This article appeared on print in November 2012 in W27 Newspaper. To view original clip visit http://www.w27newspaper.com
Reflect Your Style
Many in this world today cannot imagine living without their smartphones, iPads, computers and tablets. It is only natural, then, for individuals who are already so in tune with the tech-world, to be provided with the same level of technology in their closet.
Stone Island, an Italian menswear brand established in 1982, has devoted itself to research, experimentation and technology in order to deliver technologically-advanced garments to its consumers.
It was not until 1992, however, that the brand first started working with the transportation of light on garments. Today the results of their research and development can be seen in the brand’s Liquid Reflective Jacket, a garment made out of a highly reflective Japanese fabric and coated with thousands of micro glass spheres.
The process behind the creation of this jacket incorporates both technology and manual work. Carlo Rivetti, creative director of the brand, explained the ins and outs of the garment. “It is a mixture of technology and handicraft. When we first started working with the reflective fabric, it was simply a spread of microspheres of glass on polyester fabric.” he said. “Now we use small pyramids of sand fixed on the fabric by a computer so they all have the same orientation and the reflection of light is higher.” The process does not end here. Once each jacket is done, it is hand sprayed individually by the Stone Island team. “This is something that we can reach only in this country, Italy,” he said. Because they are hand sprayed manually, every jacket turns out different, which makes each garment unique in itself.
Nowadays, keeping up with technology and consumer tastes is a rather demanding task. In their attempt to constantly be innovative, Stone Island gathers their research internally, as a corporation, and not by looking at trends in the consumer market. “The consumer can desire only what they know. We try to be very innovative and surprise our consumer with something totally new. Our research comes from us, not from the market. When you follow the market you are always going to be behind or create something that is already disposable.” This last remark explains why the Liquid Reflective Jacket is the only product on the market with this type of technology.
Rivetti also discussed the importance of technology in the fashion industry today, emphasizing that the key to breaking into the market is innovation in textiles. “Everything is relative to the positioning of the brand,” he said. In Stone Island’s case, technology is crucial in their branding strategy. The Liquid Reflective Jacket is a true celebration of the use of technology. So much so that consumers are not very interested in the benefits of the jacket, other than the reflective effect. “People do not buy the Reflective Jacket because it keeps them warm and dry. They buy it because they want to appear in public. It’s simply cool,” said Rivetti.