The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you discover that there’s a little bit of a one-method cultural conversation happening. Everybody is aware of American road tradition. Pretty much all the 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 in the States. Drake and Skepta are best mates now, Palace Skateboards is approaching Supreme ranges of hype and a few of my New York counterparts have even began saying “ting” on Instagram.
The newest improvement in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s rapidly picking up steam over within the States. It could also be Italian in origin, however the brand, and its unmistakeable compass emblem, has been an inescapable part of UK street style 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 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 normally by no means see it.
The rap scene has taken to the label in such a means that A$AP Nast and Travis Scott even had a 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 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 opportunity to educate our American readers on the brand’s wealthy background, and its importance in UK fashion.
“Stone Island is steeped in historical past, culture and good design,” Ollie Evans of Too Hot Restricted advised 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 means again in 1999, when the Birmingham City Zulu firm (a agency being a crew of hardcore football followers) was wearing 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 style was very a lot inspired by ’50s Americana, but combined with sporty Italian designer labels. It was round this interval that British football followers, following their groups to European Cup games, began bringing back some of these same 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 discuss Stone Island without mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard soccer supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels that emerged within the UK in the ’80s. Reasonably than sporting their team’s colours like previous generations of hooligans, casuals chose to keep away from consideration from the police and rival companies by flaunting flashy designer labels instead.
“These brands had been initially very onerous to supply and solely accessible in Europe, so a culture of 1-upmanship emerged with guys making an attempt to outdo one another with rarer, dearer and extra modern items. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral part of what is called informal culture.”
Stone Island suited the casual movement’s tastes completely – it’s costly, visually hanging and the brand’s arm patch permits fans to determine each other without drawing undesirable attention. Stoney’s id is, whether or not the model likes it or not, inextricably tied to hooliganism, and you’ll find that compass patch on terraces and soccer grounds in all places from Middlesborough to Moscow.
These giacca uomo stone island days, although, the model has grown beyond just casuals and can be present in robust, inside-metropolis neighborhoods throughout the country – 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 method – which might be how Drake discovered the model, given his newfound fondness for the style and his shut hyperlinks with Skepta and Boy Higher Know.
While the label shall be forever related (to an extent) with powerful-guy hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the top of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing technology and innovative fabrics. “It’s virtually a cliche to speak about innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie defined. “They are – and always have been – continually pushing the boundaries of garment know-how, creating product that’s contemporary and that no one else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments for the reason that ’80s, method earlier than anyone else.”
It’s easy to see how Stone Island’s high-tech, navy-inspired design language resonates with the extra macho, masculine finish of the menswear market. “It’s a real boy’s brand.” Ollie added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket changes coloration! This one’s reflective! This one’s product of stainless steel! It’s an actual culture of one-upmanship and trying to look higher than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its striking aesthetic and dedication to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who founded the brand 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 at this time. He’s the man who brought 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 now commonplace, and that i guarantee that each main vogue home on the planet has some 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 incredible to see that work referenced once more within the Supreme collaborations,” Ollie continued. “The marina-fashion 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 interesting time for both Stone Island and Supreme. The 2 manufacturers have come a good distance from their roots, and discover themselves treading unfamiliar ground. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic viewers that has little or no data of the brand’s history, innovation and cultural significance – just some co-signs from rappers and a collaboration with essentially the most hyped streetwear brand on the planet.
Supreme, in distinction, is attracting an more and more 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 problem: easy methods to develop into new areas and entice a bigger viewers, while keeping their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s mission, Too Scorching Restricted, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside pieces from different terrace casual favorites, like Polo Ralph Lauren, C.P. Company (Massimo Osti’s first label), Prada Sport (the Italian luxurious house’s temporary foray into sportswear), Iceberg and Burberry. Too Sizzling additionally presents 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 within the UK within the ’90s and ’00s.