an informal history
C.P. Company are celebrating 50 years with 50 voices: window cleaners, rock stars, tattooists, stylists, entrepreneurs, graffiti artists, publishers, teachers, designers – these are just a few that comprise its new monograph, released later this month. C.P. Company 971 – 021. An informal history of Italian sportswear will tell the wider story of one of Italy’s most influential streetwear innovators, celebrating its values and success with those who know it best.
The story begins in 1971, when when Massimo Osti, a young graphic designer from Bologna, launched his own t-shirt label, Chester Perry. With its pioneering ‘lived-in look’ that felt unlike anything at the time, the brand’s early success stemmed from its unique emphasis on the comfort and functionality of military uniform and workwear. By the early 80s, the brand was synonymous for its re-appropriation of sportswear, a look that was soon adopted by various subcultures that raised the brand’s international profile. From the Milanese paninari to British football casuals, C.P. Company became the de facto streetwear uniform across Europe, returning to the origins of its early designs while advancing the evolution of urban style.
This early history is a crucial part of the new monograph, told by historical designers like Moreno Ferrari, Alessandro Pungetti and Paul Harvey alongside more contemporary contributions that reflect both how far the brand has evolved and how closely it has remained loyal to its founding principles. Each voice reflects a different relationship to the brand but all 50 entries are marked by a shared bond that unites multiple generations from across the world, from avid collectors to life-long employees of the company, world famous stars to unknown fans.
In the words of Lorenzo Osti, son of Massimo and president of C.P. Company, the book taps into the soul the brand.“The ability to understand the present and interpret it… in some way, this is the meaning of this book,” he says. “A gallery of portraits of real people, all very different from each other, some famous, some not, some young, and some old, all united by their profound relationship to this brand. These are people for whom C.P. Company has represented something more than just a brand of clothing to wear; for them it has become an idea, something that has signaled important moments in their life, and with which they have created an empathetic relationship.”