nikelab x stone island windrunner, take ii
After declaring 2016 to be the year of the windrunner with their first collaboration, NikeLab and Stone Island come together once more for a fresh take on the apparel classic
The Nike Windrunner is the sportswear behemoth's most iconic and lasting apparel silhouette. After its debut on America's best track and field athletes in 1980, it was part of Nike's first apparel line in 1982, the same year Stone Island was born out of Massimo Osti's material manipulations and desire to innovate. Originally constructed to protect runners from the elements, the Windrunner has since become a canvas for innovation and collaboration. The partnership with Stone Island embodies this and sees the garment rise to new heights.
After the inaugural collaboration saw the engineering and garment dyeing techniques of the Italian sportswear brand added to the mix for the first time, this second creative coming together sees the pair further flex their innovation muscles. The resulting garments see Stone Island's advanced material and dyeing research complement Nike's approach to transformative design perfectly. As news of the garment begins to break the blogosphere, Stone Island's Carlo Rivetti talks us through the product whilst discussing, the beauty of collaboration and why he wants to share his story with the world.
What can you tell us about the second stage in this creative marriage with NikeLab?
Firstly, it's a fantastic product, it's beautiful. For me, it's the perfect fusion of the two DNAs. You can recognise both NikeLab and Stone Island, each respecting the other. Now, that is easier said than done.
How has the relationship developed since the inaugural product drop?
Ultimately, it was a fantastic experience, both from a company point of view and a human one also. As we met the teams in Beaverton and after the product people of NikeLab came to visit our factory, we have made new friends. It's not only business, it's not only a job, it's two teams, two different cultures, that start talking the same language.
How has this blossoming relationship affected the products?
The first collaboration was already very good and we've made further steps forward because we understand one another better. We faced problems and we overcame them together. For example, garment dyeing a fabric with a membrane is not easy. The product people at NikeLab are fantastic but of course, they had less experience on the garment dyeing technology and they are learning as we push each other forward.
In previous interviews, you've mentioned that "Stone Island loves challenges." Was garment dyeing the greatest challenge here?
Garment dyeing for us is like a cup of tea, or a cup of coffee rather as we're Italian. The challenge for us was working to different sizing, we're working to NikeLab's instead of our own. Another was that temperature for the garment dyeing is not easy to manage with the membrane, so we had to play with the process. It was a work-in-progress that required constant dialogue between the two of us. We worked as a team. It was a long process, nine months, but we're all very happy.
From last season's water and wind-resistant Mussola Gommata fabric, what is the innovation you're most excited by here?
It's a double material again but the real challenge to work with the membrane, we had to modify the machine to work at lower temperatures to create the spectrum of fantastic colours whilst maintaining a high performance windrunner jacket. Additionally, it can be packed into its left pocket and carried by the wearer with an attachable strap, thus transforming it from a garment to a pouch based on the need of the wearer.
What drew you back to the Nike Windrunner?
The windrunner is an iconic garment and for me, and I might be biased, becomes more iconic through the treatment. We will see about further products in the future.
From Supreme to Nikelab, we've seen a host of considered collaborations in the last 18 months. How important is collaboration to the future of Stone Island? What is the secret to a successful collaboration?
What I've come to understand over the last couple of years in particular, is that the future is for companies and brands that have a story to tell. Both Stone Island and NikeLab have many stories to tell. We don't need to change our way of storytelling but the challenge is reaching a growing audience who are ready to listen. Of course, the opportunity to collaborate with a brand such as Nike, one that is known, respected and admired worldwide, gives us the opportunity to speak to the world. The fact that the collaboration comes from NikeLab first, we're not very well known in America so it gives us further opportunity to move in a market that is opening up to us. The first goal was to create amazing product. The second, and this was unexpected, was to create new friends. And the third was the terrific opportunity to talk with the world.
What can you tell us about the future of this collaboration. Will there be more?
At the moment, we have no idea but we will talk.
Text Steve Salter