The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you discover that there’s a bit of a one-manner cultural conversation occurring. Everybody knows American street tradition. Just about the complete world wears Jordans and Supreme, listens to Kanye West and drops American slang. Streetwear was born within the USA, so the scenario is inevitable, really.
Just lately, though, British cultural exports have been gaining traction over within the States. Drake and Skepta are finest mates now, Palace Skateboards is approaching Supreme levels of hype and a few of my New York counterparts have even started saying “ting” on Instagram.
The newest improvement in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s rapidly selecting up steam over in the States. It could also be Italian in origin, however the brand, and its unmistakeable compass emblem, has been an inescapable a where are stone island products made part of UK street model for many years.
Stone Island – or “Stoney” as it’s affectionately recognized – not too long ago opened an LA flagship, and is in the third yr of what’s proving to be an especially well-liked Supreme collaboration. It doesn’t harm that rappers like Drake and Travis Scott are giving the brand’s iconic arm patch a ton of publicity to people who would usually by no means see it.
The rap scene has taken to the label in such a manner that A$AP Nast and Travis Scott even had a bit of online beef over it. Seeing American rappers argue over who found Stoney first is a cultural mindfuck of hilarious proportions – type 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 across the Atlantic, we thought we’d take the chance to coach our American readers on the brand’s rich background, and its importance in UK fashion.
“Stone Island is steeped in history, culture and sensible design,” Ollie Evans of Too Hot Limited informed me. Ollie is a London-primarily based reseller of archive Stone Island gear, and has been dealing vintage pieces from the brand for years. He first encountered Stoney approach again in 1999, when the Birmingham City Zulu agency (a agency being a crew of hardcore soccer fans) was carrying it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe for the reason that very beginning,” Ollie defined. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the ’80s – their model was very much inspired by ’50s Americana, but combined with sporty Italian designer labels. It was around this interval that British football fans, following their groups to European Cup games, began bringing again some of these similar labels to put on on terraces within the UK, appropriating the Paninaro look and building their very own subculture round it.”
It’s inconceivable to talk about Stone Island without mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard soccer supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels that emerged within the UK within the ’80s. Moderately than carrying their team’s colours like earlier generations of hooligans, casuals selected to avoid attention from the police and rival corporations by flaunting flashy designer labels as a substitute.
“These brands have been initially very onerous to source and solely accessible in Europe, so a tradition of one-upmanship emerged with guys trying to outdo one another with rarer, costlier and extra modern pieces. Stone Island fitted perfectly into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral a part of what is named casual tradition.”
Stone Island suited the casual movement’s tastes completely – it’s costly, visually putting and the brand’s arm patch permits followers to identify each other without drawing undesirable attention. 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 all places from Middlesborough to Moscow.
These days, though, the brand has grown beyond just casuals and will be present in powerful, internal-metropolis neighborhoods throughout the country – particularly in London – and to many, the brand’s iconic arm patch is a raw expression of butch masculinity. The grime scene has taken to it in an enormous method – which might be how Drake discovered the brand, given his newfound fondness for the style and his close links with Skepta and Boy Higher Know.
Whereas the label can be forever related (to an extent) with robust-man hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the top of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing technology and innovative fabrics. “It’s almost a cliche to discuss innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie defined. “They are – and always have been – constantly pushing the boundaries of garment expertise, creating product that’s recent and that no one else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments since the ’80s, approach earlier than anyone else.”
It’s simple to see how Stone Island’s high-tech, military-inspired design language resonates with the extra macho, masculine end of the menswear market. “It’s an actual boy’s brand.” Ollie added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket changes color! This one’s reflective! This one’s fabricated from stainless steel! It’s an actual tradition of one-upmanship and attempting to look higher than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its putting aesthetic and commitment to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who based the model in 1982, to run alongside his other brands CP Firm and Boneville. Osti left Stone Island in 1995 to found Massimo Osti Productions and Left Hand, before passing away in 2005.
“Massimo Osti set the blueprint for Stone Island and his legacy still informs the place it is as we speak. He’s the man who introduced us reflective jackets, colour-altering heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protective jackets, reversible jackets, twin-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all ideas that are actually commonplace, and i guarantee that every major trend home on this planet has a few of his work of their archive someplace.”
In reality, Supreme’s ongoing collaboration with Stoney options many homages to Osti’s work. “I’m a huge fan of Osti’s ’80s and early ’90s designs, so it’s implausible to see that work referenced again within the Supreme collaborations,” Ollie continued. “The marina-model 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 very fascinating time for each Stone Island and Supreme. The two brands have come a good distance from their roots, and find themselves treading unfamiliar floor. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic viewers that has little or no data of the brand’s historical past, innovation and cultural significance – only a few co-indicators from rappers and a collaboration with the most hyped streetwear model on the planet.
Supreme, in distinction, is attracting an increasingly younger audience that has much much less understanding of the brand’s historical past and irreverent, counter-cultural tendencies. Both Supreme and Stone Island face the identical challenge: learn how to develop into new areas and attract a larger audience, while preserving their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s challenge, Too Scorching Limited, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside items from different terrace informal favorites, like Polo Ralph Lauren, C.P. Firm (Massimo Osti’s first label), Prada Sport (the Italian luxurious house’s transient foray into sportswear), Iceberg and Burberry. Too Hot additionally affords a glimpse again in time through its in-home editorials, which serve as wistful tributes to the flashy, designer label gear that was all the fashion in the UK in the ’90s and ’00s.