The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman in the streetwear scene, you notice that there’s a little bit of a one-method cultural dialog happening. Everyone knows American street tradition. Pretty much your entire world wears Jordans and Supreme, listens to Kanye West and drops American stone island shorts junior slang. Streetwear was born within the USA, so the state of affairs is inevitable, actually.
Not too long ago, although, British cultural exports have been gaining traction over within the States. Drake and Skepta are greatest mates now, Palace Skateboards is approaching Supreme ranges of hype and some of my New York counterparts have even started saying “ting” on Instagram.
The newest development 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, 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 known – lately opened an LA flagship, and is in the third yr of what’s proving to be an especially widespread Supreme collaboration. It doesn’t damage 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 approach 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 – type 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 wealthy background, and its importance in UK fashion.
“Stone Island is steeped in history, culture and good design,” Ollie Evans of Too Scorching Restricted advised 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 means back in 1999, when the Birmingham Metropolis Zulu firm (a firm being a crew of hardcore soccer followers) was wearing it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe for the reason that very starting,” Ollie defined. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the ’80s – their fashion was very much inspired by ’50s Americana, but mixed with sporty Italian designer labels. It was around this interval that British football followers, following their teams to European Cup games, began bringing back a few of these same labels to wear on terraces within the UK, appropriating the Paninaro look and building their very own subculture around it.”
It’s inconceivable to discuss Stone Island with out mentioning terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard soccer supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels that emerged within the UK in the ’80s. Quite than sporting their team’s colours like previous generations of hooligans, casuals chose to keep away from attention from the police and rival corporations by flaunting flashy designer labels instead.
“These brands had been initially very laborious to source and solely obtainable in Europe, so a culture of 1-upmanship emerged with guys making an attempt to outdo one another with rarer, costlier and extra progressive pieces. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The model is an integral part of what is called informal culture.”
Stone Island suited the casual movement’s tastes completely – it’s costly, visually striking and the brand’s arm patch permits fans to establish each other without drawing undesirable attention. Stoney’s id is, whether or not the brand likes it or not, inextricably tied to hooliganism, and you’ll find that compass patch on terraces and football grounds all over the place from Middlesborough to Moscow.
Nowadays, though, the model has grown beyond just casuals and may be present in tough, interior-metropolis neighborhoods across the country – significantly 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 way – which might be how Drake discovered the model, given his newfound fondness for the style and his close hyperlinks with Skepta and Boy Higher Know.
While the label might be forever associated (to an extent) with powerful-man hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the tip 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 – continuously pushing the boundaries of garment know-how, creating product that’s contemporary and that nobody else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments for the reason that ’80s, means earlier than anyone else.”
It’s simple to see how Stone Island’s high-tech, army-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 coloration! This one’s reflective! This one’s manufactured from stainless steel! It’s an actual culture of 1-upmanship and trying 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 Company and Boneville. Osti left Stone Island in 1995 to discovered Massimo Osti Productions and Left Hand, before passing away in 2005.
“Massimo Osti set the blueprint for Stone Island and his legacy nonetheless informs where it’s immediately. He’s the man who brought us reflective jackets, color-altering heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protecting jackets, reversible jackets, twin-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all ideas that are actually commonplace, and i assure that every main style home on the earth has some of his work in their archive someplace.”
In 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 incredible to see that work referenced again 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 attention-grabbing time for both Stone Island and Supreme. The 2 brands have come a good distance from their roots, and discover themselves treading unfamiliar floor. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic audience that has little or no knowledge of the brand’s history, innovation and cultural significance – just some co-indicators from rappers and a collaboration with essentially the most hyped streetwear model on the planet.
Supreme, in distinction, is attracting an more and more younger viewers that has a lot much less understanding of the brand’s historical past and irreverent, counter-cultural tendencies. Both Supreme and Stone Island face the identical challenge: the way to grow into new areas and appeal to a bigger viewers, while retaining their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s mission, Too Hot Restricted, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside pieces from different terrace informal favorites, like Polo Ralph Lauren, C.P. Company (Massimo Osti’s first label), Prada Sport (the Italian luxurious house’s brief foray into sportswear), Iceberg and Burberry. Too Hot additionally affords a glimpse back in time through its in-home editorials, which serve as wistful tributes to the flashy, designer label gear that was all the rage within the UK in the ’90s and ’00s.