With over two decades of collaboration under their belts, designers and creative directors, Paul Harvey and Alessandro Pungetti, have formed a successful team that quite simply, works. Their contribution to the menswear landscape, both separately and as a partnership, is significant to say the least. During his 12 years at Stone Island in the mid ‘90s, Paul developed some of the most iconic outerwear pieces to come out of the former Massimo Osti label. Meanwhile, Alessandro is credited with adding a whole new dimension to the brand, bringing his knitwear know-how to a company best known for its outerwear.
Is the prospect of constant innovation exciting or terrifying?
Paul: The culture of innovation was a constant challenge and that was the great thing about the company, it’s why so many interesting things were created there. It was unique. When you’re having fun it’s great, when you’re not, it’s a different story. That’s one of the reasons I left. At one point I had worked 362 days straight – that’s not good. I would call Alessandro just to get his opinion on what was happening because I just couldn’t see it anymore, I couldn’t figure it out. I was just too involved.
A: It was very unusual to operate like this.
P: Perhaps there were a few Japanese brands pushing forward in a similar way, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons. The big houses like Gucci were trying to create something new, but for them it was about producing clothing solely to be photographed on the catwalk. We were creating clothing for people to wear; it was a totally different approach.
Stone Island was really incredible. From the moment you first walked in, you had to show what you could do and prove yourself. We were creating things that we couldn’t have elsewhere because a lot of other companies just wouldn’t have been prepared to do it. We’d been storing up all these ideas and then we’re in the environment where suddenly we could do whatever we wanted. There was an amazing amount of freedom. They always wanted to create the most complex product but the funny thing is that the really easy pieces were what Stone Island would find most difficult.