The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman within the streetwear scene, you notice that there’s a bit of a one-way cultural dialog going on. Everyone is aware of American road tradition. Just about the whole world wears Jordans and Supreme, listens to Kanye West and drops American slang. Streetwear was born within the USA, so the scenario is inevitable, actually.
Just lately, though, 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 began saying “ting” on Instagram.
The most recent improvement in streetwear’s romance with British culture is Stone Island, a label that’s rapidly selecting 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 avenue fashion 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 a particularly standard 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 normally 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 on-line beef over it. Seeing American rappers argue over who discovered Stoney first is a cultural mindfuck of hilarious proportions – form 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 coach our American readers on the brand’s wealthy background, and its importance in UK fashion.
“Stone Island is steeped in historical past, culture and sensible design,” Ollie Evans of Too Scorching Restricted informed 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 method again in 1999, when the Birmingham City Zulu firm (a agency being a crew of hardcore football followers) was carrying it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe because the very starting,” Ollie defined. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the ’80s – their fashion was very a lot inspired by ’50s Americana, but combined with sporty Italian designer labels. It was round this period that British football fans, 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 speak 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 in the ’80s. Slightly than sporting their team’s colours like earlier generations of hooligans, casuals chose to keep away from attention from the police and rival corporations by flaunting flashy designer labels as a substitute.
“These brands were initially very onerous to supply and solely out there in Europe, so a culture of 1-upmanship emerged with guys attempting to outdo one another with rarer, dearer and extra revolutionary items. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral part of what is named 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 with out drawing undesirable attention. Stoney’s identity 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 every single place from Middlesborough to Moscow.
Nowadays, though, the model has grown past simply casuals and could be present in powerful, interior-city neighborhoods across the nation – particularly in London – and to many, the stone island reflective jacket replica brand’s iconic arm patch is a uncooked expression of butch masculinity. The grime scene has taken to it in a big way – which might be how Drake found the brand, given his newfound fondness for the style and his shut hyperlinks with Skepta and Boy Better Know.
Whereas the label will be eternally related (to an extent) with powerful-man hooligans and streetwise hood rats, at the end of the day Stone Island is about boundary-pushing expertise and progressive fabrics. “It’s virtually a cliche to talk about innovation in relation to Stone Island,” Ollie explained. “They are – and all the time have been – always pushing the boundaries of garment technology, creating product that’s fresh and that no one else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments for the reason that ’80s, way before anybody else.”
It’s straightforward to see how Stone Island’s excessive-tech, navy-impressed design language resonates with the more macho, masculine finish of the menswear market. “It’s an actual boy’s model.” Ollie Stone Island Trousers added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket adjustments color! This one’s reflective! This one’s manufactured from stainless steel! It’s an actual tradition of 1-upmanship and attempting to look better than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its placing aesthetic and dedication 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, earlier than passing away in 2005.
“Massimo Osti set the blueprint for Stone Island and his legacy still informs where it’s immediately. He’s the man who introduced us reflective jackets, color-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 assure that each major trend home on the planet has some of his work of their archive somewhere.”
In fact, Supreme’s ongoing collaboration with Stoney options many homages to Osti’s work. “I’m an enormous fan of Osti’s ’80s and early ’90s designs, so it’s incredible to see that work referenced once more in 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 attention-grabbing time for each 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 viewers that has very little knowledge of the brand’s history, innovation and cultural significance – just some co-indicators from rappers and a collaboration with the most hyped streetwear model on the planet.
Supreme, in distinction, is attracting an more and more youthful viewers 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: tips on how to develop into new areas and appeal to a bigger viewers, whereas preserving their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s undertaking, Too Hot Restricted, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside pieces from different terrace casual 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 Scorching also presents a glimpse again in time by way of its in-home editorials, which function wistful tributes to the flashy, designer label gear that was all the rage in the UK within the ’90s and ’00s.