Stone Island: How The Brand Has Evolved Woodhouse Clothing

Stone Island’s brand ethos has been set in stone because the 1980s, but the label’s dedication to research signifies that their collection is always fresh and exciting. With a dedicated global following and a back catalogue of 40,000 unique garments, Stone Island is in a league of its own.

When CEO, Carlo Rivetti, was asked why Stone Island’s brand has remained so strong he said:

STONE ISLAND Stone Island Contrast Stripe Polo Green

“Stone Island has always remained true to itself, without concessions. And so we’ve been able to rejuvenate our target market of consumers; we reach out both to our historical customers, those who’ve faithfully stayed with us for thirty years, but also to the younger crowd, to the new generations of today./p>

While other brands have branched out to incorporate different styles or expanded into unrelated markets, Stone Island has remained focused, with just the label’s continuing research into fabrics and dyes pushing the brand forward.

Stone Island Culture

Ice Jacket Wool Blend in Thermo-sensitive Fabric

If you happen to look back on the last thirty years, the brand began with jackets made from thick truck tarpaulin and continued to create heat-sensitive fabrics and Kevlar designs. It would be hard to foretell what comes next and that’s what makes the brand so exciting to follow.

The strength of the Stone Island, alongside the undeniable style of their clothing, has created a cult following including celebrities comparable to Noel Gallagher, Peter Hook and Chris Lowe. The brand has also been related to football fans and often football hooliganism however the label has been quick to dissociate itself from the latter.

Inside Stone Island

As CEO Carlo Rivetti gives fans a video tour around Stone Island HQ, he describes his dyeing facility as a ‘kitchen Jackets are ‘cookedin 90 140 degrees and ‘recipesare followed to create every shade of colour.

However, to most individuals, Stone Island’s dyeing facility looks more like a chemistry lab. With row upon row of bottles, there’s a splash of nearly every colour imaginable, and with impressive machinery and weighty files of formulas, the ‘Colour Labis evidently a spot for experimentation.

And with so many colours packed into one room, Carlo Rivetti even claims it’s the closest thing to a renaissance painter’s workshop within the 21st century.

Texture and colour are the starting point for each jacket. From there, the designers experiment to create a design that works. Some of their dyeing techniques can cause as much as 50% shrinkage, so getting the design right is a sophisticated process.

Each garment is made from a variety of different fabrics, all of which react to dyeing in a distinct way either in how they absorb colour or shrink during the method. Every jacket is sort of a journey of scientific discovery and with their archive of 20,000 garments on site, you possibly can walk through the history of their experimentation.

Over Thirty Years of Design


In 1982, Stone Island was launched by Massimo Osti, with their Tela Stella range. The brand’s name came from the pages of Joseph Conrad’s novels amidst thousands of words, ‘stoneand ‘islandwere the most commonly occurring, and so the brand was born.

The primary collection was the result of research right into a thick truck tarpaulin, which was resin-treated to be red on one side and blue on the opposite.

1983 1986

Carlo Rivetti joined Stone Island in 1983, already an enthusiastic fan of the brand. By 1984, the collection had evolved to incorporate jumpers, trousers, t-shirts and shirts.

It was also in 1984 that a second signature Stone Island fabric was introduced, Raso Gommato a cotton satin of military origin, with polyurethane coating.

1987 1988

Through research into heat-sealed PVC, Stone Island developed Glazed Silk Light, which is shiny trilobite nylon coated in PVC. The effect was a thick and glazed look.

1989 1991

In 1989, Stone Island launched the ground-breaking Ice Jacket. With the development of a heat-sensitive fabric, Stone Island created a jacket which changed colour with the temperature.

From yellow to blue and from green to white, the Ice Jacket was a truly futuristic concept. Stone Island developed the design further to create patterned jackets which lost their pattern within the cold, becoming icy white with freezing temperatures.

Next, Stone Island developed a highly reflective Japanese fabric, which achieved its luminescent glow through a coating of thousands of micro glass spheres. Inspired by work safety jackets, this collection was extremely eye-catching and was even able to reflect light from very weak sources.

