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Brand Guide

Stone Island Brand History — Your Ultimate Guide

The History of Stone Island

The Stone Island brand name has many different connotations for many different people; for some, it is inextricably linked with football culture, in particular the casual movement — either in a positive or a negative sense; for others, it has become associated with the grime music scene, and has extended its reach beyond the terraces and onto the streets. But first and foremost, that iconic Compass badge on your sleeve is a symbol of quality, innovation and style — the principles on which the brand as we know it was founded back in 1982.

Stone Island Spring Summer 1983

Stone Island Spring/Summer 1983 Catalogue

Stone Island owner Carlo Rivetti is from a family with long ties to the clothing industry. By the 1980s, though, he had grown restless within the world of formalwear, and sought to diversify into something he found more appealing: sportswear. He and his sister established a firm — the creatively-named Sportswear Company — and scoured Italy looking for companies that shared their vision for innovative casual clothing, where they discovered (and promptly acquired) CP Company. Stone Island itself, however, was conceived almost by accident: Massimo Osti — founder and designer for CP Company, and household name for those in the know about technical sportswear — had conceived a new fabric dubbed Tela Stella, a heavyweight, oilskin-like material impregnated with different pigments on either side, and was determined to make something out of it. He couldn’t find a way to make it fit within CP Company’s collection, however, and so decided to craft a small collection of just seven jackets. In keeping with the military and nautical inspiration behind the Tela Stella fabric, he chose a compass as the logo for his new diffusion line: Stone Island was born.

 

Stone Island and Streetwear: From the Terraces to the Streets

Moving forward from this inauspicious start, Osti pushed ahead with fabric innovation, endlessly researching new textiles and ways to implement them, coming up with often outlandish, off the wall fabrics that no-one else had even thought of: heat-reactive weaves; nylon fabric laminated with hundreds of glass beads to change the colour in different angles; earth-dyed, acid-corroded canvas. This over-the-top approach, along with the masculine, military styling of the brand’s offerings was a large part of ‘Stoney’s’ appeal to the football casual crowd: fans travelling abroad for away and international games were always on the lookout for new and exciting garments to bring home and show off. Stone Island, with the one-off and unique nature of a lot of Osti’s fabrics, fit perfectly into this culture of one-upmanship, and the brand’s popularity was cemented from then on.

Because of this association with the hyper-masculine world of football casuals, the brand’s enduring legacy has been as a symbol of manliness. In more recent years, it has been adopted by inner-city kids in the UK as a status symbol, and in turn became associated with the grime music scene. Buoyed up by high-profile collaborations with streetwear giants Supreme and Nike, the brand’s appeal has diversified beyond connoisseurs and collectors, particularly across the Atlantic. Urban music superstars like Drake, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott have all embraced the ‘Stoney’ look of late, skyrocketing interest in a brand that was previously alien to those not living in Europe, and launching its appeal to a whole new generation of streetwear fans.

Stone Island Fabrics: Continuing Innovation

These days, far from being helmed by a single visionary like Massimo Osti or later designer Paul Harvey, Carlo Rivetti has assembled a team of designers to better embrace its newfound worldwide popularity and the diversity of its fanbase, stating “It [is] necessary to be multicultural in order to be truly contemporary … I felt that in this era it is this possible to face all aspects of a world only with several minds and several visions.”

Stone Island Heat Reactive Jacket Details

Stone Island Heat Reactive Jacket

This ethos has lead to the continuation of the innovation and research that Massimo Osti started all those years ago, and Stone Island holds its reputation for using unusual and technologically-advanced fabrics and finishes. Some recent examples:

