Massimo
Osti

Massimo Osti started work in the creative industry as a graphic designer in the 60’s. After initial success printing t-shirts using methods typically used for paper, he became a founding partner at Chester Perry, where he designed his first menswear collection in 1970. Osti named the company after the workplace of Bristow, a famous comic character drawn by Frank Dickens and published by the Italian magazine Linus.

The early success of Chester Perry became evident when in the mid 70’s British clothing brands Chester Barry and Fred Perry jointly sued the designer from Bologna, for the theft of their name and surname respectively. Forced to change, Osti retained the initials of Chester Perry to form the hugely celebrated C.P. Company label. The name change proved not to be massively detrimental to the avant-garde sportswear brand who turned over 24 billion Italian Lira in 1981 (12 Million Euros today).

A passion for experimentation was one of the main motivating factors behind all of Massimo Osti’s work. Within his clothing lines research follows through the entire creative process of each garment. This development was inspired by an expansive archive of used military garments, which Osti had collected since the beginning of his career. With the intuition of a metropolitan alchemist, he dedicated himself to a continuous experimentation on materials and finishes. The invention of new fabrics, dyeing processes and finishes are always positive breaking points, and often led to the birth of new lines.

This was the case for Stone Island, which was created to utilise an innovative bicolour reversible stonewashed canvas, inspired by the tarpaulin often found covering Military trucks. By the end of the 80s and after the sale of all his shares to GFT (which would later become Sportswear SpA), Osti’s clothing brands number five: C.P. Company, C.P. Company Baby, Boneville, Stone Island and C.P. Collection. In addition to these brands is C.P. Magazine, the catalogue that illustrated his lines, and which was sold at newsstands and in stores with a circulation of over 50,000 copies.

Osti's commitment to the invention of new fabrics, such as the thermosensitive Ice range for Stone Island, which changes colour with temperature change, didn’t prevent him from also constantly challenging his own abilities in other sectors. Following the production of a documentary to raise awareness about the problems of deforestation of the Amazon, and the financing of a project for the invention of an electric car, Osti and CP Company dressed the 1988 edition of the Mille Miglia (100 mile vintage car race) as well as the Federazione Italiana Golf (Italian Golf Federation) during their international tournaments.

These events were also flanked by other projects, such as the restyling of the iconic Vespa motor scooter for Piaggio, and a prototype for Volvo’s overalls.

The success of his lines contributed to a phenomenal surge in the early 90s of the company, of which Osti was still the President, resulting in a turnover of over 90 billion Italian Lira (45 Million Euros), with more than 1500 stores all over the world, and hardly owing anything to advertising. In contrast to the trends of other international brands, Osti’s creations aren’t reminiscent of constructed and unreal worlds. Removing catwalks and advertising campaigns puts the spotlight firmly on the product, stripped of every other element, this follows the designer’s will to focus exclusively on the creative and functional innovation of the clothes. This attitude of loyalty to the consumer is a constant element that runs through his career, which was also evident in the brands that he created after the conclusion of the creative partnership with GFT/Sportswear and the original lines that brought him international success. In fact, the remainder of the 90s sees new collaborations follow, cadenced by the rhythm of invention of new fabrics, features and projects. The lines created by Osti in this period are Left Hand, Massimo Osti Production, Far East and OM Project.

Osti also designs the Superga clothing line, the Equipment For Legs trousers designed for Dockers, the ICD jackets designed for Levis and, among the latest creations, a futuristic jacket born from the collaboration with Philips and Levis, equipped with a cell phone and MP3 player.

In 1999, Arena Homme plus magazine crowns Massimo Osti as the most influent designer of the 1990s. Many others will become define him as the father of sportswear and techno-fashion. It is certain that his professional philosophy and his technological innovations have opened new roads to the world of fashion.