Stone Island

My family has deep roots in the clothing sector. In the 19th century Giuseppe Rivetti – son of Giovanni Battista, the first carding machine operator in the Italian textile industry – carrying on the passion of his father, started to secretly sell cows from the family’s farm to purchase looms. In 1872 he founded his own wool mill: “Giuseppe Rivetti e Figli”, that later merged with the Turin-based group GFT (Gruppo Finanziario Tessile). It was then that my uncle Pinot had the brilliant idea to rubberise the fabrics from the mills, to make them more high-performance. My father Silvio, who also shared this propensity for research, left for the United States immediately after the war where he came across Palm Beach Incorporated, which made a product that didn’t exist yet in Europe: ready-to-wear clothing from theoretical measurements (what we now call sizes). He was amazed. He worked there for six months and when he returned home, he convinced his brothers to give up their shares in the mills to acquire all of GFT. In the early ‘50s, GFT literally measured more than 25,000 Italians, which allowed them to dress practically the entire nation, for the first time, with non-tailored clothing. The oil crisis of 1973 brought on a severe but rapid recession, and they realised that something had to be done to recover sales. It was then that my cousin, Marco Rivetti, noticed a French couturier working in a women’s outerwear company we had bought the year before. He designed and perfected garments, took them to Paris to sell and then had them produced. This man was named Emanuel Ungaro. This is how we understood that to relaunch the sector, we needed to add a fundamental ingredient to clothing: fashion. GFT soon became the licensee of the rising stars in Italian fashion, including Giorgio Armani and Valentino. The success of Made-in-Italy ready-to-wear was the result of the ability to combine entrepreneurial skills and creativity. I joined GFT in 1975. Towards the end of the decade I had the idea to open a new frontier within the group, to generate something unrelated to time: sportswear. In the early ‘80s, I discovered C.P. Company, an extremely cutting-edge and innovative business in that field. In 1983 we gained 50% and then the entirety of the company. My adventure began from there. In 1993 I left GFT and purchased, with my sister Cristina, 100% of the company that is now called Sportswear Company.

CARLO RIVETTI

STONE ISLAND