15 Years Of Collecting Stone Island: Meet The Dutch Collector Opening Up His Archive
As I explored in the Stone-Island-Special series, there are many people who have a special connection to Stone Island. From collectors to shop owners, designers to plugs and rappers to hypebeasts, the brand is going in many ways lately and there is always an opportunity to meet new, interesting people that can tell their very own Stone Island story.
One of these characters is Robin, who collected Stone Island for the past 15 years and recently opened up his very own website to sell some of his grails and treasures. Born and raised in Holland, Robin will tell us more about the Dutch approach on Italian menswear, and more importantly, he will give us deep insight from an archive collector you are unlikely to find again.
What drives someone to buy more than 100 jackets of a single brand, what still excites him and what differentiates Dutch Stone Island fans from the rest of the world? Robin will tell us!
15 Years Of Collecting Stone Island: Meet The Dutch Collector Opening Up His Archive
Hey Robin, can you please tell us something about you: what is your Dutch way of the ninja and what are you doing besides collecting Stone Island?
Born and raised in a small town in the north of Holland, I kept myself busy with collecting all sorts of things; coins, videogames and toys-the usual thing for a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s. When I got older and most of my friends stopped collecting, I found something new.
As a Stone Island collector of around 15 years now, I am finally opening up a website that will give me a private platform to offer my items. The larger platforms everybody uses now are selling for ridiculous prices and the same group of buyers are asking details on every item, trying to get a bargain so they can resell. As a collector I lost the fun in that because of people dying items to make a quick buck, hyping shit items, claiming false limited releases, posting shit pictures that don’t show defects and false descriptions. I will offer not only vintage items, but plan to also stock new collections of the brands I like to wear myself. There are a lot of (smaller) brands making very nice things that aren’t as easy available as the larger brands like Stone Island.
Do you still remember when you got your first jacket?
Yes, of course. It started with a green Chenille knit, quickly followed by a military style double breasted Raso Gommato jacket. Another first I remember was an early Maglia del Presidente, a knit jacket with a detachable liner. Once the brand had my attention I discovered a whole world full of surprises that make the brand very collectable. The fabrics, the innovations, the high price and maybe even the people wearing it. It all adds to the brand for me.
As Carlo mentioned there is some sort of club feeling. A club of totally different people that have one thing in common, the love for the brand.
In my recent Stone Island special, I’ve asked this question to so many different people and every answer showed me another aspect of the brand...So Robin, what crosses your mind when you hear the word Stone Island, or more pertinently, what makes the brand special for you?
For me it’s form and function. Standing out in a tasteless crowd by mainly blending in while at times screaming for attention in a Reflective or ICE jacket. It’s almost like driving a Ferrari, or wearing a Rolex watch. People see it’s something special by the quality, the design.
Also not following trends or any rules in fashion. How many people can keep a white winters jacket clean? How many can wear a lightweight ripstop jacket without damaging it?
As we already heard about the UK and Russian scene already, how can we imagine the Dutch Stone Island scene? Where did it all started and who were the people buying it before the big hype one year ago?
For me it was a natural process. I was a fat kid, so I had to wear brands like Paul & Shark and Trussardi jeans that stocked multiple X sizes from an early age. Most of these brands where Italian, so that’s where my focus was. When on holiday in Italy (combined with the whole casual movement in Europe) I got curious about the brand. I bought my first item and the rest in history.
In Holland there was never a big movement of designer clothing like there is in the UK. Maybe that’s why all the Dutch collectors I know are not your typical football hooligan or fashion victim. Each has his own reason why he fell in love with the brand. For me it’s the combination of military inspired design, the innovative fabrics, the quality of the garments, and not seeing someone else wearing the same clothing on every street corner
You told me you’ve been collecting Stone Island since 15 years now, so when did you actually crossed the line from just buying to becoming a collector?
Almost immediately. I used to collect many things, and when I discovered Stone Island I found something to collect and not just own, but to wear aswell. Over the years it got a bit out of hand. I bought lots, just to own it. Jackets in all sizes, books, promo material, ski’s, glasses. If SI makes it, I probably own or have owned it.
How many pieces do you own so far and which are your favorite ones?
I have around 100 Stone Island jackets , from the very first 1982 collection, to the latest AW ‘017/’018 collection. Besides jackets, I like SI for their knitwear and less collectable everyday wear like polo’s, jeans, pants, etc. I must own several hundreds of SI items in total and I can’t remember a day in the last 10 years not wearing at least one SI item.
My favorite item is always my latest item. At the moment a 1982 Tela Stella Zeltbahn cape. Other items I really like are the Protoype series 2 Dyneema jacket in my preferred colour and size- a small miracle as I got the chance to buy that one from a mate in France. Also special for me is the blue M90 reflective camo bomber and almost every other item of the “30 anni” collection.
Since your website opened just recently, will you actually sell most of your items or just show them?
Coming from early sizing XXXL to modern L over the years, I had a lot of items I couldn’t wear anymore, so I started selling them on Ebay some years ago. My golden rule now is what I don’t wear at least once a year, has to go. I collect to wear now, not just own.
Can you tell us a little bit about how hard or easy it was to find all those jackets?
