PERFORMANCE REVITALIZED: Why We Are So Excited About the SUPREME x STONE ISLAND Fall 2014 Collection

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.”

2014_08_Supreme x SI013

Sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt from Stone Island x Supreme Fall 2014

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.

J15_WoodlandCamo01

Camo Raso Gommato jacket from Stone Island x Supreme Fall 2014

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.

2014_08_Supreme x SI005

Raso Gommato jacket from Stone Island x Supreme Fall 2014

The collection is available in-store in New York, Los Angeles, and London, as well as online, October 2nd.

Deeper

  • Life Exists: Theaster Gates’ Black Image Corporation

    Theaster Gates' “The Black Image Corporation” presents photographs from the holdings of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, a sprawling archive that shaped “the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity.” Gates approached the project as a celebration and activation of the black image in Milan through photographs of women photographed by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton – of black entrepreneurship and legacy-making. “Life exists” in the Johnson archive, he says, just as it exists and should be honored in other places of black creativity.More
  • FRIDA ESCOBEDO: The Era of the Starchitect is Over

    Rising Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is relentlessly inquisitive, eschewing stylistic constants in favour of an overriding preoccupation with shifting dynamics. Personal curiosity is the driving force behind her practice, which makes he an outlier in a profession dominated by extroverted personalities keen on making bold assertions. "I think it really is a generational shift," Escobedo says. "The idea of the starchitect making grand gestures with huge commissions is over."More
  • “I live a hope despite my knowing better”: James Baldwin in Conversation With Fritz J. Raddatz (1978)

    Born in Berlin in 1931, editor and writer Fritz J. Raddatz relied on food delivered by African American GIs after the death of his parents. To Baldwin he was an “anti-Nazi German who has the scars to prove it.” Debating his return to the USA after 25 years, Baldwin explores the political climate in America at the end of the 1970s in a conversation at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.More
  • House as Archive: James Baldwin’s Provençal Home

    For her new book, Magdalena J. Zaborowska visited the house Baldwin occupied from 1971 to 1987 “to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity”. Here, she narrates her early journeys to Baldwin’s home and proposes a salve for its recent loss: a virtual presentation of Baldwin’s home and effects.More
  • Where are the real investments? Theaster Gates on James Baldwin

    The Chicago-based artist talks to Victoria Camblin about materializing the past, the house as museum, and preserving black legacies. Social and artistic engagement, Gates suggests, may allow the contents and spirit of Baldwin’s home, and others like it, to settle in lived experience.More