Cottrell adds.

The menswear design duo met at Bristol university whilst studying fashion design and textiles. Matthew previously interned for designer Kim Jones while Ben worked worked for with Ozwald Boateng on Savile Row, specialising tailoring and luxury menswear, before going on to design technical sportswear.

Cottweiler International Woolmark Prize collection

In 2008, they began to rent a work studio together, forming the beginnings of what has evolved to become Cottweiler. ‘We were very anti-branding,’ the designers explain. ‘Having also worked for other brands where branding was a real focus, we wanted to do something that was recognisable through silhouette or quality.’ The pair often look to New Age religions, cults and YouTube fetish groups for inspiration.

So what’s next for the emerging Brit brand? ‘Innovation is really important to us,’ Dainty stresses. ‘But we’re also very conscious of over-exposure. For a young brand to grow slowly adds value, and that’s something that we’ve always been conscious about; it’s about longevity.’

You can follow Cottweiler on Instagram here and shop their International Woolmark Prize collection exclusively in the UK at Harvey Nichols.  

Credits: Photography & Video: CG Watkins Styling: Niklas Bildstein Zaar