The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you discover that there’s a bit of a one-manner cultural dialog occurring. Everyone is aware of American avenue tradition. Just about the entire world wears Jordans and Supreme, listens to Kanye West and drops American slang. Streetwear was born in the USA, so the state of affairs is inevitable, really.
Just lately, although, British cultural exports have been gaining traction over in the States. Drake and Skepta are finest mates now, Palace Skateboards is approaching Supreme levels of hype and some of my New York counterparts have even started saying “ting” on Instagram.
The latest growth in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s rapidly selecting up steam over within the States. It may be Italian in origin, however the model, and its unmistakeable compass emblem, has been an inescapable a part of UK avenue type for decades.
Stone Island – or “Stoney” as it’s affectionately known – lately opened an LA flagship, and is within the third yr of what’s proving to be an especially fashionable Supreme collaboration. It doesn’t hurt that rappers like Drake and Travis Scott are giving the brand’s iconic arm patch a ton of publicity to people who would usually never see it.
The rap scene has taken to the label in such a way that A$AP Nast and Travis Scott even had a little bit of on-line beef over it. Seeing American rappers argue over who discovered Stoney first is a cultural mindfuck of hilarious proportions – sort of just like the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales beefing over Biggie and Tupac.
Given the momentum that Stone Island is building throughout the Atlantic, we thought we’d take the opportunity to teach our American readers on the brand’s rich background, and its importance in UK model.
“Stone Island is steeped in history, culture and good design,” Ollie Evans of Too Sizzling Limited instructed me. Ollie is a London-based reseller of archive Stone Island gear, and has been dealing vintage pieces from the brand for years. He first encountered Stoney approach back in 1999, when the Birmingham City Zulu agency (a firm being a crew of hardcore football fans) was carrying it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe since the very starting,” Ollie explained. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the ’80s – their type was very a lot inspired by ’50s Americana, however combined with sporty Italian designer labels. It was round this period that British soccer fans, following their groups to European Cup video games, started bringing again some of these similar labels to put on on terraces in the UK, appropriating the Paninaro look and constructing their own subculture around it.”
It’s unattainable to speak about Stone Island without mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard football supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels that emerged in the UK within the ’80s. Relatively than carrying their team’s colors like earlier generations of hooligans, casuals chose to keep away from consideration from the police and rival companies by flaunting flashy designer labels as an alternative.
“These brands had been initially very laborious to supply and only obtainable in Europe, so a tradition of one-upmanship emerged with guys attempting to outdo one another with rarer, more expensive and more progressive items. Stone Island fitted perfectly into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral a part of what is known as informal tradition.”
Stone Island suited the informal movement’s tastes completely – it’s expensive, visually hanging and the brand’s arm patch allows fans to determine one another with out drawing unwanted consideration. Stoney’s identification is, whether or not the brand likes it or not, inextricably tied to hooliganism, and you’ll discover that compass patch on terraces and soccer grounds in every single place from Middlesborough to Moscow.
These days, although, the brand has grown past simply casuals and will be present in powerful, internal-metropolis neighborhoods across the nation – notably in London – and to many, the brand’s iconic arm patch is a uncooked expression of butch masculinity. The grime scene has taken to it in an enormous approach – which is probably how Drake found the model, given his newfound fondness for the style and his close links with Skepta and Boy Higher Know.
Whereas the label will probably be eternally related (to an extent) with robust-guy hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the end of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing expertise and revolutionary fabrics. “It’s nearly a cliche to discuss innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie explained. “They are – and all the time have been – always pushing the boundaries of garment expertise, creating product that’s recent and that nobody else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments because the ’80s, means before anyone else.”
It’s straightforward to see how Stone Island’s excessive-tech, navy-inspired design language resonates with the more macho, masculine finish of the menswear market. “It’s a real boy’s model.” Ollie added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket modifications shade! This one’s reflective! This one’s manufactured from stainless steel! It’s an actual tradition of 1-upmanship and making an attempt to look better than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its putting aesthetic and commitment to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who based the brand in 1982, to run alongside his other manufacturers CP Firm stone island jas xl and Boneville. Osti left Stone Island in 1995 to found Massimo Osti Productions and Left Hand, earlier than passing away in 2005.
“Massimo Osti set the blueprint for Stone Island and his legacy nonetheless informs the place it’s as we speak. He’s the man who brought us reflective jackets, coloration-changing heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protecting jackets, reversible jackets, dual-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all ideas that are now commonplace, and i assure that each main vogue home on the earth has a few of his work in their archive somewhere.”
In actual fact, Supreme’s ongoing collaboration with Stoney features many homages to Osti’s work. “I’m a huge fan of Osti’s ’80s and early ’90s designs, so it’s fantastic to see that work referenced once more in the Supreme collaborations,” Ollie continued. “The marina-style stripes, the heat-reactive jackets, the Tela Stella anorak (centerpiece of Supreme x Stone Island SS15) and the helicopter jacket with the goggles from their first collab are all Osti’s.”
It’s a really fascinating time for both Stone Island and Supreme. The two brands have come a great distance from their roots, and discover themselves treading unfamiliar floor. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic audience that has very little data of the brand’s historical past, innovation and cultural significance – just a few co-indicators from rappers and a collaboration with the most hyped streetwear model on the planet.
Supreme, in distinction, is attracting an more and more youthful viewers that has a lot less understanding of the brand’s history and irreverent, counter-cultural tendencies. Each Supreme and Stone Island face the identical challenge: the best way to develop into new areas and entice a bigger audience, whereas preserving their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s venture, Too Hot Limited, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside items from other terrace casual favorites, like Polo Ralph Lauren, C.P. Firm (Massimo Osti’s first label), Prada Sport (the Italian luxurious house’s temporary foray into sportswear), Iceberg and Burberry. Too Hot also offers a glimpse again in time through its in-home editorials, which function wistful tributes to the flashy, designer label gear that was all the rage in the UK within the ’90s and ’00s.