Lorenzo Osti Is Leading C.P. Company Toward UK Domination

Osti discusses C.P.’s impact on British subcultures, its expanding outlook on the sportswear scene, and its technically-focused SS23 collection.

Fashion 
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For over 50 years, C.P. Company has had an unbreakable bond with the UK’s football culture. It conquered the subcultural terrace scene by dressing fans, young and old, in-game day rigs, and its enviable influence has continuously scored among the community and beyond. A specific uniform coached football in the ‘70s and ‘80s; brands such as such as Fila and Lacoste held steady through it all, while C.P. Company was the get-up to get into – its European technical designs set it apart from the rest. Heading from Manchester to Liverpool, C.P. Company injected itself into the Scouse DNA and instructed the attire worn by football fans with an individualistic mentality.

Recognized as the “godfather of urban sportswear,” C.P. Company’s Massimo Osti (also the late founder of Stone Island) ignited a functional fashion movement through innovative dying techniques and fabric manipulation. Before his passing, Osti achieved monumental success, establishing his brand as an unstoppable sportswear titan. It accomplished this by referencing blue-collar industries and manual labor as the core of C.P. Company’s aesthetic before updating them as part of the modern utilitarian uniform. Thus, it struck the right cord between familiarity, functionality, and futurism.

Today, C.P. Company shows no signs of slowing down – notably eyeing up further potential in the UK market. The brand intends to influence younger generations through boundary-breaking menswear, acknowledging the Gen Z fashion identity while sustaining its long-lasting relationship with Millennials and Generation X – C.P. Company’s recent collaboration with Palace Skateboards is an example of how it is catering to youthful demographics in Britain’s athletic communities, merging the identity of both brands into one by combining C.P. Company’s military-inspired archive with Palace’s laidback streetwear.

Furthermore, the brand recently collaborated with UK multi-hyphenate Kano to create a limited-edition “Metropolis Series” Field Jacket collection that explored Kano’s disruptive musical background and C.P. Company’s borderless design approach. The range is available exclusively at FLANNELS now for pre-order. Visit the retailer’s website for more information.

C.P. Company continues this for Spring/Summer 2023, reinvigorating its historical Urban Protection range through technical-focused outlines that reflect the brand’s 2000s heyday. Dubbed the “Metropolis Series,” the collection is stimulated by the brand’s Metropolis jacket — a staple archival garment from 1999.

As C.P. Company continues to dominate the UK market, Hypebeast speaks with President Lorenzo Osti to speak about the brand’s British growth strategy, its extensive development master plan, and its new SS23 collection. Read on to find out how Osti plans to achieve C.P.’s dreams.

Hypebeast: C.P. Company has aligned itself with British streetwear culture. How did this come about?

Lorenzo Osti: The history of C.P. Company is closely tied to the UK. In the ‘80s, the brand took on subcultural significance with its inclusion as a part of British football culture. At that time, British football teams were starting to experience success in European tournaments, which meant crowds of young British fans traveled throughout Europe. During their travels, they came across different youth fashion subcultures in other countries and discovered brands that hadn’t made it over to British football fans yet. Some Italian brands became hugely popular as a part of this cultural exchange, and C.P. Company was one of them.

How has C.P. Company come to influence different style tribes across the UK?

C.P. Company is a brand focused on product quality and innovation. We have never tried to sell a particular lifestyle or a role model. This has kept the brand open to be adopted by people and subcultures from all walks of life.
At the same time, the brand has some subtle inner values that we think create a bond with customers or, as we like to say, become culturally relevant to them. I think this is one of the significant strengths of C.P. Company, and we have been able to remain relevant for 50 years across very different subcultures – from the Italian Avantgarde scene in the 1970s, the Paninari of the ’80s, the British casuals in the ’90s, or the rap scene nowadays.

How has C.P. Company become an emblematic brand on UK streets?

As my friend Professor Andrew Groves (Director of the Westminster Menswear Archive at the University of Westminster) brought to my attention, part of the reason why C.P. Company became so relevant in the UK, especially in the North of England, is due to the huge influence that workwear had on Massimo Osti’s work. For the UK’s working-class communities, Massimo’s designs might have looked somehow familiar — even if only on an unconscious level — as a sophisticated and refined version of their daily workwear.

Part of the reason why C.P. Company became so relevant in the UK, especially in the North of England, is due to the huge influence that workwear had on Massimo Osti’s work.

What do you wish to communicate and deliver to the local audience?

We want our loyal community to feel like a part of our family. We especially want to foster this family of fans in the UK, where the affection that British football fans and casuals have for C.P. Company has kept the brand alive for many years – even when it was losing relevance in other markets. We are deeply grateful to this community, and we want to pay back their loyalty. This is why we launched our Brotherhood program, where fans and customers can gain all sorts of rewards, early access, and even invitations to workshops hosted by the brand.

What were your main points of inspiration for C.P. Company’s SS23 collection?

For the SS23 season, C.P. Company shows its most adventurous side, focusing on the outdoors and nature. The common thread of the entire collection is the marriage of nature and technology: natural fibers are mixed with recycled technical fabrics to create brand-new materials.

We give massive importance to a number of artisanal prints that integrate handmade and old-fashioned craftsmanship techniques into a forward-thinking and modern design process. These artisanal techniques elevate the garments and keep the knowledge of the printers at the Marchi laboratory alive. This print shop in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy has been running since 1633 and specializes in wood-block printing. As a total antithesis to serial mass production, each piece is unique, and quantities are limited.

Walk me through the design process behind the collection.

Each C.P. Company season is developed starting with fabric research, determining how to combine our industrial technical knowledge with an aesthetic sensitivity. Our aim is to create materials that exalt the functionality of the garments and, at the same time, enhance their visual appearance and touch – which has always been one of the core values in our design process. Weatherproof garments have always been a focus for us, which is fundamental for the UK landscape. We have raised the bar in terms of fabric technical performance with our ongoing collaboration with GORE-TEX.

What can the UK expect to come next from C.P. Company?

The UK market continues to be the first priority for C.P. Company, and we want to keep on growing there: gaining brand awareness with younger consumers while still honoring longtime fans. Following the opening of our new London flagship store on Brewer Street, we’re planning a new store in Manchester, as well as scaling our operations with our other retail partners.

Elsewhere, JOURNAL STANDARD taps YOKE and Barbour for deconstructed collaboration.

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