Cottweiler’s Autumn Winter 2016 Collection explores the concept of a post civilized society and the agricultural and theoretical principles of this new culture. The collection represents a community transitioning from industrialization to a new stage of agronomic autonomy; where a recovery of ideologies from the past is seen and mixed with new technological structures.
This looking to the past may be a reaction to the imminent dangers associated with the current monopolization of the food industry. As the global food supply becomes concentrated, so does corporate power in dictating what we put into our bodies. With the top 100 food manufacturers accounting for 80% of all food sales, it is clear that this concentration of power is likely to continue. Additional fears such as Monsanto’s growing influence in the agricultural industry through its deployment of GM seeds combines with this problem of monopolization to further shift power from consumer to corporation.
The collection emphasizes a recovery of the past; to a time when agricultural autonomy was much greater. By imagining a future civilization in which we have regained out agricultural autonomy through the use of past methods and ideology. The collection has a colour palette of beige, grey, dark blue and black. The choice of colours is significant as its creates a somewhat serious tone; which highlights the significance of the collections message. Cottweiler portrays a ‘waterproof’ agricultural worker in this collection. The designers do this by covering tinted cellophane over natural fibres and by the use of waterproof shearling and performance fabrics.
This recapturing of consumer power is highlighted through a number of elements. Firstly, the powerful stances and facial expressions of the models, as well as their ethnic diversity signifies ‘the people’ as a united collection as opposed to a particular secular group. The set design presents the models in a field of wheat; which suggests that they are in control of the materials and sources around them. Similarly, the wheat is used as a form of ornament, placed in a rucksack and embroidered on a jacket; this evokes a sense of authenticity as the wheat symbolizes freedom, growth and control.
In addition, the collection emphasizes transition and transformation through a fusion of past and future, with man-made materials representing the future and organic materials symbolizing the past. The shell and plastic fabrics absorb the light in a specific way that gives us a secondary set of colours to admire. This provides the viewer with a choice, which could highlight the autonomous choice which is central to the concept of the collection.
// Photography –SIMON ARMSTRONG //