The History Of Stone Island
Being an Englishman in the streetwear scene, you notice that there’s a little bit of a one-way cultural conversation going on. Everyone is aware of American avenue tradition. Pretty much your entire world wears Jordans and Supreme, listens to Kanye West and drops American slang. Streetwear was born in the USA, so the situation is inevitable, actually.
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 levels of hype and some of my New York counterparts have even started saying “ting” on Instagram.
The newest improvement in streetwear’s romance with British tradition is Stone Island, a label that’s quickly selecting up steam over in the States. It may be Italian in origin, but the brand, 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 – just lately opened an LA flagship, and is within the third yr of what’s proving to be an especially fashionable Supreme collaboration. It doesn’t harm that rappers like Drake and Travis Scott are giving the brand’s iconic arm patch a ton of exposure 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 bit of on-line beef over it. Seeing American rappers argue over who found Stoney first is a cultural mindfuck of hilarious proportions – type 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 across the Atlantic, we thought we’d take the chance 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 Scorching Restricted advised me. Ollie is a London-primarily based reseller of archive Stone Island gear, and has been dealing vintage pieces 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 soccer followers) was sporting it to raves in Birmingham.
“Stone Island has had a cult following in Europe since the very starting,” Ollie explained. “It was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the ’80s – their model was very a lot inspired by ’50s Americana, but combined with sporty Italian designer labels. It was round this interval that British football fans, following their teams to European Cup video games, started bringing again some of these identical labels to wear on terraces in the UK, appropriating the Paninaro look and building their own subculture around it.”
It’s inconceivable to speak about 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. Reasonably than carrying their team’s colors like previous generations of hooligans, casuals selected to keep away from attention from the police and rival companies by flaunting flashy designer labels as an alternative.
“These brands had been initially very hard to supply and solely obtainable in Europe, so a tradition of 1-upmanship emerged with guys making an attempt to outdo each other with rarer, dearer and more revolutionary items. Stone Island fitted completely into this, with their boundary-pushing designs. The brand is an integral a part of what is known as informal tradition.”
Stone Island suited the casual movement’s tastes perfectly – it’s expensive, visually placing and the brand’s arm patch allows followers to establish blue stone island polo shirt each other with out drawing unwanted consideration. blue stone island polo shirt 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 football grounds everywhere from Middlesborough to Moscow.
Nowadays, although, the brand has grown beyond just casuals and could be found in robust, interior-city neighborhoods across the country – notably in London – and to many, the brand’s iconic arm patch is a raw expression of butch masculinity. The grime scene has taken to it in a big approach – which might be how Drake discovered the model, given his newfound fondness for the genre and his shut links with Skepta and Boy Better Know.
While the label might be forever associated (to an extent) with robust-man 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 defined. “They are – and at all times have been – consistently pushing the boundaries of garment know-how, creating product that’s fresh and that nobody else would even consider. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments because the ’80s, approach earlier than anybody else.”
It’s straightforward to see how Stone Island’s excessive-tech, army-inspired design language resonates with the more macho, masculine end of the menswear market. “It’s an actual boy’s brand.” Ollie added. “It’s like, Wow, this jacket changes color! This one’s reflective! This one’s fabricated from stainless steel! It’s an actual culture of one-upmanship and attempting to look higher than your mates.”
Stone Island owes its striking aesthetic and dedication to innovation to its designer Massimo Osti, who based the model in 1982, to run alongside his different brands CP Company 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 nonetheless informs the place it’s at present. He’s the man who introduced us reflective jackets, coloration-changing heat-reactive jackets, polyurethane-lined weather protective jackets, reversible jackets, dual-layer jackets with removable linings. These are all concepts that are now commonplace, and i assure that every main fashion house on the planet has some of his work in their archive somewhere.”
In truth, 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 fantastic 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 very interesting time for both Stone Island and Supreme. The two brands have come a good distance from their roots, and discover themselves treading unfamiliar ground. Stone Island is approaching a transatlantic audience that has very little information of the brand’s historical past, innovation and cultural significance – only a few co-signs from rappers and a collaboration with essentially the most hyped streetwear brand on the planet.
Supreme, in contrast, is attracting an more and more younger viewers 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 develop into new areas and appeal to a larger audience, while keeping their respective credibilities and histories intact.
Ollie’s venture, Too Hot Restricted, stocks archival gems from Stone Island alongside pieces 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 Sizzling also 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 fad in the UK in the ’90s and ’00s.
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