Alexander Stutterheim - creative director of Stutterheim
When Alexander Stutterheim grew up in Nybro, close to Kalmar, on the east coast of Sweden, nature was like a gigantic outdoors room where you could play as much as you wanted.
Alexander Stutterheim - founder and creative director of iconic Swedish raincoat brand Stutterheim, as well as sweater brand John Sterner. Both brands are intimately linked to the Swedish weather. For Alexander, nature is a place intertwined with creativity and memoires.
Stutterheim Photo: Alexander Stutterheim
“Nybro was very safe and secure and as a child you spent a lot of time outdoors. I don’t’think there is a Swedish child that has not built a hut during spring, or tried to catch a fish in a nearby lake. Nature was always there. You didn’t think very much about it as a child, that the forest and the nature belong to all of us. Maybe you read “Bamse” (Swedish comic book for children) and it was explained what freedom to roam was. But apart from that I think that, as a child, you took it for granted”, says Alexander Stutterheim.
Today Alexander Stutterheim is 46 years old and is the creative director of Stutterheim that manufactures the world’s finest raincoats. And he shares his time between Stockholm, the Swedish capital, and Nybro on Öland. He moved back there in 2016.
“Nature is something that I use every week in one way or another. For instance, when I am Stockholm I sit in an office landscape in the southern parts of town. When I need to clear my head I drive out to Hellas-gården where I walk for a couple of hours and refuel and gather energy. I guess you can say that I use nature as a creative office”, says Stutterheim.
From the beginning Stutterheim’s raincoats gained an almost legendary reputation after the likes of Kanye West and Jay Z praised them. That is not all bad for a company that started with 200 hand-sewn raincoats sold out of Alexander Stutterheim’s own apartment. Today Stutterheim is a global success and has its own shops in Stockholm and in New York. Its line of clothes is sold in exclusive department stores in more than 25 countries.
The brand has a very intimate relationship with nature. You could almost say that that it exists thanks to the Swedish weather. And the iconic raincoat, which was the first product of the company, is a replica of a raincoat that Stutterheim’s grandfather used when he worked as a fisherman.
“It was a product that I wanted to have for myself but couldn’t find. So I made it. Without it I don’t think that my company would have existed. Perhaps I would have started a different company but not like Stutterheim. I like to tell a story and our family has a lot of colorful characters and stories so more likely than not I would have found another inspiring story to tell”, says Stutterheim.
For Alexander Stutterheim nature is also something that is intimately intertwined with memories. At 21 years of age he was diagnosed with cancer.
“All of a sudden I was faced with a new reality. Shall I die now? I love long walks. That is where I found my rest and my best ideas are often born during those long walks. Close to nature. When I received my cancer diagnosis I started taking long walks. To gather my thoughts and to be alone with my grief, my panic and my fears. There is no better therapy than nature, hearing the birds sing. Right now here on Öland, the birds breed and they sing in choirs that can’t be compared with anything”, says Stutterheim.
Back on Öland, Stutterheim has founded yet another company – John Sterner. John Sterner makes luxurious sweaters made from locally produced wool. And yes, the goal is that all wool should come from Stutterheim’s own sheep; to make the entire production as transparent and local as possible.
“I believe that a number of factors are necessary for someone to be creative. I think that the social services we have had in Sweden, including freedom to roam, have given a lot of people the possibility to at least try something creative. Our relationship with nature, our strong democracy and freedom of speech have created fantastic possibilities for us to be creative. I don’t think that we are more creative than anyone else but perhaps we have better opportunities”, says Stutterheim.
In Sweden summer is short but sweet and the waters are warm only for a few months, so better make the most use of it Photo: Clive Tompsett/imagebank.sweden.se
Getting around with Alexander Stutterheim
My best memories are…
Apart from my childhood memories it is probably when my 13 year old son, my partner and I make excursions on Öland in our free time.
I dream of…
I have pretty much done everything in nature and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.
You have to…
Visit Öland of course, and my sheep’s farm.