  • Micro Reps: Stone Island Micro Reps is one of the brand’s staple fabric constructions. A classic nylon, the warp and weft fibres are of different thicknesses, allowing for a much tighter weave than a traditional nylon fabric. This not only provides natural weather resistance, but serves as the ideal base for the brand’s garment dyeing experiments.
  • Nylon Metal: We’ve written about this one before: nylon fibres with an irregular structure are woven as grey weft and white, ready to dye warp threads, and undergo an elaborate double-dyeing process to produce a fabric that has an iridescent sheen in different lighting conditions. This can produce a subtle three-dimensional effect, or be used with bright, contrasting colours to provide some pretty wild results.
  • Tank Shield: Crafted from matte polyester fabric, the whole jacket is first assembled and then internally laminated with overlapping panels of a weatherproof, breathable membrane, giving superior weather resistance and a near-seamless look.
  • Heat Reactive: A highly limited capsule, the Stone Island Heat Reactive jacket from SS19 was a cotton ripstop construction, printed all over with a three-colour fractal camo design in a heat reactive pigment. As the wearer’s body heat warmed the fabric, the pattern became brighter and more prominent, also revealing a large Stone Island logo to the back.

This is just a tiny fraction of the scope of the brand’s vision: the brand’s own historical archive consists of over 7000 pieces, while their research archive is larger still, at over 40,000 items of vintage sportswear and militaria.

Stone Island BadgesStone Island Badge

Aside from the high-end fabrics and construction, perhaps the most important element of a Stone Island product is the removable badge, normally found on the left side of the garment, with the Marina collection breaking the mould and not featuring the badge at all, instead opting for bold text printing.  There are a number of different versions of the badge which denote different aspects of the brand. The standard, most commonly recognised badge is the yellow and green compass rose badge (above left). Despite switching from a green border to a black one, the classic badge has remained unchanged since the brand’s inception, and is a tribute to both the military inspiration of the brand and the sense of adventure and exploration driving Osti’s research.

There are a number of monochromatic badges (above centre) that were originally used for what the brand dubbed Ghost Pieces: with fully tonal designs in a variety of colours, including black, red and white, they were conceived as a kind of modern camouflage, allowing the wearer to blend in while still keeping the unmistakeable Stone Island aesthetic. More recently, the tonal black badge has been used to denote pieces from the Shadow Project diffusion line: combining Stone Island’s technical fabric expertise with directional, futuristic designs from ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh.

The White Compass badge (above right) is seen on limited edition pieces, often known as ‘Champagne Pieces’ because of the colour of the badge. These jackets often use even more innovative fabrics and construction that can only be created in small quantities, and are often at a higher price point to the normal line, due to the limited nature of their production. Of course, the flipside of this limited aspect is that the pieces become collectors items in years to come, holding their value for a lot longer than others, if not increasing it.

Celebrities Wearing Stone Island

Drake Wearing Stone Island with Carlo Rivetti

Drake with Stone Island owner Carlo Rivetti

The Weeknd Wearing Stone Island

The Weeknd in Supreme x Stone Island

As mentioned above, Stone Island has been spotted on more and more celebrities recently. One of the more high-profile representatives of the brand has been music superstar Drake, who seems to wear the brand almost exclusively these days, even going so far as to have custom pieces made for his Boy Meets World tour. Drizzy is joined in his love for Stoney by fellow Canadian star The Weeknd, who was recently spotted wearing pieces from the Supreme x Stone Island collaboration (for extra streetwear kudos), as well as rap mainstays Kanye West and Travis Scott.

Jason Statham Wearing Stone Island

Jason Statham in Stone Island

 

 

 

 

Back over in Blighty, grime artists are often spotted sporting the Compass, including Tinie Tempah and Skepta, while Hollywood hardman Jason Statham is another of the brand’s high profile fans.

 

 

 

 

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.

Nike-Air-Max-270

The Future Is Now: Nike Air Max 270

Since its release around this time last year, the Nike Air Max 270 has earned itself quite the reputation. Having been dressed in countless colour combinations, topped sales charts and took on a variety of materials and fabrics, the trainers mark the coming of a new generation of Air Max that’s spearheaded by the unrelenting advancements in on foot-technology and got the old-timers shaking in their pressurised air repositories. Backed up by the likes of the VaporMax and hungry for its spot in the limelight the 270 has not only already earned its spot in the upper echelons of the Air Max ranks but provided the inspirational base material for fellow young guns, such as the 720 and the 270s more outdoorsy sibling, the Bowfin, to follow in its footsteps.

