Stone Island has been taking the streetwear scene by storm. After opening the doors to its first North American pop-up store in February, and collaborating with Supreme for the fourth year in a row, there really is no stopping the Italian label. With this being said, we thought we’d take the opportunity to educate our readers on the brand’s rich history, and how it evolved from a workwear staple to a streetwear essential.
Established in 1982 by Massimo Osti, Stone Island has been steeped in history, culture, and innovative design. A diffusion line of Osti’s main brand, C.P. Company, Stoney was first adopted by the Paninaro youth in Italy in the 1980s. Shortly after, English football fans, following their teams to European Cup games, began bringing Stone Island pieces to the British Isles, and slowly but surely, the brand was associated with the rebellious hooligan culture.
In the early ’90s, terrace casuals, a subculture of diehard football supporters with a taste for flashy designer labels, began wearing Stone Island rather than their team’s colours as a way to avoid attention from the police and rival groups. The Italian label suited this subculture’s movement’s perfectly, being expensive, visually striking, and unique to the point that members could identify each other without drawing unwanted attention, especially with the brand’s signature compass arm patch that has adorned their pieces since day one.
Decades later, the imprint has expanded beyond the rough and tough neighbourhoods of London, and onto the grime scene, which is probably how Drake discovered the brand, given his newfound fondness for the genre and his close links with Skepta and Boy Better Know. In fact, the Canadian rapper loves Stone Island so much, that he has shared images of his vast collection alongside pictures of Matteo Rivetti, the son of Carlo Rivetti, the label’s Creative Director. He even wore the label for every U.K. date of his recent Boy Meets World tour. Of all the reasons why Stone Island is peaking, Drake wearing it is surely one of them.
While Stoney will forever be associated with hooligans and hip-hop, at the end of the day, the brand is about pushing the boundaries of fabric technology and creating products that no one else would even think of. Stone Island have been producing reflective and heat-reactive garments since the ’80s, and it’s easy to see how their high-tech, military-inspired design language resonates with the more macho, masculine end of the menswear market. Coveted collections such as ‘Shadow Project’, ‘Marina’, and ‘Ghost’ take technical clothing to the next level, and we’re beyond excited to see what innovations the brand will come up with next.