SUPREME has just completed its first collaboration with STONE ISLAND on a collection for Fall 2014. It features a new take on Stone Island’s classic Raso Gommato jacket as well as a crewneck sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a camp cap. One of Stone Island’s definitive fabrics, Raso Gommato was invented by placing a polyurethane cover over military-inspired cotton satin. It is one of the many innovations discovered during Stone Island’s 32-year history of scrupulous experimentation. As the crew at Supreme describes, “Stone Island’s strength is based on the unique ability to intervene on the finished item, through dyeing and treatment techniques carried out in its own color lab. Its extensive study of uniforms and of work wear items—its evolution according to new requirements of use—has become Stone Island’s observation post for defining a project beyond mere aesthetics.”
On the occasion of the Stone Island monograph, Carson Chan sat down with Stone Island CEO Carlo Rivetti to discuss the brand’s commitment to function-driven menswear:
Carson Chan: When Stone Island began 30 years ago, would you say that it was creating sportswear or the sportswear look?
Carlo Rivetti: I would say sportswear because function and performance have always been the key elements that make up the brand’s DNA. Stone Island’s first collection was made up of just seven pieces, all done in the same fabric – this is the negation of fashion.
Catwalks don’t represent Stone Island. We feel closer to the industrial design world than to the fashion world. Our garments are conceived more as design items, in which functionality and research are fundamental. It’s an ongoing investigation of the processing and ennobling of fibers and textiles. We discover materials and production techniques never used before in the clothing industry. Our fabric suppliers have wind and rain tunnels that do extensive testing, and of course we also test all of our products for durability. I always say that our garments last an average of 20 years, like a Volvo!
What does performance mean in the Stone Island world?
We think about every kind of performance. A friend once made a very interesting characterization: Stone Island is to the garment business what Oakley is to eyewear. When the first Oakley products appeared on the market, they changed the rules of the game. They were unique. When the first Stone Island jackets appeared in store windows, no one had seen anything like them before.
To me, performance is function of use, which means using fabrics and special treatments that give the garments added value. Performance is also a study of details, like pockets, cuffs, engineered hoods, and thermo stitched zippers. Since the beginning, Stone Island has studied uniforms and workwear and we have developed them according to new requirements of use. We try to define a project by which the clothing item’s function is never just aesthetic.
Do you ever see Stone Island moving towards conventional tailoring?
No, and I can summarize the reason in one word: focus. Focus means that I do what I’m good at. If you do too much, you lose that focus. So conven tional tailoring is not part of Stone Island. The “artisanal” part is important for us, but in a diffe rent way. We have presented handmade, painted camouflage as well as the Liquid Reflective Jacket, which is hand sprayed individually.
The collection is available in-store in New York, Los Angeles, and London, as well as online, October 2nd.