Rivetti was inspired by the vibrant colors and the efficient nature of Tibet’s Buddhist monasteries, dreaming of the possibilities of using knitwear to include high-performance fabrics. He reached out to the recognized designer Errolson Hugh with a collaboration proposal.
Rivetti recognized that Errelsons’ ingenuity and masterful sense of modern fashion would give birth to Shadow Project (symbolically named to represent a shadow of the Stone Island brand while having its own creative and production process).
Merging of Science and Fashion
The best techwear brands are known for providing performance, comfort, and looks in the most innovative way possible. Competitively, Stone Islands Shadow Project introduces a detail-oriented creative process that aims to reproduce fashion through a scientific outlook.
The word “performance” is popularly associated with hard data and benchmarks, and we use it to show how something is better than another on a particular aspect. On a more scientific take, performance is measured by collecting and analyzing information that shows how effectively and efficiently an object fulfills its purpose. The most popular schematic related to this concept is the Radar Chart.
Radar Charts are graphics that display multiple variables (important strengths or advantages) to have a visual understanding of how well something performs in different situations. It can be applied to anything, be it machinery, tools, pc components, and even individuals.
For Errelson and his Shadow Project team, techwear fundamentally addresses functionality, fashion, and protection the way a sportscar addresses acceleration, weight, horsepower, and displacement. It only made sense that techwear could be classified and objectively compared based on the strengths and advantages that it gives to its wearer.
Consequently, Stone Island Shadow Project created the first Techwear Fashion Radar Chart to this day: The PARSEQ Grid.
The PARSEQ Grid
This grid works like a radar chart, allowing the Shadow Project design team to categorize clothing pieces based on top techwear standards. Simultaneously, the grid informs their clients in which aspect a clothing piece excels. In an exciting presentation from Errelson, the recognized fashion designer explained the variables of this pentagon-shaped fashion radar chart. Let’s see what each word in PARSEQ stands for:
Proof relates to a garment’s capacity to provide its wearer with wind and water protection while being breathable. Next is Augment, which relates to each clothing piece adaptation and customization. Modular designs allow different pieces in a collection to combine, therefore adding capabilities (performance letters working together) as they present the wearer with various aesthetic options when using them.
For instance, garments can come in two to achieve both P and R grid conditions (i.e. Jackets with attachable under-jackets can be worn together to score an “R” or be worn separately, offering a P value on their own).
Resist relates to the garment’s reliability for different uses and how it can further protect you in different environments. For instance, clothing pieces that present an “R” use harder fabrics, protecting the wearer in less casual environment conditions (while still having a stylish look).
R-graded clothing pieces present fabrics such as high-performance wool, Trylon flock fabrics, and razor R fabrics. Shadow Project even uses the awesome David T: a Japanese sub strait used in the automotive industry, which through sheet induced compression, can be used in blazers and jackets (spoiler alert: this material is perfect for bicycle and/or motorcycle riding).
Similarly, Skin relates to the garment’s contact layer. These clothing pieces have the primary function of providing you with comfort. Shirts, inner hoodie fabrics, inner pant fabrics, and inner jacket fabrics are pleasant to the touch and are completely hypoallergenic.
Equip relates to the garments’ ability to provide you with easy access and support. Its design consideration includes convenient positioning and sufficient quantities of entry pockets and storage that protect devices from UV light, static, heat, cold, and water as much as they prevent annoying falls that could break them.
Now that we know (in detail) the ins and outs of the PARSEQ grid, let’s take a look at some of their most recent collections and their advantages:
This season techwear garments focused on offering vibrant colors instead of the usual dark color palette for which Shadow Project is notoriously known for. Nonetheless, despite this explosion of colors, pieces such as the Bomber Jacket, Articulated Coach Jacket, and Hooded Coat are highlighted with the most technical materials and patterns covering all PARSEQ letters.
The Fall/Winter collection presents understated neutral tones while offering significant innovations via knitting and design advancements.
Weatherproof GORE-TEX Paclite saw a comeback in this collection, as well as indigo dye and Dyneema bonding. This dye treatment is one of Shadow Project trademarks and uses rubberized linen garments with dynamic, uneven sheen.
Another innovation is the Pass-Through Enclosure System: inner pockets can “pass-through” and lock onto outerwear through velcro strips, making this one of the most versatile collections presented by Stone Island.
Techwear is at a crossroads between high-performance clothing and more trend-chasing fast fashion. Nonetheless, the Stone Island customer base has proven to be surprisingly loyal, sticking with the brand for many years. Techwear connoisseurs appreciate The Hugh-Stone Island collaboration since it has achieved a remarkable balance between fashion and performance.