In 1982, Massimo Osti of C.P. Company was taken by surprise when a special fabric known as “Tela Stella” arrived at his door. The cloth is typically used to make truck tarpaulins and has a different color on each side. Osti found the fabric interesting but it didn’t fit with what C.P. Company was making at the time. Instead of letting it go to waste, Osti took the Tela Stella and created a collection of seven jackets. The jackets referenced military styles of years past and featured what is now known as the Stone Island badge, a compass symbolizing Osti’s love for the sea. In 1983, Osti teamed up with the one of the new owners of his recently acquired C.P. Company, Carlo Rivetti, who would become CEO and creative director of their latest joint venture: Stone Island.
The Italian brand was off to a steady start in its home country by the mid-’80s but was relatively unknown in what would become its biggest market: the United Kingdom. In 1989, Stone Island released the Ice Jacket, a parka featuring thermo-sensitive coating causing the garment to change color according to the temperature. The jacket was key to Stone Island’s success in the U.K., but Stone Island’s English fans are more commonly tied to “football hooligan” or “casuals” culture.
With England’s international soccer dominance, British fans would travel with their successful home clubs as they played matches across Europe, visiting France, Spain and—of course—Italy. As the fans traveled into other countries, they bought up popular fashions from those countries’ designer labels, wearing them as unofficial signifiers of their favorite club’s worldwide success. Of course, rowdy soccer fans have a loaded history—one rife with post-match rioting and drunken fights with rival fans. Intended or not, the Stone Island badge was worn with pride by plenty of soccer fans, leaving the brand with associations to hooliganism.
Casuals aside, Stone Island became the ideal brand to wear to a soccer match due to its water-resistant and windproof outerwear, perfect for the English climate. Due to the brand's high price and limited availability, Stone Island was highly sought-after.
In 1995, Osti left Stone Island to focus on other ventures, leaving Rivetti alone in the cockpit. After discovering the English designer at a trade fair in Munich, Rivetti brought on designer Paul Harvey to usher in the second era of Stone Island. Under Harvey and Rivetti, Stone Island would go on a run that brought the brand all over the world, becoming a cult favorite among techwear enthusiasts. Harvey left Stone Island in 2008 and since then, the brand has operated under the leadership of a design team as opposed to a single mind, with Rivetti referring to himself as a coach. Given the growth Stone Island has seen since then, it’s safe to say Rivetti and his team have built a championship roster.
In recent years, Stone Island has skyrocketed in popularity due to co-signs from popular recording artists like Drake and collaborations with Supreme and Nike. Stone Island Shadow Project—a line designed in collaboration with Acronym’s Errolson Hugh—is a highly-technical sublabel, focused on innovating upon Stone Island technology and garment production. In addition to highly anticipated collaborations, Stone Island archival pieces and new products alike are available on Grailed.
Why do football hooligans wear Stone Island?
Football fans wore Stone Island because it was a signifier of a soccer club’s success internationally. Among English fans, wearing the Italian Stone Island implied that your favorite team was strong enough to play internationally (and that you follow the club to watch them play across Europe).
What is Stone Island known for?
While the brand offers a wide selection of knitwear, overshirts, outerwear and techwear, Stone Island is best known for jackets constructed with highly technical fabrics.
Which arm is the Stone Island badge on?
The Stone Island badge is always on the left side of the garment.