The history of Stone Island

Founded in 1982 by Massimo Osti,  the Italian brand ‘Stone Island’ (named after novels written by Joseph Conrad) was engineered with key principles of research, experimentation and function in mind. The infamous ‘Stoney’ badge we all know today was, according to Carlo Rivetti (Creative Director of sportswear company S.p.A., the company that owns the men’s clothing brand Stone Island.) “inspired by military ranks and insignia, The compass symbolises a love for the sea and constant research.” In fact Stone Island’s first collection prominently drew upon practical inspiration from military uniforms and workwear. Massimo Osti revolutionised the fashion industry with his innovative dyeing and treatment processes he used to create his distinguished garments . However in the mid 90s, Osti left the company, leaving  Rivetti in search of a new designer to continue Stone Island’s newfound success.  In 1994, he stumbled upon the work of designer Paul Harvey, an Englishman who lived in Italy. This was the beginning of what he describes as “This is the 21st-century Stone!”. A short while after, in 1996, they released the second season of the brand, containing 24 distinctively on-brand collections. After just over a decade, in 2008, Paul Havery left the brand, creating a job opening which remained unfilled until 2020, when the brand joined forces with Remo Ruffini (CEO of Moncler). This collaboration marked the start of a new chapter for the iconic men’s casual wear brand. Its legacy lives on today and is still a huge name in the streetwear market. 

The culture behind the brand 

Stone Island as a brand is embedded deep into the UK street style subculture. During the 1980s, Stone Island became the uniform of choice for British football fans, some may refer to as ‘football hooligans’. This was largely put down to the fact that British football teams at this time were experiencing more regular successes in European tournaments, which meant that fans were regularly travelling to European destinations, exposing them to new, interesting brands. This became known as the ‘terrace casuals’ movement, which this new subculture was built upon. According to, “Legend has it that Stone Island became the most integral brand in the terrace casual style in 1992. After England were eliminated from the group stages of the European Championship in Sweden, the fans apparently looted a Swedish clothing outlet called Genius and brought a bounty of shoplifted ‘Stoney’ back home.“



Rise in popularity 

In 2014, Stone Island collaborated with American streetwear brand, Supreme, in which its collections feature many homages to Osti's work. This captured the modern day streetwear market and was embraced by the growing UK grime scene. This even led to its adoption by the US market, which was greatly aided by the influence of huge rappers such as Travis Scott and Drake, who can be spotted sporting the instantly recognisable compass logo on their left sleeve.



Who wears it now?

With the blend of luxury fashion and streetwear at its peak, Stone Island as a brand is now the epitome of mens luxury casual wear. Although it was never intended to entice the younger generation, the brand is certainly now extremely prevalent among the male 18-24 demographic. This is likely due to the increase in popularity of logo-driven apparel, which the iconic Stone Island badge lends itself to hugely. 






How to spot a fake Stone island Badge

Unfortunately as the brand has grown in popularity, the rise in counterfeit products being replicated has also increased. So if you’re on the market for a new Stone Island piece, particularly if you’re buying from a peer to peer site such as Depop, here’s how to distinguish the real deal from the fakes!


Check the colour

In particular the green used on the real badges is clear, whereas among many of the fakes you can see that the colour appears a lot more grey than green.


Check the stitching

The obvious fakes often have scruffy stitching that doesn’t look expensive or luxurious. Additionally other flaws such as asymmetry and loose threading and within the badge are commonly seen on the fakes.


Check the compass

The real Stone Island compass should be tightly stitched into the centre of the badge, meaning it should gather slightly inwards. However the replica badges do not include this much attention to detail and the compass is only stitched at a surface level.


Check the text

All lettering on the badge should be uniform and consistent. If any letters look misshapen it is likely you are looking at a fake. Obviously grammar is another thing to look out for, make sure Stone Island is spelt correctly!


Where to buy authentic Stone Island 

If you are looking to purchase a Stone Island piece, obviously everyone loves online shopping, but how can you be sure you are not being scammed?


In order to avoid being scammed you should always shop with a trusted brand that widely advertises that their products are 100% authenticated. It’s much harder to be sure you are buying real Stone Island through sites such as Vinted and Depop as anyone can claim to be selling rare, vintage pieces with little to no real proof. 


Here at Thrifted, we have a wide selection of one off, authentic Stone Island pieces. Take a browse now!


Instagram collectors 

With Stone Island’s growing popularity, especially amongst Gen Z, avid collectors have taken to Instagram to create communities for fans of the brand to connect and converse. The most popular accounts post rare pieces to their followers and outfit inspiration. Even Stone Island meme accounts have now appeared across the platform! 


Here are some of our favourite accounts…









Image references