Nike Air Max 270

But, we aren’t here to talk about the Bowfin or the 720, we’re here to tell you about this very nice pair of 270s set to come through our doors very, very soon. Boasting Nike’s biggest air unit to date, this iteration of the instant classic showcases an understated black colourway that acts as the perfect contrasting base layer to amplify the cool blues and sharp whites. Born out of a mish-mash of some of the best elements found evident both in the Air Max 180 and 93, the trainer comes with a knit upper which hugs the shape of the foot and utilises hits of mesh and solid panelling to not only create a streamlined silhouette but retain structure and airflow.

An asymmetrical lacing system helps to enhance the supportive qualities above whilst a dual-density foam sole and aforementioned air unit tucked neatly under the heel give in-step cushioning from below. Finished with garnishes of tasteful branding to the tongue, sides and pull tab, the trainer captures that highly in demand, ultra-technical sporty aesthetic we all can’t seem to get enough of.

Nike Air Max 270

The Nike Air Max 270 is available both in store and online now. Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter for the latest news and information surrounding upcoming drops and releases.

Nike Air Max 270

maison kirsune brand

Maison Kitsune Brand Guide

Maison Kitsune Brand

The worlds of music and fashion have always walked hand-in-hand; for youth subcultures from mods to punks to hip-hop heads, the clothes they wore were of equal importance to the music they listened to. Specific brands and items have even been intrinsically linked with certain musical styles or groups, like skinheads with Dr Martens and Fred Perry, or the Wu-Tang Clan with Clarks Wallabees. But it’s not usual to find a brand that has a direct link to the music industry through its own record label — meet the Maison Kitsune brand.

Founded as a record label in 2002 by the Franco-Japanese duo of Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, Kitsuné branched out into clothing early into its life, delivering its first ready-to-wear collection in 2005 and introducing its very endearing fox logo embroidery. The collision of music and fashion has always been central to the brand’s ethos since its inception. Loaëc had moved from Brittany to Paris to open up a record store, where he got to know regular customers Daft Punk – the world-famous electronic music duo, known as musical tastemakers and eccentric dressers – and eventually became the group’s art director and manager. Kuroki, meanwhile, was more from the design side of the spectrum, moving from Tokyo to Paris at age 12 and graduating as an architect in 1999.

Loaëc and Kuroki knew one another as acquaintances through Loaëc’s record store, but didn’t really become close friends until Loaëc needed a guide for Tokyo during a Japanese trip to oversee the production of Daft Punk’s Interstella 5555, an animé companion piece to their Discovery album. Kuroki came to mind immediately, and during the trip the two bonded over their shared loves of music and fashion, and the concept for Kitsuné – something that would combine music, image and clothing – was born.

Maison Kitsune

Alongside the first ready-to-wear collection, Kitsuné released the first in a series of highly popular and influential compilation albums, showcasing the likes of Hot Chip, Digitalism and the Klaxons long before their mainstream success. Having grown organically since then — and remaining an independent company — the Maison Kitsune label has not only opened 16 boutiques across the world, including Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Honolulu, but also their own Café Kitsuné in Paris and Tokyo, along with plans for a Kitsuné Hotel in Bali, Indonesia cementing the brand’s image as a fully-fledged lifestyle destination.

Kuroki designs the clothing collection, using his architectural background and Japanese influences to create designs that channel classic Parisien chic with a modern approach to preppy style that exudes an air of ineffable cool. Each of the brand’s basic pieces is made in Portugal by small factories that are selected for their artisanal techniques, ensuring that Maison Kitsuné t-shirts and sweatshirts are some of the best you can buy. The brand have also recently expanded their selection to more ready-made cut-and-sew pieces like shirts, trousers and suiting, alongside footwear in collaboration with specialist companies like Pierre Hardy and Brandblack.

Maison Kitsune Logo

Having come this far through their own merits, with a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist and an eye for details, The Maison Kitsune brand is sure to continue to grow from strength to strength. Shop the first drop from Spring/Summer ’19 today at Aphrodite, and look out for more Maison Kitsuné as the year goes on.

