‘The concepts Massimo Osti developed are iconoclastic and will continue to provoke and inspire others.’
Meet Archie Maher; one of the leading exhibitors of archive Stone Island in the country. He took to the iconic Trellic Tower to shoot some of his favourite pieces, exclusively for us. Afterwards, we caught up with Archie to find out a bit more about him and what Arco Maher is.
‘I strive to showcase and supply the rarest, most sought after and truly iconic vintage stone island items. One of my main goals is to build a page that is almost an Osti / vintage stone island encyclopedia that is achieved through numerous photo shoots, videos, books and catalogues.. I adore what I’m doing; although its only early stages, I have faith within myself to take it as far as I can and reach out to as many individuals as possible to help relay the wonder of the Stone Island pieces of the 80/90s.’ – Archie Maher
How and when did you get into Stone Island?
It was in the Winter of 2011 that my love for Stone Island was born! My initial knowledge was fairly limited but there was something about the innovative styles, unique functions and the sensational array of colours they used when creating each piece that got me.
Having since watched endless documentaries where Carlo Rivetti (creative director) and Paul Harvey (who designed the brand until around 2006) are interviewed speaking so passionately about their work, my eyes were opened to the creative genius that is Massimo Osti (who founded Stone Island in 1982) as well as his expansive collection of work. Subsequently, I fell in love with all aspects of the brand from the iconic badge, to the way in which they use particular dying techniques to create the look and style of their materials.
Why archive pieces as opposed to the new season?
The archive pieces signify the undisputed beauty and intelligence of the brand. The first Stone Island piece I ever bought was a mustard yellow Autumn/Winter corduroy over- shirt from 1993. The jumbo corduroy material and ‘anchor’ engraved buttons makes this piece incredibly sought after because it’s bold, exclusive and empowering; it’s a piece that will never leave my collection. This piece was from the Osti era – items from this timeframe are known as the archive pieces. This helped shape my outlook and preference for the brand, allowing me to take greater interest in the brand’s work from the 80s and 90s.
From the reversible Tela Stella Jackets to Reflective Life Safer garments, and most importantly items from the remarkable Stone Island Marina Range, (a collection that I will always obsess over) it is very clear why the archive pieces are so deeply adored and studied. The concepts Massimo Osti developed are iconoclastic and will continue to provoke and inspire others.
Do you think that Stone Island can ever shake the negative connotations associated with it through hooliganism/football?
I fully appreciate why so many associate the brand with hooliganism, in view of how we’ve seen it portrayed in the media, which has subsequently tainted many people’s views of the brand.
Indeed one of my earliest memories of recognising a Stone Island piece in the media was seeing Pete Dunham donning a beige Raso Gommato trench coat as he stood on the terraces, watching his beloved West Ham in the film Green Street (a film about football firms/hooligans for those who don’t know!) I think memories like this can be partially to blame for my initial ignorance, similarly thinking it was a brand only worn by football hooligans.
I then went on to learn of the brand’s first subculture, which in fact has nothing to do with football in the slightest! Indeed in the mid 80s, the young affluent and fashion obsessed girls and guys of Milan – known as the Paninaro -were the first to deck themselves out in Stone Island, C.P. Company, Moncler and Timberland amongst many others brands.
In fact Stone Island is an incredibly diverse brand that appeals to so many people from numerous walks of life across the world. I think it is crucial that people understand this ,and in many ways my page aims to hark back to this, ideal of encouraging males and females alike and people from all backgrounds and ethnicity to feel comfortable immersing themselves in the brand, and not worrying about other’s limited views
Stone Island are renowned for their innovative research in materials and dying processes; can you perhaps speak a little more on its history and your personal appeal to it?
The revolutionary techniques that Osti mastered and created in order to produce many fantastic pieces is extremely impressive – where he often applied bespoke and innovative manufacturing processes. One example is where he took the original tarpaulin from trucks and placed it in an extreme stone washing process to create the Tela Stella jacket material.
I have recently acquired two pairs of salopette styled dungarees/trousers, which were originally produced as part of Osti ‘s early 80’s skiwear range. These are some of the rarest pieces in my collection. The cream and purple silk lined padded trousers are from A/W 1983-4 and were created whilst experimenting with heat-treated polyvinyls. This is just another example of the peculiar findings I have discovered about some of the earliest pieces produced.
Is Stone Island now high end?
I wouldn’t personally describe Stone Island as a “high end” brand. I would describe it as an ‘experimental brand’ as it very much exists through endless experiments and years of individual research to produce items; items that are always durable, of top quality and ultimately very striking. Stone Island is a successful brand that has continually pushed fashion boundaries year after year. It is highly admired by many and in some ways is a fashion movement in itself that has inspired many in the fashion world.
What has your favourite collaboration been?
Stone Island’s various collaborations with Supreme spring to mind and I have particularly enjoyed many of the pieces produced in these collections. The S/S ‘15 capsule saw the heavily washed, striped long sleeves released which caused quite a buying frenzy with many attempting to acquire all three colour ways! This gorgeous collection closely harks back to the late 80’s archive pieces, which had the Stone Island spell out print featured on the back, which was then reinterpreted in this collection with a supreme spell out print instead. This is yet again a great example of the innovation of the SI brand – here creating a breakthrough partnership that many did not expect.
Shot by Shaq Baker
You can check out the pieces at Arco Maher here.