Stone Island Special - The Seller: George Black
Stone Island have always been able to design amazing collections, season after season. Almost every year there are special pieces that collectors, lovers and fans all over the world fall in love with. Over the years a lot of these pieces have been stored in wardrobes, archives and memories. After over 35 years of business there are countless jackets, vests, work pants and extraordinary creations that made it into the hearts, books, tales and dreams of people worldwide.
Because of all that, Stone Island has a lovely role within vintage culture and collectors interact on forums, facebook groups and on Instagram. Osti, Paul Harvey and the Rivetti clan have brought Stone Island onto shoulders and waists worldwide.
The culture and business surrounding vintage Stone Island is way bigger than you’d expect and it came way before GRAILED. Stone Island was one of the first brands to develop a culture of people worldwide who connect, bid, buy, sell and trade fashion.
There are such rarities, such legendary Stone Island pieces out there that have their own design history. They are evidence of an iconic designers touch and they are examples of incredible manufacturing processes that beat any Yeezy Boost or other hyped item people collect nowadays.
Stone Island products have always been made to withstand the scrutiny of fast culture and many pieces directly led to the creation of a network of vintage shops. Especially in the UK, it is easy to find lots of stores that pay homage to all the creations and innovations. From Stone Island to Prada, Gucci, Moschino, Versace and so on, these shops celebrate the glorious past of these fabrics, with relics of old school rave culture and terrace culture. Concrete jungle housing vibes straight up, you won’t find these shops anywhere else in the world.
There are endless amounts of shops with a few really special pieces amongst them that are worth spending your money on. From Too Hot Limited, Minted Shop and Warehouse1992, they add their very own knowledge and love to the story. Stores like Too Hot shoot insane editorials and Warehouse throws in a amazing pool of background knowledge.
At the same time there is an endless amount of new cats in the game that are trying to copy and paste the successful formula of the best stores around, by shooting editorials, building up Instagram accounts and selling it straight from the ‘gram. Unfortunately, a lot of these shops are either selling cheap stuff that you could easily find on eBay and turn them into ‘expensive pieces’ by uploading some nice (or not nice) pictures on Instagram. Either that or they start raising prices to ridiculous levels.
So vintage Stone Island pieces are pure magic and every piece has it’s own story and special features. Vintage shops at the same time are full of romantic, cool and loveable characters that all represent their very own way of buying and selling within Stone island culture.
Time for a little peek inside the world of an original store that has been selling your old (or new) favourite brand for a long fucking time – Minted Shop Glasgow.
Minted Shop is a very special store for me because besides buying a lot of my jackets from there, the whole crew became my Glaswegian family, along with some of their customers and pretty much the whole town. From the first jacket I bought on the owners eBay account, to a couple of parcels and some heavy beer/gear infected nights in Berlin, Glasgow and London, Minted became my favourite vintage shop in the UK and George, the kingpin of this castle, became one of my best friends.
Since George is one of the most special collectors, sellers and businessmen in the game, it was just a matter of time before I got to talk to him about the culture of vintage, his connections to Stone Island, and his lovechild Minted!
Stone Island Special - The Seller: George Black
Dear George, could you please introduce yourself in a few sentences?
I’m George, 27. I started the shop Minted in Glasgow after buying and selling vintage clothing online for many years.
What is Minted shop and what`s the idea behnd it?
Minted is a shop in Glasgow specialising in vintage from the 90’s to today. We also stock some local brands and Minted’s own range. Minted opened in 2013.
The idea behind it was simple - to bring high-end and branded vintage and streetwear into a physical store. The type of pieces that would probably only be found in specialist places online. That hadn’t been done before in Glasgow, especially for menswear.
But at the same time I wanted to make the store accessible, curated and reasonably priced, or it was never going to work.
There a bunch of lovely people working and hanging around Minted, can you please introduce them to us?
It’s a family affair at Minted. I work with my friend Antony who I’ve know for ten years. It’s all good.