Balmain Brand

Balmain Brand Guide

Balmain Brand Guide

One of the most storied houses in fashion history, the Balmain brand is synonymous with luxury, and we are privileged to add the esteemed brand to our roster of the world’s finest menswear this season.

Balmain Leather Bomber Jacket

History of Balmain

The house was established by in Paris in 1945 by Pierre Balmain, the son of a drapery merchant and a man-about-town in Parisien society. After showing just one collection, which was feted by luminaries such as the costume designer Cecil Beaton and intellectual writer Gertrude Stein, the house quickly cemented itself alongside Dior as a force in French fashion. Balmain used his natural charisma to build relationships with his customer base, along with courting interest from further afield, outfitting everyone from Hollywood film stars like Marlene Dietrich, to foreign royals, notably Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who was touring the West at the time.

Balmain Leather Bomber Jacket Details

The Balmain brandwas one of the first labels to adopt this pan-global approach, seeing the potential in the American and Asian markets and tailoring the commercial supply to meet the demand in these areas. After Balmain’s death in 1982, the brand went through a succession of different creative directors, most notably Oscar de la Renta, who helmed the house for the period between 1993 and 2002. Bringing a new personality to the brand, de la Renta leveraged his status as a native New Yorker to bring a metropolitan vibe to the Balmain brand, while still respecting the aesthetic and designs of the house’s founder.

Balmain Tracksuit

Balmain Today

In recent years, the Balmain label has seen a new surge in popularity thanks to young creative director Olivier Rousteing and his social media-savvy persona. The second-youngest person to hold a creative director position in Paris, since 2011 Rousteing has utilised both traditional runway shows and his wealth of Instagram connections to present his vision for the brand. In contrast to Balmain’s classic, understated image, Rousteing injects a sense of youthfulness to the collection, adding a wealth of influences ranging from military uniform, rock-star aesthetics and nods to Asian culture to create something totally unique while still respecting the history of the brand. Having grown his acclaim much in the same way that Pierre Balmain did decades earlier — appealing to a changing global market, while using his own personal charisma to build an enviable list of contacts and customers among the rich and famous — Rousteing is arguably the closest the brand has come to a true successor to its founder, which is reflected in the growing success of the brand.

Balmain Sock Sneakers

Keeping the luxury DNA intact, Rousteing’s Balmain brand is the ideal balance of refined sophistication and rugged masculinity. Key pieces from the collection include the Biker Jacket and Biker Jeans: a formidable combination that elevates these two wardrobe staples into something worthy of fashion royalty. The jacket is crafted from the finest lambskin, buttery-soft to the touch in contrast to its tough-guy looks, playing on the iconic ‘Double Rider’ jackets sported by 50s icons like Marlon Brando and James Dean. The jeans, meanwhile, transfuse the blue-collar staple with an unexpected motorsports influence, reframing panelled motorcycle trousers in sturdy washed Japanese denim for a uniquely textured, three-dimensional look. Supporting these investment pieces are a plethora of essentials like t-shirts and sweats, each given a unique Balmain twist. Displaying a graphic language that’s informed by Rousteing’s influences from the worlds of music, fashion and travel, Balmain t-shirts and other apparel are the perfect way to inject some luxury into your off-duty wear.

Finally, Balmain footwear is the perfect accent to the rest of the collection. Whether looking for a contemporary, chunky sneaker like the Jace, a sleek and sophisticated ankle boot, or something in between like the slip-on Sock Sneakers, the latest lineup of Balmain shoes is some of the strongest ever, all boasting superlative European construction, making them true investment pieces.

