Stone Island

HQRavarino, Italy
FounderMassimo Osti

Stone Island is an Italian label named after Joseph Conrad novels founded by Massimo Osti in 1982 and co-run with Carlo Rivetti since 1983. Early on, the brand established itself in the market thanks to a heavily-stonewashed, tarpaulin-like fabric called Tela Stella. With this material forming the foundation of its products, Stone Island clothing and its signature black, green, and yellow “Compass” patch logo became central to an emerging culture of “terrace casual” style and “football hooliganism” across the United Kingdom and Europe throughout the ‘90s. While integral to European and British culture, it wasn’t until a surprise Supreme x Stone Island partnership in 2014 and an obsessive embrace by Drake that Stone Island became one of the most well-known labels on both sides of the Atlantic. Timeline 1971 — Massimo Osti founds the Chester Perry brand. 1973 — Osti and his collaborators invent the process of dyeing garments made of multiple fabric and fiber types. 1978 — Chester Perry is renamed the C.P. Company after English clothing brands Chester Barry and Fred Perry take legal action against Osti. 1982 — Osti founds Stone Island, named after the novels of Joseph Conrad. In this first year, the brand’s now-famous Tela Stella fabric is introduced. The heavily-stonewashed, tarpaulin-like fabric is used to create a range of seven jackets in six colors. 1983 — Carlo Rivetti, working at Italian licensing group GFT, buys a 50 percent stake in Stone Island and begins to run it alongside Osti. In the same year, the brand unveils the Raso Ray waterproof jacket. 1988 — The Ice Jacket is introduced into Stone Island’s product line. The jacket changes color based on temperature thanks to liquid crystal coating. 1991 — Another technological innovation, the Reflective Jacket, is created. This jacket adheres a thin layer of glass to a waterproof fabric and can reflect bright and dim light. 1992 — Stone Island becomes integral to “terrace casual” football style thanks to the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. After England loses, fans loot a Swedish clothing outlet called Genius that is stocked with Stone Island merch. 1994 — Osti departs from Stone Island, leaving Rivetti to run the company. British designer Paul Harvey takes over as the director of the brand. 2008 — Stone Island unveils the Shadow Project, a capsule collection that shows the brand’s latest innovations. 2009 — Stone Island collabs with adidas Original on tech-heavy Sambas sneakers. 2014 — The Supreme Stone Island collection drops—the start of a continued partnership between the two brands. 2015 — Canadian rapper Drake is pictured wearing Stone Island at Wimbledon and other venues. In the same year, the brand’s North American revenue grows to $97 million and a flagship store is opened in New York. 2018 — Stone Island posts a revenue just shy of €200 million. Where does C.P. Company fit into Stone Island’s history? Over a decade before Massimo Osti founded Stone Island, the Italian designer was busy launching another brand called Chester Perry, which would become the C.P. Company in 1978. Like Stone Island, this brand’s claim to fame was also for a technical achievement—specifically the invention of dyeing garments made from multiple fabric and fiber types. A decade after this 1973 invention, Osti would revolutionize the garment industry once again with the invention of Tela Stella fabric. How does Stone Island fit into “terrace casual” culture? The subculture of rowdy footballers who caused a ruckus on British football terraces began in ‘80s England, but it wasn’t until the ‘90s that Stone Island weaved its way into that world of casual dress and fist fights. Particularly, it was the 1992 European Championships in Sweden that seemed to give the brand its breakout moment when England fans looted a clothing outlet called Genius that was stocked with Stone Island merch. Besides Tela Stella, what other fabric tech is Stone Island known for? Since the introduction of Tela Stella, Stone Island has become famous for its innovative fabrics. Among the highlights of their experiments (including a jacket made of stainless steel Teflon fibers) is the famed Ice jacket. Originally made from polyester and coated with liquid crystals in 1988, the jacket changes colors based on temperature and was upgraded in 2010 with a new, cutting-edge pigment. How did the Supreme x Stone Island collab help bring the brand to America? Because most Americans don’t care about football, the concept of “terrace culture” was alien to audiences across the Atlantic. It's this disconnect that explains why Stone Island failed to catch hold in the U.S. until 2014, when one of streetwear’s most prolific brands, Supreme, dropped a surprise collab with the label—starting a partnership that continues today.