The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you notice that there’s a little bit of a one-way cultural conversation happening. Everybody knows American road culture. Pretty much the entire 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.
Recently, though, British cultural exports have been gaining traction over in the States. Drake and Skepta are greatest 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 most recent improvement in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s quickly choosing 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 part of UK road style for decades.
Stone Island – or “Stoney” as it’s affectionately identified – lately opened an LA flagship, and is within the third 12 months of what’s proving to be a particularly standard 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 normally 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 online beef over it. Seeing American rappers argue over who found Stoney first is a cultural mindfuck of hilarious proportions – kind of like the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales beefing over Biggie and Tupac.
Given the momentum that Stone Island is constructing across the Atlantic, we thought we’d take the chance to coach our American readers on the brand’s rich background, and its significance in UK model.
“Stone Island is steeped in history, culture and sensible design,” Ollie Evans of Too Hot Limited told me. Ollie is a London-based mostly reseller of archive Stone Island gear, and has been dealing vintage pieces from the model for years. He first encountered Stoney approach again in 1999, when the Birmingham Metropolis Zulu agency (a agency being a crew of hardcore soccer fans) 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 within the ’80s – their model was very a lot impressed by ’50s Americana, however mixed with sporty Italian designer labels. It was round this interval that British football followers, following their groups to European Cup games, began bringing back a few of these similar labels to wear on terraces within the UK, appropriating the Paninaro look and building their very own subculture round it.”
It’s not possible to speak about Stone Island with out mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard soccer supporters with a style for flashy designer labels that emerged within the UK within the ’80s. Slightly than wearing their team’s colours like previous generations of hooligans, casuals chose to avoid attention from the police and rival corporations by flaunting flashy designer labels as a substitute.
“These manufacturers were initially very onerous to supply and only available in Europe, so a tradition of one-upmanship emerged with guys attempting to outdo one another with rarer, costlier and extra innovative pieces. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The model is an integral a part of what is known as casual tradition.”
Stone Island suited the casual movement’s tastes perfectly – it’s costly, visually hanging and the brand’s arm patch allows followers to identify one another without drawing undesirable attention. Stoney’s identity 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 everywhere from Middlesborough to Moscow.
These days, although, the brand has grown beyond simply casuals and will be found in powerful, inner-metropolis neighborhoods throughout the country – 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 an enormous method – which might be how Drake discovered the brand, given his newfound fondness for the genre and his shut links with Skepta and Boy Higher Know.
Whereas the label will likely be perpetually associated (to an extent) with tough-guy hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the top of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing know-how and innovative fabrics. “It’s nearly a cliche to discuss innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie explained. “They are – and at all times have been – always pushing the boundaries of garment expertise, creating product that’s fresh and that no one else would even think of. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments because the ’80s, manner earlier than anyone else.”
It’s simple to see how Stone Island’s high-tech, army-impressed 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 colour! This one’s reflective! This one’s made from stainless steel! It’s an actual tradition of one-upmanship and attempting to look better than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its putting aesthetic and dedication to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who founded the model in 1982, to run alongside his other brands CP Company and Boneville. Osti left Stone Island in 1995 to found Massimo Osti Productions and Left Hand, before passing away in 2005.
“Massimo island stone pebbles Osti set the blueprint for Stone Island and his legacy still informs where it is at present. He’s the man who introduced us reflective jackets, coloration-changing heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protecting jackets, reversible jackets, dual-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all concepts that are actually commonplace, and i assure that each main trend house in the world has some of his work in their archive somewhere.”
In reality, 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 unbelievable to see that work referenced again in the Supreme collaborations,” Ollie continued. “The marina-type 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 brands have come a long way from their roots, and discover themselves treading unfamiliar ground. If you have any questions with regards to the place and how to use Official, you can speak to us at our own website. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic viewers that has little or no information of the brand’s historical past, innovation and cultural significance – just a few co-indicators from rappers and a collaboration with essentially 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. Each Supreme and Stone Island face the identical challenge: how to grow into new areas and attract a larger viewers, whereas preserving their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s challenge, Too Hot Limited, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside items from different terrace casual favorites, like Polo Ralph Lauren, C.P. Firm (Massimo Osti’s first label), Prada Sport (the Italian luxury house’s transient foray into sportswear), Iceberg and Burberry. Too Scorching also 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 fad within the UK in the ’90s and ’00s.