Balmain Slides

Dsqured Brand Guide

DSquared2 Brand Guide

A major name in Italian fashion, DSquared2 holds the motto “Born in Canada, Living in London, Made in Italy” which embodies the brand’s history and ethos perfectly. Founded by Canadian identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, the brand’s collections display a wealth of influences from across the globe.
DSquared2 Slim Jeans in Grey

DSquared2 Brand History

The Caten brothers founded the brand in 1995 and, thanks to their dedication to luxurious construction and the irreverent, punk-infused attitude of the clothes, quickly became a favourite among fashionistas and celebrities alike. The brothers capitalised on their growing reputation, forming relationships and connections with their most high-profile and influential customers. This strategy resulted in them working closely with stars like Madonna and Rihanna on collections for the artists’ tours, as well as enlisting them to walk the runway for spectacular shows.
This penchant for spectacle translates to the clothing, with heavily distressed and embellished detailing appearing as a signature throughout the brand’s collections, along with nods to the Caten brothers’ home of Canada with maple leaf and rugged outdoor motifs. DSquared2 jeans in particular are popular for their outlandish styling and exceptional quality. As enshrined in the brand’s motto, all the clothes are made and hand-finished in some of Italy’s finest couture factories, giving the brand a healthy mix of opulent fabrics and rock’n’roll attitude.
DSquared2 Tape Logo Shirt in White
Uniquely, the brand has extended their collaborative stance to outfitting football teams, starting with Juventus in 2006 and more recently with Manchester City. These partnerships showed a more subdued, sophisticated side to the brand, which has started to cross over into the main DSquared2 collection, resulting in a well-balanced, wearable range that still boasts the Caten brothers’ unmistakeable graphic sensibility.

DSquared2 Stockists

DSquared2 Denim Western Shirt

We are proud to be official stockists of a range of DSquared2 t-shirts, jeans and other apparel, welcoming the brand to our list of the world’s finest menswear. Shop the whole range today, and keep an eye on our social media channels for all the latest news and arrivals.

The North Face

Peaks to Pavements – The North Face

It’s fair to say fashion has taken a swerve that no one could have anticipated over the past few years, with even the highest of high-end focusing solely on that of the streetwear trend. We explore a brand whos organic identity had them placed rightfully in the rankings of this megatrend from the offset, by documenting them in their new stomping ground.
The North Face Editorial

The North Face Nuptse Jacket
The North Face Hoodie The North Face Polartec Fleece The North Face HoodieThe North Face Concrete JungleThe North Face Expert Detailing Layering with The North Face The North Face Denali Fleece PantsGround level with The North Face

 

With an assortment of familiar silhouettes and fabrics, The North Face never fail to impress with their ability to give everything a fresh take. In an array of earthy toned fleece, poly and nylon with healthy dashes of camo print and the newly introduced repeat ‘brand mantra’ text, never stop exploring, you can stand out or blend in as you please.

The North Face Nuptse GiletThe North Face Denali Fleece The North Face Denali Fleece in GreenThe North Face classic logo patch The North Face street side

 

 

Saturdays NYC Brand Guide

Co-founded by Colin Tunstall, Morgan Collett and Josh Rosen, Saturdays NYC was founded in 2009 as Saturdays Surf NYC, when the trio discovered that they shared mutual interests including surfing as paramount inspiration. Rather than pigeonhole themselves in an area of financial difficulty in recent years (Quiksilver went bankrupt, alongside its sister brand Roxy, Billabong before that and Rip Curl ran a dangerous line for a number of years looking for a sale) Saturdays ditched the surf from the name and broadened their horizons as a trifecta of New York’s most hyped menswear designers.

Saturdays NYC stemmed from a passion for surfing, art, music and coffee. The trio focused on an organic creative process, looking for inspiration everywhere, each Saturdays store expressing the collective’s intrinsic values such as being decorated with a quirky espresso bar to give a nod to the co-founders’ love for good coffee.

The brand focuses on a minimal, clean aesthetic which is prominent from the brand logo down to the clothing designs. The brand provides staple classic pieces which are ideal for your timeless wardrobe. Ranges of outerwear, shirting, accessories and footwear feature the minimalist look which will always remain stylish. Footwear comes in a range of different styles, from baseball style boots, to slip on and leather trainers, versatile and casual for the laid-back days when you want to kick back in a pair of jeans and a simple cotton t-shirt.

 

Fjällräven Brand Guide

Trust the Swedish to know a thing or two about excellent outdoor gear; with their naturally rough terrain and classically Scandinavian climate, plus the country’s traditional inclination towards a minimal aesthetic, they’re well-positioned to know exactly what to put into clothing to make it work without being overdesigned, and none have been doing it for longer and with more success than Fjällräven.

