Stone Island has had an incredible year. Although its fans are kept busy throughout seasons with Ghost Pieces, Shadow Project, Marina, and plenty more, 2022 has been particularly special. That's no accident; this year marks the brand's 40th in operation, four decades of shifting the landscape of garment design and being a subcultural powerhouse.
Its ongoing celebrations have been marked by several special releases that have shifted the focus to various moments within the brand's history, such as the archive-inspired Heritage Camo pieces and 82/22 outerwear selection. All in all, it's been an impactful showcase of 40 years without compromise.
Such an incredible milestone presents unique opportunities for experimentation that may well have been impossible otherwise – Stone Island's ever-evolving relationship with New Balance and the football collection it birthed earlier this week being a prime example.
It's no secret that European football culture has loved Stone Island more than most over the years. Casual and Terrace cultures have oftentimes taken the compass-badged brand as a uniform or "clobber."
Despite the storied history that these subcultural brands share with Stoney, it's never played up to this relationship. This is due largely to the unfortunate association they share with hooliganism and violence.
Until now, it's felt as if a collection of gear that wholeheartedly embraces and celebrates this connection would be impossible, yet four decades into the game, Stone Island is flying the flag for the sport that played such a crucial role in its international success.
When rumors began to fly about a potential expansion of what New Balance and SI had developed with the FuelCell RC Elite V2, all eyes were on England's sporting stars. Following teasers, our suspicions were confirmed, with Raheem Sterling fronting the collection's campaign and teasing the forthcoming New Balance 574.
Complete with football kits and a pair of camouflaged boots, this is the biggest step that Stone Island has ever taken beyond the walls of fashion and into sport to fully embrace its subcultural history.
Perhaps this is the early rumbling of something ever bigger; first and foremost for its relationship with New Balance, but also for Stone Island on the international sporting stage – heck, why stop at football?
Despite what may or may not come in the months and years ahead, I think we can all agree that this is a beautiful full-circle moment worthy of celebration.