What about Tina?
I have a Chihuahua x Chinese Crested dog called Tina. She doesn’t have any Stone Island pieces yet but she does have an OG Bape dog t-shirt my friend Sam got her from Yahoo Auctions Japan. It’s not just for fashion though, she doesn’t have any hair. It’s practical.
So tell me George when you first got in contact with Stone Island and when’d did you actually started to sell it?
I remember Stone Island from when I was at high school, but I was never drawn to it at the time - probably because I never seen any unusual or interesting pieces until years later. I came across a few interesting pieces eventually and from there I started taking an interest in the brand and what it was about. I sold a few items before Minted opened but it wasn’t until then that I really became interested in the brand and aware of the cult that surrounds it.
Talking about second hand, why do you think Stone Island has such a fan base when it comes to vintages items?
Stone Island has all the hallmarks of something collectable. Most of it is (or was) relatively limited. The sheer number of variations, colours, materials used. Then add in all the quirks and lingo. Green-edge badges. Art numbers. Ghost Pieces. Shadow Project. Ice Jackets. Raso Gommatos. Thermo-Reflectives. Tyveks. Membranas. Kevlars. Tank Shields. It goes on. There’s so much to know, so much to collect and so much to find. That’s why the fan base for the vintage stuff is there.
Do you remember if there always was this run for Vintage Stone Island or did this got bigger over the years?
The interest in Stone Island has grown exponentially over the past 2-3 years, without a doubt. Before, there were probably only two camps - the hardcore fans and those who knew the brand and owned a jacket or two. Now it’s everywhere - there's so much crossover now. Stone Island with Supreme, Yeezys, Jordans etc wasn't a thing a few years ago. It was strictly adidas, Reebok classics etc. Now with the internet, anything goes. For better or worse. It’s your money though, wear what you want. If you want to spend £500 on a pink Stone Island overshirt and a matching pair of Asics Gel Lytes then go for it.
Looking at the UK Vintage and second hand scene I see way bigger hype, love and respect for buying old garms compared to other countries. From Too Hot Limited, to Minted, Wavey Garms and so on, why do you guys have such a big love for second hand gear?
UK guys love brands and labels, without a doubt. There’s a lot of aspects. There’s the young kids who are now 15-16 and 90’s stuff is vintage and new and exciting to them. Then on the other hand you’ve got the older guys who remember it first time round and are either buying it back or finally have the money to get these pieces that they couldn’t afford. It’s about nostalgia for them. I’m probably right in the middle of the two of them which is really interesting. So I’m providing to both of those camps as well as my own. I always think of that when I sell a piece - who it’s going to and why. It’s so interesting.
From starting your shop back then till today, who are the people buying clothing at Minted?
Minted really has a broad range of customers. Because of the range of brands we sell. We don’t just sell Stone Island - we sell everything from Burberry to Supreme, adidas, Fred Perry, Polo Sport. These brands attract a massive cross-section of people - casuals, mods, skaters, young guys, old guys and guys that just like fashion and labels. Some people come in and don’t care about brands and just like the way clothes look. It’s always different. I don’t have a typical customer. Someone came in last week and spent £200 on a floral Supreme shirt and check Palace jumper and they didn’t know either of the brands - they just liked them because they looked mad.
Who are the people that bring in their stuff into your shop for you to sell it? I heard about a couple of crazy guys in Glasgow owing insane pieces.
I’ve bought out a few collections. Big collections that people have built over 20 years or more. I bought a collection from one guy who could tell me what month, year and shop he bought every jacket from and how much he paid for it. That’s what I love. Imagine spending a month’s wages on a Pure Metal Shell in 1999. Only three of them in the whole of Glasgow - one in M, L and XL. That’s love.
That’s how Stone Island used to be stocked. Usually a shop would get one in each size of jacket and that was it for the season. Everything Made in Italy. Almost guaranteed to see no-one else with it.
So how many of these new fans are actually interested in vintage stuff or do they all just looking for jumpers with a simple badge on?
