Stone Island

For Part 2 of The Stone Island Archive Highsobiety travel to Stone Island's HQ in Ravarino, Italy, and were treated to a private tour of the brand's iconic archive from CEO Carlo Rivetti. Part 2 looks at the technical functions of various styles and innovative fabrics in the brand's portfolio.

Stone Island, the Italian brand that reinvented the concept of casual wear, was founded in 1982 out of the passion and brilliant research into textile finishing performed by its creator and art director, intellectual from Bologna, Massimo Osti. It was Osti, in the mid-Seventies, who researched thousands of uniforms and pieces of work clothing and catalogued their functional characteristics. In Ravarino, in the province of Modena, he created a company whose hub was a full-scale centre of research into materials and treatments became a sophisticated laboratory for garment and experimental dyeing.
The story of Stone Island began, almost by chance, with research into a special material, a thick truck tarpaulin, the outstanding feature of which was that it had been resin-treated in red on one side and blue on the other. The first prototype was too stiff, so it was washed for a long period in water with pumice stones to break down the structure of the material. The result was surprising, a worn-look garment with great appeal. It was therefore decided to create seven jackets in that unique fabric, called Tela Stella, and to give this product a name. The strong identity of the project called for an important name, which was identified by analysing the most commonly occurring words in Joseph Conrad’s novels: the words Stone and Island were chosen.
Stone Island has a marine feel, conjuring up old oilskins corroded by the sea and a military feel, which is drawn from the fund of research completed until that time. The name also evokes a love of the sea and that first treatment selected to “process” the garments. The badge, the detachable fabric label that has distinguished Stone Island garments since the first season, showed a Compass Rose, displayed like a military badge.

The reaction is immediate. Stone Island became a success phenomenon, with no set plan or marketing research behind it.
A typically Italian mix of creativity, intuition and entrepreneurial spirit.

Text and images courtesy of Stone Island