In 1982, from the genial mind of Massimo Osti, with a set made using a special fabric, Tela Stella, usually used for the roofs of trucks, and with a special treatment, resin finish. 7 jackets in all declined in 6 different bicolor items. It was a really innovative project, and was immediately a terrific success. I joined the corporate a year later.
_What is the secret of a brand with such a robust identity?
Stone Island has had a special gift since its very inception, that of being able to speak with the top consumer. It was the early 1980s and this was the start of the emergence of the first generation of consumers fascinated by fashion, attentive to the product; it was the era when the youth scene in Milan really took off. Since then, an exquisite relationship has been developed based upon mutual respect and an excessive amount of integrity, without compromise. Today, brands open as much as a plethora of licences and start producing unthinkable things. Stone Island has always remained true to itself, without concessions. And so we now have been capable of rejuvenate our target market of consumers; we reach out both to our historical customers, those who have faithfully stayed with us for thirty years, but also to the younger crowd, to the new generations of today.
_Can it’s said that Stone Island is a cult brand?
It gives me great pleasure to say that our Facebook page has more than 100,000 followers. The hard-core fans are in England, Holland and other North European countries, and our supporters in Germany are also growing in number. However the attachment the English should Stone Island is astounding: when I am feeling down, I always go there, they ask for my autograph, they ask me to carry their children it’s incredible.
_After three decades of fashion and research, what does Stone Island have left to say?
We haven’t said anything yet! For me, research is an infinite field, also because through research, you meet other researchersAt this historic time, doing research just isn’t easy; with all of the difficulties the Italian fashion industry is facing, fewer and fewer companies are doing it, and instead they come to us. Stone Island has still got so much to say, for instance, for the next two years we now have already developed strong content for our new collections. We now have some amazing rabbits to tug out of the hat. Our creative team is split between Milan and Ravarino, within the province of Modena, moving from what we call the “thinkingstage to creation of the garment. The Stone Island creative team comes from all over the world, from Mexico, Germany, Englandwe’re multicultural, with many alternative experiences behind us. We are a bit like a brigade of chefs, each specialising in a certain course, considered one of us the starter, one the main…and then there’s me, I’d be the pinnacle chef.
_Why choose an exhibition to tell of your 30 year history?
Because it’s consistent with our way of thinking. A party would have been upon invite, a closed event, instead we would like to communicate with the world. It’s a format according to our way of speaking. We want to bring our end customers to visit the exhibition, and what they may see is essentially the most Stone Island thing that exists. For the exhibition, initially we thought about a chronological journey through the years but instead the two curators Simon Foxton and Nicholas Griffiths created a journey through technological treatments, by the forms of interventions on the fabrics. And I think that this was the precise choice; it’s a language that I know very well, since I’m from Biella and, as they are saying where I come from, I used to be “brought up on bread and yarn Perhaps more yarn than bread!
_What is the connection between Stone Island and Made in Italy?
Our consumers world wide know all too well that Stone Island is an Italian product, because they’re knowledgeable consumers and so they need to know. Essentially the most part of our products are made in Italy, but for example we now have a garment created in China, the heat-sealed cotton down jacket: it is just made there because there’s an organization in a position to heat-seal the cotton and it’s owned by a German. In this case, we went to find the technology, not for other reasons. I don’t want to come across too presumptuous: Ravarino is close to Maranello, where they produce dreams that travel around the globe, which couldn’t be produced anywhere else on the planet. Stone Island is like Ferrari, rooted in the land. That is an important trait.
_What’s your favourite garment?
Like all football coaches, I don’t wish to talk about the person players. Each piece is a bit of Stone Island history, it gives me special emotions, perhaps because it is linked to a particular personal experience. It becomes difficult to decide on one. For me it’s as though they’re all my children.
_What is the challenge for the long run for Stone Island?
We are increasingly aware that it will be significant to speak to the people, the top consumers, capitalising on the world that’s becoming ever smaller, thanks to the means of communication, the simpler transport links. Because we realise that what we should say, our message, is of true value to the tip consumers.