Stone Island is one of the best known brands in mens designer sports and technical wear. In the past they have been associated with the football casuals culture but the brand are quick to disassociate themselves from the movement. Their history of garment dyeing and fabric research is one of the most in depth you will encounter and it is that which defines the brand. Speak to any knowledgable retailer and they will explain to you the brand’s history and why it is revered by many, attracting collectors and connoisseurs of the brand.
The Stone Island family have deep roots in the clothing industry, back in the 19th century like father like son took to textiles like a duck to water. Giuseppe Rivetti – son of Giovanni Battista was the first carding machine operator in the Italy at that time and this passion for textiles was inherited by his son. In order for him to continue in his father’s footsteps he needed to raise funds for his very own wool factory, so set about selling the family cattle secretly to pay for new looms to carry on the business. In 1872 he opened his own wool factory, it wasn’t till much later in the 1920’s that other members of the family came together to join forces in this family business. It was Uncle Pinot in particular that was sent to lead the company and it was his unique ideas for rubberising woollen fabrics to increase their properties and performances. It was these ideas that have carried through the brand to this very day, with the spirit of innovation and the passion for research they are always pushing the boundaries of what they can do. They strongly believes that the future of clothing is in sportswear and informal wear. The Stone Island collections strongly referenced a military style and the badge that made the brand famous was inspired by military stripes and insignia. The infamous compass on the badge symbolised “the love for the sea and an aim for constant research”.
In 1994 whilst on a buying trip in Munich Carlo Rivetti stumbled upon a small German brand. This was about the time when he was looking for a new creative director for the company. Paul Harvey was the English designer behind the brand and after contacting him regarding joining and fronting the designing for the company Paul joined the team ind 1996 and was made the creative director. Paul designed with Stone Island for twenty four collections. In this time he did not try to change the brand, but consistently evolved and researched new ideas, it was this that always set the company apart from other companies, and this is still true today. After the parting of twelve wonderful years working together with Paul it was time again to find a new creative director. This time it was apparent that times had changed and it was time to radically change things. It was no longer the drive for a one man team but to be multicultural in order to truly be contemporary. Stone Island’s view on this was to “Create a team of several minds and several visions to face all aspects of a world that is gradually becoming more and more fragmented and difficult to interpret: and this has been Stone Island from 2008 till today”.
The drive and dedication that continually goes into the fabric research has resulted in some exclusive word-wide fabrics for Stone Island:
- Raso Gommato – A waterproof and rubberised military cotton satin
- Nylam – A waterproof, nylon jersey that is laminated to semi-stretch nylon webbing
- Monobava II (A 4 ply water resistant shell lining. The inner lay is a mono filament nylon netting with a polyurethane coated finish to each sid
At any one time, up to 6 colours might be used in the dyeing process of one single garment. One particular research feature into functionality and use in garments resulted in the investigation of over 40,000 pieces of military and workwear. This gives you an insight into the extent of the value that Stone Island puts on research and design.
Stone Island Badges
One of the most important elements of a Stone Island product is the removable badge, normally found on the left arm of your upper body garment. Depending on the product you are viewing you might notice some differences between the badge as well as the price point. The standard most commonly recognised badge is the yellow and green compass rose badge (below left). This is on most pieces from each seasons collections and represent the lower priced items. The Ghost pieces such as the Stone Island Ghost Ventile jacket are designed with a camouflage element in mind and are the same colour as the jacket that it adorns (below middle). Each badge on these pieces is created to blend in with the product, as is the stitching and buttons and offers this ‘ghost’ effect. Then there is the White compass badge. This badge is seen on the more limited edition pieces. Often known as the ‘champagne pieces’ from the collections, these jackets are often priced up at a higher price point than the others. However what you are getting is a jacket that is not produced in vast numbers and will more than likely become a collectors piece in years to come, probably holding it’s value if not increasing it.
Celebrities Wearing Stone Island
Over the course of the past few years a number of celebrities have been spotted wearing clothing from the brand. Some of the most notable include Drake, Oasis legend Noel Gallagher, footballer Darren Fletcher, Bez from the Happy Mondays and star of TV and film Russell Tovey. Tovey in particular is a real supporter of the brand and on his Twitter feed (@russelltovey) you will see a selection of photos where he is sporting a number of pieces from Stone Island.
Stone Island Headquarters Tour Video
In this unique video, Carlo Rivetti opens the door to the Stone Island empire and allows the public a sneak peek at the research and experimentation that goes on behind the scenes. It offers a fascinating glance into how the brand operates behind closed doors.
Browse this seasons full range of Stone Island clothing