The lore surrounding C.P. Company’s origin is a story that deserves to be told, and so here we are with a little history lesson and then some.
Founded in 1971 by Italian designer Massimo Osti, the label’s working title was Chester Perry. In a pioneering move, prophetic of upstart streetwear brands today, initial success resulted from Osti’s graphic-printed T-shirts. In fact, it was enough to draw the ire of rivals from across the English Channel. British brands Chester Barry and Fred Perry threatened Osti with lawsuits for supposed usage of their names. In favour of avoiding the lengthy legal process, Osti relinquished the brand name, and turned its initials into his new entity: C.P. Company.
Image credit: @massimoostiarchive
Making inroads in the fashion industry with his screen-printing experience, Osti sought to advance the technical execution of his brand. From around 1978, the next step was pioneering garment dyeing. As the name suggests, it’s a process involving entire garments dunked in dye, rather than the materials before the piece is sewn. Osti wasn’t the first to use the process, but he was the first to garment dye clothing made from mixed materials — a significant achievement considering synthetic fibres take dye differently compared to natural ones.
It’s not just garment dyeing that C.P. Company is known for. Perhaps their most recognisable design is the Goggle Jacket, a seemingly steampunk-inspired piece featuring functional lenses grafted onto the hood. Outside of football-obsessed Europe, the purpose of these lenses may be a peculiarity. In reality, the explanation is quite simple. When the jacket is zipped up, and the hood raised, the lenses cover the wearer’s eyes, offering protection from the wind. Some editions also come with a clear window on the left wrist to read watches underneath the sleeve!
Image credit: C.P. Company
These features may be a bit of an anachronism in this day and age. However, despite the label changing owners in recent years, it’s a welcome preservation of Osti’s original vision for C.P. Company’s functional utilitarian aesthetic.
The original Goggle Jacket debuted circa 1988 for Italian motorsport event, the Mille Maglia, but it’s more likely to be found today lining the stands at the UK’s biggest football derbies. Such is the popularity of the Goggle Jacket in the region’s ‘Football Casual’ movement, that adidas – the quintessential footwear of the style – collaborated with C.P. Company on a highly sought-after capsule.
Image credit: adidas
Outside of the Goggle Jacket, C.P. Company’s outerwear, particularly jackets, is their specialty. Sure, the range is designed with versatility in mind, but certain pieces excel for specific uses. Knitted fleeces make for lightweight layers, available in classic crew necks and effective fleece zip turtle necks. When it’s cool but not too cold, the sensibly named Medium Jacket with its PrimaLoft insulation and tall neck does the job. And, for the chilliest months, the eponymous CP Shell Zip Front Lens Jacket adds an extra protective layer, without compromising movement or style.
The same can be said about their approach to trousers. Due to the baggy styling, ripped hems (and maybe a wallet chain or two), cargo pants may evoke embarrassing memories of decades gone by. However, C.P. Company reinvents the wheel, modernising the silhouette with a modern, tapered fit and premium materials like brushed cotton. Of course, extra mid-thigh pockets are still here to carry extra baggage.
Image credit: C.P. Company
Despite their strong focus on complex pieces, C.P. Company still get the basics right. Clean printed logo T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts in bright colours contrasting on black allude to Osti’s beginnings in the fashion world. Even the humble bucket hat receives the premium treatment, as stealthy embroidered branding and hidden external pocket reaffirm the hallmarks of a brand that puts function first.
With the latest season of C.P. Company hitting SneakerHub right now, you can zip up the newest Goggle Jacket and see the world through Massimo Osti’s eyes.
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