What began as two separate words on the page of a Joseph Conrad novel has grown into one of the world’s most infamous experimental fashion houses. From Stone Island’s earliest days, Massimo Osti drew a line in the sand, which he would constantly bend and tinker with until the line was obsolete.
Stone Island began as an ode to military styling. The brand’s staple attachment to most garments is their badge, which hangs with pride off of two buttons on the left side of the majority of pieces. The badge itself represented the ranks within a military, with the compass paying homage to Osti’s love for travel and the brand’s desire to explore at all times.
During its inception, Stone Island stood for the military angle of Osti’s design process while his initial brainchild, C.P. Company, maintained its sportswear look. However, through the years, the brands have slowly blended together, although C.P. maintains a more rugged, military look overall.
Today, Stone Island fans range from football hooligans and streetwear lovers to die-hard O.G’s who can tell you exactly how garments change from season to season. Nonetheless, you would be hard-pressed to find a fashion label which attracts such a vast group of followers. Below is a list of five of the most influential and important pieces from Stone Island’s entire
catalogue. With the label celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, continuing reading to find out exactly what makes Stoney so special.
One of the seven original Tela Stella jackets
It’s difficult to describe the feeling of Tela Stella, and honestly, I won’t even attempt to. The material is derived from military truck tarpaulins, as Rivetti explained above. However, Stone Island furthered the materials unique qualities by rigorously studying and testing the material’s compatibility with dye. Tela Stella is a cotton canvas which has been “impregnated” on both sides with special pigmented resins in contrasting colours. The garment is then finished in an enzyme wash, which applies a washed look to the colour of the garment. This also helps break down the material’s density, allowing for further movement when worn on the body.
When you’re wearing one of the original Tela Stella jackets, you’re wearing a piece of history. What came after this jacket was a decades-long pursuit of being innovative every single season. How did they stay innovative? By consistently trying to dye the undyeable, treat the untreatable and release garments designers wouldn’t dare dream of.
Ice Knit Thermo Sensitive Knit Sweater
First and foremost, the sweater on its own is stunning. It was released in ivory/anthracite, emerald/military green and yellow/orange, with the last one being my favourite of the lot. Stoney went for a rather thick knit gauge to meld two different knit constructions together. The brand is very, very well known for its knits. The quality and craftsmanship are unmatched by other competitors. Ask any employee at any location globally, and they will tell you that their knit sweaters are the best choice regardless of the season. The outer face is the thermosensitive side which changes colour dramatically when exposed to the cold. However, the guts of the sweater are simply wool, making the wearing experience a bit more comfortable.
Brands like Liquidwrld, Supreme and Palace have all attempted iterations of thermosensitive technology, but none of them have the same snap as Stone Island. The brand was a pioneer in this technology, somehow finding a way to make the material just the right amount of reactive. Make it not reactive enough, and people have trouble making the sweater “work.” Or, make it too reactive, and you have people getting hot, and, well, you can assume the rest. This piece has been a grail for not only Stone Island fiends, but for your everyday streetwear lover as well. Pair the revolutionary technology with Stone Island’s already rebellious image, and you have the perfect storm.
Cotton Ripstop OVD Garment Dyed Overshirt
Picking an overshirt for this was beyond difficult. However, this overshirt encapsulates the Stone Island DNA from its basic skeleton to the advanced dying technique which is found on the piece. From a design standpoint, every detail on this jacket is classic Stoney. The zipper is often a go-to choice from Rivetti in order to give the shirts more of a casual feel. After undergoing a custom dye treatment, the badge is dyed in a similar way. In the brand’s ghost collection, we often see the badge dyed to perfectly match the garment itself in order to give it a camouflage look. Usually, this is done in neutral tones like black and white, or in greens and blues. However, here, the badge undergoes its own dying process, showing us just how much the Stone Island team looks at details.
So much of me wanted to find a specific pair for you to indulge in, but honestly, it wouldn’t be worth it. Stone Island cargos, no matter how much they vary, are going to be a staple in your wardrobe. The brand has a very broad selection of cuts, with some pairs leaning towards that slimmer, more athletic look cargo. Where others fit a lot boxier, with more pockets and afar more technical feel.
However, if you’ve ever worn a pair of Stoney cargos or even C.P.’s, you can begin to understand why they often sell out so quickly. The 97% cotton blend is extremely thick and comfortable, making sure you have ample mobility while still creasing and moving where necessary.
F/W 09/10 Kevlar David Parka
The final selection features one of my favourite materials that Rivetti has ever worked with. Kevlar is well known for its heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibres, which are properties that translate well when you’re looking to protect someone inside of the material. Stone Island has found ways to dye this material, sew this material and apply thermosensitive colour-changing technology to this material without fail.
This jacket in particular shows off the mastery behind Stone Island as this kevlar coat is just the outermost layer of a jacket that includes a cotton hood, kevlar trims and wool lining on the interior. When you put the jacket on, you feel as if you’ve put on a ten-pound weighted vest. However, their kevlar coats remain extremely comfortable, although the material itself doesn’t necessarily scream comfort.
The David Parka represents just how crafty Stoney is during the design and dying process. While other companies are fishing for ideas, Stone Island has found a way to seemingly explore the realm of possibility with every material known to mankind. For all we know, Carlo will have us wearing titanium by winter 2024.
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