The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you notice that there’s a bit of a one-method cultural dialog happening. Everyone is aware of American avenue tradition. Pretty much 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.
Lately, although, 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 most recent growth in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s rapidly choosing up steam over within the States. It could also be Italian in origin, but the model, and its unmistakeable compass emblem, has been an inescapable a part of UK street model for decades.
Stone Island – or “Stoney” as it’s affectionately identified – recently opened an LA flagship, and is within the third year of what’s proving to be a particularly in style 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 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 coach our American readers on the brand’s rich background, and its importance in UK type.
“Stone Island is steeped in history, tradition and good design,” Ollie Evans of Too Scorching Limited instructed me. Ollie is a London-based reseller of archive Stone Island gear, and has been dealing vintage items from the brand for years. He first encountered Stoney manner back in 1999, when the Birmingham City Zulu agency (a firm being a crew of hardcore football fans) was sporting it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe because the very starting,” Ollie explained. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy within the ’80s – their model was very a lot impressed 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 unimaginable to discuss Stone Island with out mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard football supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels that emerged in the UK within the ’80s. Quite than wearing their team’s colors like earlier generations of hooligans, casuals selected to keep away from consideration from the police and rival firms by flaunting flashy designer labels as a substitute.
“These brands had been initially very exhausting to supply and only accessible in Europe, so a culture of one-upmanship emerged with guys attempting to outdo each other with rarer, more expensive and more modern pieces. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral a part of what is called casual tradition.”
Stone Island suited the informal movement’s tastes completely – it’s expensive, visually putting and the brand’s arm patch allows followers to identify one another without drawing unwanted consideration. Stoney’s id is, whether the brand likes it or not, inextricably tied to hooliganism, and you’ll discover that compass patch on terraces and football grounds in all places from Middlesborough to Moscow.
Nowadays, although, the model has grown past simply casuals and could be present in tough, internal-metropolis neighborhoods across the nation – particularly 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 a giant way – which might be how Drake found the brand, given his newfound fondness for the style and his close links with Skepta and Boy Better Know.
Whereas the label might be forever related (to an extent) with powerful-guy hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the end of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing technology and innovative fabrics. “It’s nearly a cliche to discuss innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie explained. “They are – and blue stone island shorts at all times have been – constantly pushing the boundaries of garment expertise, creating product that’s contemporary and that no one else would even think of. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments because the ’80s, manner before anybody else.”
It’s simple to see how Stone Island’s high-tech, army-inspired design language resonates with the more macho, masculine finish of the menswear market. “It’s an actual boy’s model.” Ollie added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket changes shade! This one’s reflective! This one’s fabricated from stainless steel! It’s a real tradition of one-upmanship and trying to look better than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its hanging aesthetic and dedication to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who founded the model in 1982, to run alongside his different brands CP Firm 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 still informs the place it is in the present day. He’s the man who brought us reflective jackets, shade-altering heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protective jackets, reversible jackets, dual-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all ideas that at the moment are commonplace, and that i guarantee that each major trend house on the planet has some of his work of their archive somewhere.”
The truth is, 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 incredible to see that work referenced once more 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 really interesting time for each Stone Island and Supreme. The 2 manufacturers have come a great distance from their roots, and find themselves treading unfamiliar ground. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic viewers that has very little information of the brand’s history, innovation and cultural significance – just some co-signs from rappers and a collaboration with probably the most hyped streetwear brand on the planet.
Supreme, in contrast, is attracting an increasingly youthful audience 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 right way to grow into new areas and attract a bigger audience, whereas maintaining their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s venture, Too Scorching Limited, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside items from other terrace informal 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 additionally affords a glimpse again in time via its in-home editorials, which serve as wistful tributes to the flashy, designer label gear that was all the craze in the UK within the ’90s and ’00s.