1993 1996

This was a time of great change for Stone Island Massimo Osti left the label and in his place, Englishman, Paul Harvey, joined the team and pushed the research forward.

With an injection of latest ideas, the following few years saw a huge variety of innovative fabrics entering the color Lab. The first was Formula Steel, a nylon canvas bonded to a polyurethane film.

Extensive research also created Oltre, a fine nylon fabric with an ultra-shiny coating.

1997 1998

The research continued at a relentless pace, and in 1997, Stone Island designers applied a Reverse Colour Process technique on the Raso Gommato fabric. First printed in black, the fabric then faded using a corrosion technique to be later over-dyed.

Nylana, a thick nylon canvas used to line tanks, also became part of the gathering during these years.

1999 2001

At the turn of the millennium, the Stone Island design team were incredibly busy. Launching an enormous number of latest fabrics and designs in just two years, including the Pure Metal Shell Silver and Pure Metal Shell Bronze (as shown above). These parkas were created with either 100% stainless steel or 100% bronze metallic mesh, bonded to fabric.

Stone Island’s designers next moved onto a material which is five times stronger than the identical weight in steel: Kevlar. As pictured above, Stone Island found a option to dye this seemingly impossible material through adding a nylon mesh and a polyurethane coating.

Initially designed to be used on aeroplane circuit boards, Stone Island began to use silver spray on their collection of fine polyester jackets, adding a vacuum seal of 100% stainless seal.

The brand also launched their Ventile range, using a military textile which was 100% cotton and developed for British fighter pilot’s overalls within the Second World War.


In 2002, the range continued to expand, with jackets engineered to look flat with a series of folds and seams adding detail.

Another success story from this year was the light Jacket. Continued research perfected the design a white jacket with fibre optic mesh inserts that light up with blue light.

The design team also experimented with various layers of meshes, which revealed the interior construction of the jacket.

2003 2005

Stone Island perfected their Compact Procedure to create extraordinarily dense materials, which are boiled at 130 degrees after which shrink by as much as 50%.

Mussoal Gommata was also launched, developed by laminating ultra-light cotton muslin to a matte polyurethane film.

2006 2007

The David TC Fabric was introduced, consisting of polyester, polyamide and Japanese microfiber, which was then dyed under pressure at 130 degrees.

Developing their portfolio of reflective jackets, Stone Island designed the Antiquated Reflective.

Paul Harvey left Stone Island in 2008 and Carlo Rivetti stepped into his shoes as Artistic Director. And in the identical year, the brand’s association with Aitor Throup was formed, creating the Stone Island Shadow Collection.

2009 2011

Developing on their previous heat-reactive Ice Jacket, Stone Island created a camouflage jacket which loses its pattern in the cold.

The team also developed a new textile: Waxed Ice, which was cotton moleskin containing thermo-sensitive quartz and graphite.

2012 2013

For the S/S season in 2012, Stone Island launched the Prismatic Muslin, a lightweight cotton muslin, which was treated with coloured resins before the fabric was laminated to produce a prism-effect polyurethane film. The fabric can then be double-dyed to create a variety of vibrant colours.

Next, Stone Island created the Hydrophobic Treatment, a process which creates a garment that’s highly water-repellent and environmentally friendly.

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the brand and celebrated with STONEISLAND30, a significant exhibition at Stazione Leopolda in Florence. Alongside the exhibition, three symbolic garments were created to reflect the history of Stone Island, including a re-edition of Tela Stella.

Thirty yearsof research and 40,000 garments later, their current A/W collection reflects this rich history of design. Browse the Stone Island A/W rangeand to see what the brand has to supply this year.

Garment Dyed Crinkle Reps NY

What’s next for the Brand?

With a relentless drive towards creating new colours and materials, Stone Island is a brand always capable of surprise. When asked what the longer term holds, Carlo Rivetti said:

“We get inspired by people, architecture and design. At present we’re currently studying some materials used in the car industry. In the course of the Olympics, the outfits the athletes wear are very technical, which can also be inspirational.

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