Since its inception in 1982, Stone Island has cultivated a worldwide cult following for its research-driven, experimentation-powered, functional-focussed outerwear. Neither strictly fashion, nor luxury, nor streetwear, the Ravarino-based brand has combined all three elements into a unique mix that has resonated with everyone from Milanese Paninari to British terrace casuals, and North American hip-hop stans. So why not the lawns of Finsbury Park Bowls Club, a friendly parks club that has been part of life in north London since 1900?
Combining a playful, tongue-in-cheek subversion of terrace culture with a celebration of Stone Island’s appeal in the dressing room and dug outs of the world’s best teams, LN-CC styled three young Arsenal Academy stars in Stone Island as they interacted with the sport of lawn bowls for the first time.
“This is my first time on a bowling green and it’s obviously completely different to football, but it’s been great to switch.,” 21-year-old midfielder Tim Akinola tells LN-CC. A world away from the news headlines of transfer deadline day and the afternoon after an impressive away cup win, Akinola – who has since joined National League side Chesterfield on a season-long loan – was joined by fellow Arsenal Academy stars Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Joel Ideho for an introduction to bowls. “Bowls is more skills-based and technical than I thought it was,” abmits 19-year-old winger Butler-Oyedi. “It’s been fun to learn a new game,” 19-year-old winger Ideho adds. Throughout the afternoon and led by team captain Paul Paine, the welcoming members of Finsbury Park Bowls Club were on hand to demonstrate their own skill, while teaching the young trio how to play bowls like a seasoned amateur. More than a game, Finsbury Park Bowls Club offers a sense of community and it was a pleasure to experience it firsthand.
Earlier this year, Arsenal’s “starboy” and England hero Bukayo Saka swapped his shorts for starched white trousers as he visited the club to both promote the launch of the new season Arsenal kit and highlight key communities within the local area. LN-CC wanted to do the same, but through the lens of Stone Island. If Saka, Ideho, Butler-Oydeji and Akinola can all enjoy a game on the green, why can’t a new generation of players join their local bowls clubs? But what LN-CC didn’t quite expect is just how interested some of the bowls club characters were of Stone Island autumn/winter 22.
While a special edition of Saka’s number 7 shirt is proudly framed on the wall of the clubhouse, the local bowls players were even more taken with trying on LN-CC’s rails of Stone Island. “The jackets are out of my league, but they’re stylish, fit well and I can see why the younger generation like them so much,” club captain Peter tells LN-CC. “I hadn’t heard of Stone Island before,” Fred ‘the Fag’ adds, “but I’ve enjoyed wearing the jackets because they’re nice and warm.” Never underestimate the cross-generational appeal of well-designed outerwear. Stone Island is for everyone!