First introducing himself to the design world through his love for surfing, in 1979 Shawn Stussy launched his own surfboard company aged 24, his designs were influenced by his love for punk rock music and attitudes from musical influences from the likes of The Clash, plus reggae and hip-hop musicians. Having developed the signature Stussy logo after needing to distinguish his boards from other shapers, Shawn began screen printing the design onto tees and sweats to help spur on board sales. Recognised for his uncommon new wave, punk influenced surfboard graphic designs, the signature logo began to be seen as ‘new wave anarchic’. With increasing popularity and interest, Stussy began moving further toward the apparel side of the business. Having come from a creative family - his parents owning a print business where Stussy learnt to screen print at an early age and his grandparents being artists and sculptors - Shawn always drew influence from a range of sources, looking worldwide and not just at his local surf break.
After teaming up with an old surf friend, Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to the musical family) who saw potential in the apparel side of the business, the two teamed up and in 1984 Stussy Inc was established. Shawn’s approach to design was to take a classic style and apply a twist, which, in the mid 1980s when shoppers were seeking a more casual look as opposed to the overbearing avant-garde high fashion styles, meant Stussy’s approach hit the spot. In the early 90s, the brand quickly gained a strong following within the hip-hop and DJ scene’s, hype was created around the brand following the decision to create exclusivity by limiting production which even at the time, created a demand for ‘vintage’ Stussy designs.
Following the success after launching in Europe, the brand continued to succeed globally and in 1991 Stussy opened their first boutique in SoHo, New York. In 1996 Shawn Stussy resigned from the company, selling the business to Sinatra, who promised to continue the brand just the same as when Shawn had been on-board, Sinatra did just this and successfully introduced more key players to the Stussy brand family. A few years on Stussy collaborated with Nike who were well aware of the brand’s history and influence in streetwear culture and the pair collaborated resulting in the Nike x Stussy Huarache. Following on from the first collab success, in 2001 we saw another release of an extremely limited batch of Nike Dunk Highs. These releases matched the increasing interest from Sneakerheads, the notable impact Stussy made from being one of the first streetwear brands to release a sportswear trainer collaboration goes without saying. One of the most notable partnerships was from 2011 - 2006; Robbie Jeffers worked with Stussy to develop their first skate team, alongside also helping Nike launch their SB programme.
Considered by many as one of the greatest streetwear brands of all time, Stussy has influenced the creation of other well known brands such as Goodenough, Supreme and Undefeated.
Stussy’s latest AW18 collection confidently showcases their more daring side through energetic digital prints featuring giant eyeballs, photographic woodland scenes, and strong tonal plaids alongside unexpected fabric combinations - poly velour, ripstop, dry terry. Noted by the brand to have included notably tougher fabrics, and more streamlined graphics and prints, the AW18 collection is a strong nod to what the brand has in store for future seasons and we can really sense the mixture of influences that Stussy founder, Shawn was renowned for. Vibrant lime minty greens sit amongst coral oranges and popping reds giving the collection a fresh offbeat vibe. The famous Stussy logo still features heavily with a few mixups here and there, noticeable on their 1950s inspired pieces which is carried through to their tees and hoodies, the logo has been adapted to clean embroidery adding more textures to the vibrant and unexpected colour palette.
Shop Stussy at Flatspot.