Stone Island: High Fashion and Hooligans

Stone Island: High Fashion and Hooligans
Stone Island was adopted by casuals somewhere in the 80s and, to some, it will always be associated with hooliganism. Yet the roots of the company and its recent adoption by Drake and several other of his US contemporaries give a much wider picture.

Innovator

Stone Island was created in 1982 by Massimo Osti. Osti had recently conceived a new fabric - Tela Stella - which he was struggling to find a use for within his sportswear range for CP Company. Instead he created a new small range which would grow to an international institution: Stone Island. 
Osti had high ambitions and continued to innovate, to research and implement new ideas. Asti's devotion to creating and developing new techniques in technical sportswear creation was crucial in the brands rise. 

The Terraces

Sportswear, durable, warm: everything you want to watch your favourite team, from the terraces on a wet day in England. However we're talking Italy at this point, 1984, the year in which Stone Island became official sponsor of the Italian national team.
Despite the disappointment in Italy not qualifying for the Euros that year, there was to be an unlikely silver lining: Liverpool's success is the European Cup. As fans followed their team to Europe, they hit the streets of Rome to shop (or nick depending on who you talk to). These fans were excited to get back and show off their new Italian gear back home and thus an international market was born. 
 Pretty soon Stone Island's reputation was directly associated with casuals, that hooligan culture so prevalent in England throughout the 70s and 80s. Despite widespread crackdowns the violence continued well into the 90s and Stone Island became the adopted uniform.
As televised football became more popular, especially with the advent of the Premier League, terrace fashion would spread out to the masses. Once those notorious footy loving lads, Oasis cottoned on Stone Island was a huge part of 90s culture.

The Slight Downfall

'Macho' was ultimately at the heart of Stone Island's popularity during the 90s. If you weren't a hooligan, you'd never had a fight, you could still look the part and carry your own. The 90s was the absolute height of lad culture after all - Loaded, FHM and Nuts dominating the magazine stands. 
But, as with most trends, it would come to an end. As the 90s petered out so did the fashions. The crackdown on firms, the over-saturation of Stone Island, and a new fad probably all contributed to this. Stone Island left the streets and went back to the practical wear it had engineered and specialised in. 
Stone Island was still a major player and their high prices meant that they were still a sort of status symbol, just no longer within casual or streetwear culture.

Taking Over Hip Hop

Since about 2010 that serial culture thief Drake has been pictured wearing Stone Island: who knows why, perhaps because of his love for Top Boy. Just your average rapping Canadian Anglophile. Whatever the reason his picture was soon plastered all over the media and Stone Island was ready to blow up all over again.
Many other rappers followed suit as did fans. It wasn't long before collaboration requests came in and Supreme X Stone Island launched their inaugural collection in 2014.
The trend cycle was set in motion once again and now Stone Island truly sat in that hallowed space between high end luxury and streetwear. From the terraces, to hip hop, to the catwalk, Stone Island is testament to the innovation of its founder and their constant ability to move with the times.
 

Older post Newer post