Updated: May 10, 2020
We take an in depth look into Stone Island's history and use of reflective materials in this 3 part mini series.
After the Liquid Reflective started the new decade off it was quickly followed by the brands 30th anniversary in 2012. For this huge milestone in the brands history they went big! The range consisted of 3 completely different, fully reflective pieces. The Reflective Knit, Thermo Reflective and M90 Camo Reflective.
The first and most coveted is of course the Reflective Knit, made as one of three pieces to feature the special 30th Anniversary badge alongside the 30/30 and Tela Stella Anorak. The jacket is made in the classic Presidents Knit style with a knitted outer and dutch rope liner. The difference on this knit is that each thread is micro taped and coated with tiny glass spheres before being sealed in a polyester mesh. The finished garment is then heat pressed using the Sublimination Print technique giving the outer a smooth flat surface. A heavy beast and one of the most sought after pieces not only from the anniversary range but, in the history of the brand.
The Thermo Reflective was the next in the range and a brand new material from the brand. Merging the famous Ice with the equally famous Reflective material; the parka style Thermo Reflective does what it says on the tin, it changes from dark grey to light stone as the temperature rises and falls and is also highly reactive to light due to our little mates the glass microsheres being hosted in the resin used to coat the jacket. Unfortunately however great it sounds, it's not. The material cracks and deteriorates alarmingly easily for a jacket of this price, it's the price you pay for innovation sometimes sadly. Finally the last piece in the 30th Anniversary selection, but by no means the least. The M90 Camo Reflective; using the notorious M90 camouflage design originally used by the Swedish military, this piece features a contrasting camo using lighter and darker shades of colour to make up the angular reflective design. One of the most sought after reflective pieces in recent years.
The next few years saw some killer reflective releases with the Mesh Reflective mk.2 dropping in Winter 2013; it was basically a re-release of the earlier 2006 Mesh Reflective which we talked about previously. Again released as a down jacket, but this time with a Liquid Reflective hood.
Liquid reflective was also used as the base for the Prototype Research Series - 001: Lasering on Liquid Reflective Base. It was the first installment in a series of experimental jackets, of which there are 3 currently. Limited to 100 in number these have become, without doubt, the rarest reflective ever released by Stone Island. Following the liquid treatment and baking, a honeycomb pattern was etched onto the surface of the material by laser, which produces a three-dimensional effect on the garment. Each one of the hundred produced is completely different from the next due to the processes and techniques involved.
In the same year as the Prototype Research Series, another crazy reflective piece dropped; the Hidden Reflective. Based on the initial research into bullet proof military garments, the range comes in a tech vest and also down bomber jacket. The vest has a clear resemblance to the American Army issue vest used in the Gulf War which was the main archive research garment. It features the dual Velcro side straps and pocket placement found on the finished article. Both pieces have a gater across the neck and a lined collar in Shearling. An opaque black plating completely covers the refraction of light from the material which is unveiled when photographed in flash mode. This opaque plating is rubbed as the jacket is used giving each wearers jacket a slightly different finish and look.
Summer 2017 brought with it the Garment Dyed Plated Reflective with Mussola Gommata, more commonly known simply as the Plated Reflective. Constructed from a Nylon Tela base coated in glass microspheres and featuring accents of in house material Mussola Gommata; a light muslin bonded to a polyurethane film. The jacket was mainly grey but available with a wide range of coloured Mussola Gommata pockets and fixings. Given how new these jackets are, we are yet to see how they hold up to wear over the years.
This year’s Autumn Winter collection marked the 10th Anniversary of Stone Island Shadow Project, a side range curated by Carlo Rivetti in partnership with Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher, and with it came the much anticipated Scarabeo Reflective. The first Stone Island jackets to feature iridescent reflective materials it certainly holds its own in the category. These jackets have all but sold out worldwide within the first weeks of release and are reckoned to be extremely sought after in years to come provided the materials stand the test of time. The name Scarabeo is derived from the Italian for scarab beetle, an insect with a shiny and brightly coloured body which is iridescent. The use of colour and pattern found in nature seen in this range is a touching homage to the creative mind of Massimo Osti and a perfect way to wish Stone Island Shadow Project a well-deserved happy birthday.
We hope you have enjoyed reading a bit about the brands long a fruitful journey into researching reflective materials. Yeah they can crack and peel and maybe other brands are churning out reflective jackets for a few quid these days but, you can't deny they have that head turning spark! When you wear a Stone Island reflective jacket you know the history and research involved in coming to the final product with over 35 years of research going into this material being used in designs by the brand. So its always worth it. Check out part 1 and part 2 here if you haven't already.