How C.P. Company Became Your Favorite Brand’s Favorite Brand

In 1973, a mere two years after founding the brand, Osti revolutionized garment-dyeing, a process that sees garments made from raw, uncolored fabrics, and then dyed. What Osti and C.P. Company brought to the table was applying the garment-dyeing process to pieces made from multiple fabrics and textiles, which created rich, diverse color palettes that would develop awe-inspiring patinas as they aged with wear. In 1981, C.P. Company became the first to garment-dye synthetic fabrics, as opposed to natural ones—a process Stone Island would later turn into its trademark. But, at its roots, garment-dyeing is synonymous with C.P. Company.

The use of garment-dyeing is particularly notable when you think about what C.P. Company clothes actually look like – the process ends up completely transforming a canvas that is otherwise cold and colorless. The pieces themselves have a militaristic vibe to them that occasionally borders on the dystopian—see the brand’s famed Mille Miglia jacket, which features fold-down goggles on the hood that call to mind trench warfare-era gas masks. Plenty of ingeniously placed pockets or cleverly zippered compartments leave no illusion that these pieces are meant to serve a real-world purpose—cold, calculated design. But, as Pungetti points out, garment-dyeing adds “a warmth [and] something more romantic” to the pieces. Grigoletti, the marketing director, adds that “the garment-dyeing technique adds nuance and a human touch” to the pieces.

It also allows C.P. Company to create pieces that defy belief. Acronym co-founder Errolson Hugh still remembers the first time that he saw a reflective jacket, while visiting Studio Osti in Bologna, in the mid-’90s. “I saw my first reflective jacket (in blue!) on the back of Lorenzo Osti [Massimo’s son], as he came into the studio,” he recalls. “My jaw was on the floor and obviously nothing was the same after that.”

This is a recurring theme when talking to people about C.P. Company. “There was this magenta Watch Viewer jacket from two or three years ago that almost felt like crepe paper,” says Daniel Sandison, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Mundial, the soccer culture-centric magazine, and formerly of Hypebeast. “It was hot pink when everybody else was wearing a black Stone Island jacket. But I love that jacket because you looked like a paninaro in Milan in 1982.”

That aesthetic is central to C.P.’s identity and its success, particularly on British football terraces. “It’s Osti,” Sandison says. “It felt unreachable and luxurious in the early ‘90s—it wasn’t the aesthetic of working class Britain and they wanted to feel like they were from Florence or Milan. It was about looking like you were on a boat and not on a council estate.”

In some respects, C.P. Company has been the victim of its own success: Osti paved the way for a new generation of techwear brands—Acronym, Guerrilla Group, Nemen, and, yes, even Stone Island—while also hipping more traditional brands to the growing demand for functional sportswear. It mastered techniques that are now more closely associated with rival brands. It helped create the blueprint for the modern techwear aesthetic: the pockets, the fabrics, the urban utilitarian ethos behind the designs.

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