Named after the Swedish word for the arctic fox, the brand was first conceived in 1960 when a teenage Åke Nordin came up with the idea of a rucksack with an external frame to relieve back pressure. Working in his parents’ home, Nordin honed his idea until it was finally ready: utilising a lightweight aluminium frame, the body of the bag was made from tent material, which was both wind- and water-resistant and highly durable. Over time, the brand developed their own version of this fabric, dubbed G-1000: a 65/35 poly/cotton mix, the fabric refined the properties of the surplus tent fabric into something more supple and easy to wear. The first piece of clothing to use the newly-developed fabric was the now-iconic Fjällräven Greenland Jacket, which quickly became a hit among the fellwalkers, climbers and general outdoor enthusiasts across Europe for its simple, stylish design and utilitarian resistant properties, and was readily identifiable by its distinctive brown leather Arctic Fox patch sewn to the left arm.

Fast-forward to 1978 and Fjällräven has established itself as one of Europe’s go-to outdoor brands for both clothing and accessories. Responding to a report of a rise in back problems among Sweden’s schoolchildren, the brand goes back to its roots to design a better backpack for kids: the Kånken. With its distinctive rectangular shape and canvas Arctic Fox patch, the Kånken remains a hit with kids and adults alike for its comfortable wear, deceptively-spacious capacity and wide selection of colours.

Like many brands who focus on the outdoors, Fjällräven are keenly interested in protecting the environment they love so much: today’s G-1000 fabric utilises recycled polyester and organic cotton, the brand has recently eliminated PFC coatings from its whole range to mitigate any potential harm to the environment, while its supply chain is regulated by the Fair Labor Alliance (FLA), a global organisation to provide fair working conditions and wages across the world. Further, the brand has also donated to initiatives for conservation of its namesake arctic fox, which is under threat from climate change and hunting.

We’re proud to welcome Fjällräven to our selection of the world’s finest menswear brands here at Aphrodite Clothing, and whether you’re after a classic Greenland Jacket, a Kånken backpack or wardrobe essentials like flannel shirts and wool beanies, the leather Arctic Fox mark is your sign of hardwearing quality for years to come.

 

Fred Perry x Raf Simons Brand Guide

The Fred Perry x Raf Simons partnership has been a cornerstone of contemporary fashion since 2008 a partnership of two distinctly European masters.

Bringing impressive and unique collections which collaborate accents of the two brands with a distinctly contemporary touch from the Belgian master to embellish the heritage designs of the British sportswear giants, leading to one of the most unique displays in the designer sports world.

Fred Perry and Raf Simons collections are renowned for their subcultural influence. With a mix of sporty silhouettes, bold prints and minimalism, the designs take in Fred Perry’s effect on punk and DIY music culture, incorporating the ethos into taped seams, off centre embellishments, and a distinctly deconstructed aesthetic. The mixture of European flair and classic British wear has become the overarching theme across now 10 years plus of collaborations gifting the now well-known consistency.

With a 10th anniversary collection behind them, the fire doesn’t look to be going out soon. Themes of counter-cultural resistance, conformity, exclusivity and inclusivism line the idealism of Raf Simons vision and Fred Perry’s heritage. Whilst that doesn’t look to stop soon, don’t expect to see a downturn in production.

THE FIRST COLLECTION IN A NEW DECADE. RAF SIMONS TAKES INSPIRATION FROM HIS OWN LABEL, WITH DESIGNS INSPIRED BY EUROPEAN SUBCULTURE. OVERSIZED SHAPES AND UNEXPECTED DETAILS.

The collection is home to a range of versatile staples, including t-shirts, polos, sweatshirts and hoodies. In particular, the sweatshirts and t-shirts regularly adorn bold geometric patterns filled with vibrant colours to create a distinctive look. Classic Fred Perry pattens find themselves adapted and redesigned for a new wave of creatives.

Shop our collection now at Aphrodite1994