Style / Fashion

Everything You Need to Know About Stüssy

Here’s a rundown of one of the worlds most revered streetwear brand of all time.

Apr 06, 2022 | By Joseph Low
stussy world tour
Stüssy World Tour. Image: STÜSSY

There’s no doubt that Stüssy is one of the world’s greatest streetwear brands of all time. The Californian brand, founded by Shawn Stüssy in 1979, was initially a shop that sold surfboards crafted by the founder. There were no real financial goals, and Shawn simply wanted to share his passion for surfing with people. 

Shawn had begun designing surfboards when he was 13, and two years later, he got his first job shaping boards. After cutting his teeth for several years, Shawn decided to start his own surfboard business in Laguna Beach. In the 80s, Southern California was the epicentre of surf culture and it meant there were a plethora of brands offering similar products like Shawn’s.

To distinguish himself from other competitors, he scrawled his surname in thick recognisable strokes on the boards. And that is how the emblematic branding came to be for the brand. The move helped Shawn set his brand apart from others, but the cutthroat environment was not helping with daily sales at the shop. 

One way that could help spur the business on was to start a clothing line to supplement his surfboards. This was a pretty standard move that helped with revenue. It also marketed the brand name beyond the surfboard niche. Soon, the Stüssy logo was found on t-shirts, caps and other simple items. By the 1990s, the brand had grown to a considerable size with a flagship store in New York and other expansions into Europe.

This serendipitous turn of events saw Shawn focusing more on the Stüssy apparel line than the brand’s original roots. As a clothing empire, the Stüssy brand was not solely because of Shawn, but he had help from his business partner, Frank Sinatra Jr., who came onboard in 1984. The latter’s business acumen played a crucial role in steering the brand into its current position. 

stussy our legacy workshop
Stüssy & Our Legacy Work Shop. Image: STÜSSY
stussy and nike collab
Stüssy & Nike. Image: STÜSSY
stussy and nike collab
Stüssy & Nike. Image: STÜSSY
Stüssy Archive 2019 vintage
Stüssy Archive ’19. Image: STÜSSY
stussy archive 2019 vintage
Stüssy Archive ’19. Image: STÜSSY

The popularity of Stüssy skyrocketed during the 80s and 90s as it presented itself as a common ground for self-expression and minimalism. It aptly positioned itself with the zeitgeist and was rewarded with resounding success. Shawn’s vision of the brand helped to influence a generation of streetwear designers from James Jebbia of Supreme, Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment and Russell Simmons.

Stüssy’s success in the fashion world has encouraged other brands to want and collaborate with the brand. 

Stüssy x Carhartt WIP

Created in collaboration with Carhartt WIP and Dover Street Market, this capsule release carries Carhartt’s workwear aesthetic to that of Stüssy’s streetwear sensibilities. The pieces include Carhartt WIP’s classic bib overall in black cotton twill with white contrast stitching and a subtle co-branding embroidery on the right leg’s pocket. A matching vest made from Dearborn Canvas completes the look.

Stüssy x Fragment

In celebration of Stüssy’s 35th anniversary, Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment label has released a special collection. The two heavyweights of the streetwear world came together to design a series of styles. This includes three MA-1 Mod jackets, a trio of matching bonnie hats, and a range of monochrome t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and a couple of tailored oxford shirts. Overall, the range has clean lines and is understated, yet the bold logos put a touch of edginess to the collection.

Stüssy x Our Legacy Workshop

This collection released for Spring/Summer 2020 used surplus materials Our Legacy has accumulated over the decade. The result of this transatlantic collaboration is the melding of Swedish style with cool, laid-back California vibes. The Stüssy x Our Legacy collab range includes striped oxford shirts, long-sleeve tees, pants, tote bags, and other accessories. With the billowing style signature of Our Legacy, the collaboration is highly wearable and does not feel stifling. “These clothes are carefully designed to be worn big and have large amounts of fun in,” says the collaborative tag, and we couldn’t agree more!

Stüssy x Nike

As part of Nike’s 40th-anniversary celebrations for the Air Force 1, the duo is released a special pair of sneakers. It is rumoured that the Stüssy x Nike Air Force 1 Mid will come in three colourways. The forthcoming sneakers are presented with solid black overlays and Swooshes, while the toe boxes, quarters and collars contrast with white. The streetwear brand’s iconic signature is found on the toe boxes, tongue, and heels in its traditional print.

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