The family stone

Italian label Stone Island is building a community of design lovers

Style 25 Mar 2024

The family stone: Stone Island

The 42020 Nylon Metal Watro-TC in Econyl® regenerated nylon hooded jacket, £830, Stone Island

Stone Island, the Italian maker of innovative outerwear that features a detachable compass badge on the left sleeve of its garments, has long had a cult following. Launched in 1982, the label has maintained relevance for generations, each attracted by its commitment to development and its technologically exciting creations.

This season, there are military-inspired jackets, a vest and zip jacket in a camouflage digitally printed onto Nylon Metal (made from Econyl regenerated nylon lightweight canvas). The camouflage is created by printing through different sizes of mesh and playing with the results – including via the use of photocopiers! Or a jacket and parka with hood in Metallic Run Proof Nylon, a fabric that shimmers with an effect like what you get when combining oil and water.

Peculiarly for a clothing range, Stone Island seems to appeal to new customers while never deviating from its core proposition of technically advanced outerwear. Carlo Rivetti, who has steered the company since the early days, has a theory about this. ‘I always say, the world will move, we will go our way, and sooner or later the world will arrive,’ says Rivetti. He explains that while Stone Island continues to be fashionable for some, he does not consider it to be of the fashion world, and sees his designers more as industrial engineers. For this reason the collections don’t date, resisting the seasonal obsolescence that is baked into the fashion industry.

The 40731 quilted nylon Stella with Primaloft®-TC hooded blouson, £960, Stone Island
The 40731 quilted nylon Stella with Primaloft®-TC hooded blouson, £960, Stone Island

The appeal is one of design rather than fashion, something that engenders a sort of “if you know, you know” attitude among its wearers. Rivetti is fascinated to see the cross-generational appeal of Stone Island – how older customers mix with younger, united in their mutual appreciation of the clothes. ‘The badge means that you recognise another wearer,’ says Rivetti.

However, some prefer more anonymity, and now Rivetti has come up with a solution for them. ‘These days we also have two buttons inside the jackets so if you want to remove the badge, as my wife does, you can keep it out of sight. They are on the left-hand side, so the badge sits close to your heart. Because it is all about passion.’

If, like Rivetti’s wife Sabina – who has been his partner in the business for many years – you’d like your Stone Island allegiance kept discreet, you could opt for the Stone Island Ghost range, a recurring sub-collection of pieces inspired by camouflage. These designs are monochromatic, meaning even the Stone Island badge is rendered in a single colour, so as to visually melt away.

This season, Stone Island Ghost focuses on lightweight designs in pale beige, olive and black. The range features a field jacket, trench coat and shirt jacket all in 100 per cent organic cotton O-Ventile, a breathable wind and waterproof fabric developed in the UK. Neither coated nor laminated, this natural material is comfortable and provides good protection from the elements, enhanced by the garments’ thermo-taped seams. If you are interested in timeless state-of-the-art design, then Stone Island is certainly worth a look, whether you wish to wear your allegiance on your sleeve or not.