From the elusive Supreme collaboration that sold out in less than 30 minutes to Drake’s frequent donning of the compass emblem, it’s safe to say Stone Island is on everyone’s radar. But Stone Island is not to be confused as street fashion’s latest wave; instead the label is an Italian heritage brand with a cult following that spans generations and countries. Since it’s 1982 founding in Ravarino, Stone Island has used innovation as the founding philosophy, reinventing the concept of casual wear along the way.
In the mid-seventies, Massimo Osti—Stone Island’s founder, art director of the time, and intellectual in his own right—researched thousands of uniforms and pieces of workwear, cataloguing the clothing’s respective functionality characteristics. It was this drive for experimentation and advancement that marked Stone Island’s humble beginnings. Even before the brand had a name, Osti was researching a special material, a thick truck tarpaulin, whose unique feature was that it was resin-treated in red on one side and blue on the other. The prototype was considered too stiff and Osti decided to try to break down the fabric’s structure in water via pumice stones. The result was a surprisingly aesthetically pleasing worn in look, that gave way to a collection of seven jackets cut from the fabric to be named Tela Stella. It was then that Osti decided his project needed a name and for reasons unknown he decided to go with the most commonly occurring words in Joseph Conrad novels.
The two words, obviously being Stone and Island, perfectly conveyed the marine and military feel that made up the DNA of the brand from the first collection on. For our very first Stone Island editorial, we tested the brand’s claim for functionality and style in the harsh weather conditions lakeside in our beloved Windy City. The verdict? Affirmative.