It’s a mix. I think if I could source more vintage pieces in smaller sizes I could sell as many as I wanted. Because a lot of young fans do want vintage pieces. That’s just as important. But on the other hand some people will just be obsessed by the last thing Drake wore. Someone told me last week some modern pieces now go for more than retail on the Facebook talk pages. I couldn’t believe it. For me that’s absolutely crazy.
I always wonder, how hard it must be for you to actually not keep all the outstanding pieces you get for yourself. So how hard is it to be a collector and lover and a seller at the same time?
It’s so hard for me not to keep everything in my size that I like! Although I’ve reached saturation point. I don’t need another short black jacket if I already have five. I’m kind of at “one in, one out” now - unless it’s something really special I try and avoid keeping it. Plus I need to get paid!
Are there any pieces you could hate yourself for selling them at the shop?
I’ve never sold anything that I’ve really regretted. There’s a couple of things I’ve thought back on that I would have probably liked now, but didn’t at the time. I had an old red raso jacket stolen when I was at a bar once. It was cheap and wrecked but I’ll probably never find another one the same. That’s my biggest regret for leaving it on the seat.
So when we talk about your very own collection, how many pieces do you actually own?
Stone Island pieces - I’d need to count but definitely over 50. Mostly jackets. It’s jackets that do it for me. And living in Glasgow it’s all people see most of the time due to the weather. I have a few older tees and jumpers that I love as well but jackets are the main thing.
In total - I wouldn’t even want to guess. Hundreds.
And what are your three favourite ones?
You know I can’t answer that! It changes all the time!
You know George, what I really like about your shop is, that all the prices are fair. It’s pretty hard to feel fooled buying at your shop. Still there is an endless stream of new vintage dealers that post a lot of stuff on Instagram combine it with some nice (or not so nice) editorial pictures and put insane price tags on it. Why does that even work and do you think this will stop or get worse?
There’s definitely a (growing) culture of some sellers on Instagram dressing up some good or not so good pieces and advertising them for silly prices. Some don’t even advertise the price at all and then just mark as ‘sold’ and then the item mysteriously disappears to an unknown buyer within seconds. Funny things going on. There’s a few people who are trying to drive prices up and it’s ruining the market. Everyone’s out to make a buck but it’s not sustainable acting like that. I’ve been selling Stone Island and other brands through Minted for four years (and for many years before Minted). I've had nothing but a positive response and pride myself in that. I seen a fake Raso Flocatto sell on Depop for £350. That’s crazy. People don’t know what they’re doing.
I’ve got a lot of respect for Too Hot Limited. They started around the same time as Minted and are well respected in the community. Good pieces, good photos, detailed description and prices shown. They’ve got the best editorials and I think a lot of other sellers are trying to rip them off.
Can you tell me anything what the brand did for you besides looking good and making a living?
I’ve met so many people through the brand. People that I can guarantee I would not meet otherwise, mostly through Minted. A lot of knowledgable guys who know what they’re talking about. I try to avoid most of the Facebook groups etc. as they’re full of kids and people that want the best stuff for the lowest prices. The guys who it’s not a trend for and who have a passion for the brand are the best to deal with. Not the 14 year-olds from asking for 15 measurements and 3 legit checks on a 1985 jacket.
So your Shop just moved into a new space and you just opened up an Arcade bar. How will George Black's life will look like in 10 years, what’ next George?
I’m just going to keep going. Clothing is what I’m passionate about. Minted’s is four years old now which is crazy for me as it seems a long time, but at the same time it’s young for a brand. The only thing stopping me from opening another shop elsewhere is that it’s so difficult to maintain such a good level of stock in the one store already so I don’t want to dilute that and fill it with shit. Maybe grow the Minted brand, I’m working on new designs. We only started doing our own line six months ago and have had a great response already. Let’s see what happens.
George Black without Stone Island is…
Someone with a lot more wardrobe space…