I usually buy at least 2 jackets each season, nothing hard about that. Only hard thing in buying a new jacket is finding a shop that sells the colour you want.
The older pieces can be hard to find, especially in a decent condition and in the size you want. But that is what makes the hunt for items fun. It’s not just about money, if it was only that easy. Finding a hidden gem, contacting the owner, hoping no one else discovers it, receiving it, wearing it. When you are like me you know the feeling.
Some jackets on my ever changing wishlist are:
‘012 Reflective 30 anni Maglia del Presidente
‘009 Black Tyvek hooded jacket
‘999 Raso Gommato Czech army camo jacket
Are there any jackets you were seeking for a really long time? Any special hunting stories?
Over the years I’ve met a lot of people both online and offline. I only recently got on Facebook/Instagram, and it is nice to see so many people doing the same thing I do. The Internet isn’t the only place to find great collections though. Over the years I got to meet and know collectors that were never on Instagram showing off their pieces.
It took me almost 10 years to find a white hand painted CP Company Mille Miglia jacket. It’s not that rare or special, but for me it was one I wanted for a long time. I once bought a 1982/1983 Isola di Pietra jacket in mint condition for only €25,- in Verona Italy from an older man, who bought it new. On the other hand I had the chance to buy a 1988 race mille years ago for next to nothing and didn’t do it.
That one haunts me in my sleep every now and then.
Another sad story is the Prototype series 1 reflective jacket that got lost in the mail. So if #18/100 shows up, let me know, it belongs to me!
I have jackets I would never sell or trade just because I like them or how I got them, not because they are rare or worth a lot of money. The best items for me are not the items that are worth the most money, but the ones I searched for years, the ones I bought on the best trips and the ones that come with the best stories.
What is your opinion about the recent hype? What do you feel when you see some 15 year old kids wearing the brand in a different context than you have been experiencing over the last 15 years?
I was young when I bought my first items. I don’t mind seeing kids with the brand. With the junior range, they can start from 2 years old. I hope they have as much fun wearing it as I have. The recent hype with the Drake sponsorship, the Nike and Supreme collaborations are not the most interesting things for me. I like the recent Prototype research series and the Shadow Project range more. To each his own. Besides, I wear the brand because I like it, not for anyone or anything else, and so should everyone. It was never a hype for me, and never will be, I guess.
If Carlo Rivetti would visit you one day, where would you take him and what would you ask him, Robin?
I would probably take him back to Ravarino, as I’d love to spend some time with him in the archive and see where all the past is stored and where the future is being made. As much as I respect the man in charge, for me it’s the brand, the design, the innovation that makes it contemporary. Stone Island is such a strong brand it survived without Osti, and probably will without Rivetti aswell. But before that, I would like him to share me some stories
So looking at your whole collection, what were the fabrics and techniques that impressed you the most? If you could only wear one of those fabrics which one would it be and why?
I like the tougher fabrics the most. If I have to name 3, Formula Steel, Linoflax, Microfiber/David. All three are close to indestructible and not too flashy. The more flashy(literally) jacket like the ICE’s and reflective’s I also like, but not for daily wear. What impresses me even more is the art of making/selling items that are not per definition easy to wear. Anoraks, diagonal zips, large hoods, delicate materials, light colours. For me it all adds to the brand being all but middle of the road.
So besides Stone Island, are there any other brands you collect?
For me it’s mainly Stone Island as far as collecting. I also have some early CP Company items and other Osti jackets. For daily wear I like a lot of brands in the same style, like Nemen, Ten C, Ma.Strum.
If you could only choose one era of the brand, from Massimo, to Paul Harvey and the young design team plus Errolson Hugh today - which one would you pick?
For me it’s hard to pick one, as I think all era’s are connected. What Massimo did in his years was new and innovative for the time and maybe still is. What the current design team under the supervision of Rivetti makes now is still new and innovative. I like it both.
The collections with Paul Harvey are for me the most wearable and in my opinion modern takes of classic jacket/coat styles. I also really like his current work and philosophy at Ten C. Nothing too flashy, but timeless design made to last a lifetime.
I can’t see the present collections without having the past in mind. The brand is doing well, and I like it to see it being worn more and more in the streets by both men and women of all ages and social classes.
Next to collecting, hosting a website and knowing a shitload about jackets and garments, what else do you do?
Besides the usual daily work, I spend a lot of time going to hardcore shows allover Europe. Not the Dutch electronic gabber hardcore, but New York style punk hardcore. Not a scene where you find many people who care a lot about clothing, but just like people wearing Stone Island, a scene were many different individuals are bounded by one thing. Music in this case- loud music. So if you see a bearded guy at a hardcore show wearing a Stone Island jacket with a hardcore bandshirt under it, it’s probably me.
What will people find on your new page, try to sell us the idea in just 3-4 sentences please!
For this project I aim to bring a nice selection of both vintage gems and current collections. In the spirit of Massimo Osti who was influenced by the second-hand market himself, I will sell parts of my own collection giving them a new life with a new owner. I will also start stocking current collections of the brands I like to wear myself. Starting very soon with AW ’17 CP Company collection. Keep an eye on our website and social account for news!
Thanks a lot for your time and words!
Thank you Adrian!