In the early 1990’s Massimo Osti left Sportswear Company, the mother enterprise of Stone Island, Boneville and C.P Company. He then started his own brands, like Left Hand, Massimo Osti Production and ST.95. Once again he launched textile innovation and some of them had military connotations like the Thermojoint for instance which was nuclear radiation resistant.
In the year of 1993 one of the best quality and understated label of them all was realised by Massimo Osti in partnership with Allergi. The label was called Left Hand and the first pieces were sold in late 94. The Left Hand label was relativity short lived and the last collection was seen in 1999. Using his many years experience of technical innovations with Stone Island and CP Company this new breed of garment was again years ahead of its time with cutting edge design and materials. This new brand was characterized by another exclusive material, a non-woven fabric made from pressed polyester and nylon fibers which, like felt, could be used with raw edge stitching. It was to become known as Thermojoint. The range consisted mainly of outer wear at first and they came with a hefty price tag with some well over £500.
The Left hand Thermojoint sale tag read: “FULLY WATER AND MIST-PROOF MATERIAL”
For the manufacture of durable protective garments, ideal for Fisherman and Fire-fighters apparel and for outdoor living outfits in general. 80% Protection against Nuclear Radiation.
LONG LIFE LOW MAINTENANCE RECYCLABLE
Above: Thermojoint inside label. All Thermojoint jackets have this inside.
The top end of Left Hand was the Thermojoint, the jackets claimed to give protection against nuclear radiation although no one has ever tested this claim to my knowledge. Its main characteristics are total resistance to water and wear, and has the appearance of a vinyl type material, they also had double taped seams to keep the weather out. As Osti had moved away from the sportswear company the Thermojoint was produced by an Italian company called its-artea. The jackets would often look plain but on closer inspection would be filled with small details like mobile phone pockets, Velcro adjusters, and fold away hoods. The branding was always more discreet with the heat embossed logo on the left arm and on the zip pulls. The label also produced in later collections many casual shirts, cargo pants, chinos, cardigans, jumpers, polo & tee shirts and even a small women’s range. Some of the designs we see today are direct descendants from Lefthand like the popular CP Company multi pocket Mille Miglia jackets, minus the goggles which have just been realised again for the S/S 11 collection.
The label had varying degrees of success around the UK being most popular in the North West of England and London but would be regularly seen on the sales racks at discounted prices at the end of each season. After the labels demise in 1999 the Thermojoint jackets instantly became a collector’s item and are still very much sought after today. They rarely surface on auction sites/forums and when they do they are normally in very large sizes. They can sell from a £100 to well over £250 depending on size, colour and of course condition.
Left Hand multi pocket jacket. One of my favourite jackets, this has been copied today by CP Company.
The condition of these can deteriorate when stored for long periods of time and not worn as some of the material can start to crack, normally when left folded.
This can happen also on all of the Vinyl type jackets. Fixing this is a real problem and it has to be done in the very early stages with glue or the jacket becomes a total write off and worthless. I have owned a few Thermojoint jackets and have never encountered this problem but all mine have been worn regularly each winter. Even today people often ask where did you get that jacket from and what make is it thinking incorrectly that it is new and available in the shops.
Thermojoint jacket with a shimmer effect. Many different styles and colours of this were released.
Bearing this in mind makes my attraction to the Left Hand label stronger because I know I will not see any one else wearing the same jacket and also that it is virtually impossible to buy one, well one that fits. I am still trying to track down certain Left Hand jackets like the Mustarded coloured Thermojoint in a size 46/8 but as ever they prove to be very elusive. The sizing is real old school on these and for a today’s standard size large say 22 or 23 inches across the chest you would be looking at a size 46 and 48 would be an extra large coming in at up to 24 ½ inches across the chest. The vast majority that do come up for sale are generally size 50 or 52 so the smaller sized attire always commands a higher price. The size of a garment can be seen on the internal label which will be found in one of the pockets and is marked Taglia. I have on occasion had a larger jacket altered to make them fit but care has to be taken in choosing one where this can be done. If there is any detail on the back or a lining, altering the jacket is a non starter and they can only be altered one size down or the jacket will lose its shape and desired look. The last one I had altered was a Left Hand summer with a button front featured in the pictures, the chest size came down from 24½ across the chest to 23 inches and the modification is undetectable.
Left Hand button summer jacket.
I have been wearing, collecting and selling Left Hand attire from the mid 90’s to the present day and have never tired of this label. The Multi pocket and Thermojoint are my personal favourites from the collections and I have owned over 20 jackets although now, my personal collection is down to 12. Even now some pieces that surface still amaze me with the quality and detail put into the design and manufacture of these clothes. One thing about Left Hand is they were definitely built to last.
Left Hand button summer jacket attention to detail and zip pulls.
Left Hand did become popular within the football casual culture but never became as prevalent as other labels such as Stone Island and CP Company; this is due partly to the branding being a lot more discreet with no large compass badge or a set of goggles, the cost of the garments and it not being readily available as a lot of shops didn’t stock it.
To my knowledge Left Hand has never been counterfeited like many other leading brands and this has helped it remain an inclusive label and one only known to the more discerning gentleman dresser, even in the 90‘s many people had no knowledge of Left Hand or that it was from the creator of Stone Island. Many of the designs are at home now as they were in the 90’s which shows the vision Massimo Osti had.
The information given in this article is to the best of my knowledge which has been gained through my own experience of the label and reading other articles about Left Hand and Massimo Osti himself. Oh and some of the information has been directly nicked off other articles that I have come across on the internet.
The man himself is still a legend in the fashion industry and still has a large influence on some modern day labels such as Ma Strum. There have also been rumours that Ma Strum may resurrect the Thermojoint with them having access to the Massimo Osti archive but we will have to wait and see. The Massimo Osti Archive is a textile archive which includes 5000 garments and over 50.000 fabric samples from approximately 300 textile mills and garment finishing companies from around the world. Also Boneville [BNV Sporting goods] one of his early labels is being released again for 2012. In my opinion if these labels are brought back they should keep them as near to the originals as possible as did CP Company for the 2010 release of the Urban Protection Metropolis or leave them in the past.
The late great Massimo Osti also went on to design and release Massimo Osti Production (1995–1998), ST95 (1996–1998), MO Far East Project (1999 – 1999) and Osti Double Use (2003–2005)
Left Hand by Massimo Osti
Article by Baz Hulme 2011 [Billy Whizz Fan Club] and all pictures taken by Chris Ryan not the S.A.S. man, the one known as Vanman.