As a long-established favourite here at Garbstore, we thought it was only right to pay our respects and dive into the history of Stüssy.

Despite its humble origins, the monolithic brand has not only played a crucial role in the rise of contemporary streetwear, but also consistently opted to stand apart from its peers in defining what it truly means to be part of 'the culture'.

Stüssy T-shirt and sweatpants styled by Garbstore

Organic Origins

For a brand with an emphasis on authenticity, it seems only fitting that the origins of Stüssy came organically, as an extension of a wider lifestyle and cultural movement – specifically the 1980’s Southern Californian surf scene. An avid surfer and board shaper, brand founder Shawn Stüssy's laid-back lifestyle and love of the Laguna Beach waves would serve as a direct inspiration for the brand he would go on to found.

Originally screen printed across a small run of T-shirts to help promote his surfboards, Shawn's hand-scrawled insignia – both unique and instantly identifiable – would resonate within his local community and serve as the foundation for further experimentation within the medium of clothing.

Stüssy shot using motion blur

Gaining Momentum

Subsequently, with a newfound means of representing its founder's community, the fledgling Stüssy clothing brand would continue to gather momentum into the early 1990s. The label was soon attracting attention and capturing the imagination of the youth due to its genuine, unlaboured connection to surrounding movements and underground subcultures.

With such intrinsic ties to the California surf scene, it wouldn’t take long for the brand’s appeal to be picked up by the neighbouring worlds of skateboarding and music.

Stüssy hoodie and Garbstore cargo trousers styled by Garbstore

Message Of Authenticity

Stüssy clothing would soon come to represent a mindset and cultural identity as much as it did a brand. Tastemakers within fashion, sports, music, and the arts gravitated toward the label's message of authenticity, with the ‘International Stüssy Tribe’ moniker becoming something of an umbrella, uniting those in the know through a shared love of underground cultures.

With the brand's bold, stylised graphic prints becoming a banner of unification, Stüssy hats, Stüssy T-shirts, Stüssy hoodies and accessories could be easily spotted on skateboarders, DJs, rappers, and graffiti artists alike – a signifier of the brand's close approximation to the beating heart of culture. This natural integration into the uniform of the youth would see Stüssy become one of the leading names associated with the era's burgeoning 'streetwear' movement.

 

Stüssy sweater draped over metal wire fence

Forming A Legacy

Despite continuing to grow in stature and soon occupying a more corporate, international status, Stüssy has always remained in touch with its roots. Well-planned collaborations across multiple industries allowed the label to keep a finger intently on the pulse. Co-branded Nike sneakers, such as the Stüssy SB Dunks and Stüssy Air Force Ones have become coveted artefacts within the space, whilst joint ventures with esteemed Japanese labels BAPE, Fragment Design and Comme des Garçons only served to further the awareness and cult-like appeal held by the brand.

Along with its iconic script logo, repeated motifs like the Stüssy Crown, Stüssy Skull, and Interlocking S logo have pervaded the wardrobes of the young and old alike, seeing the brand transcend generational boundaries and becoming a legacy name within the genre of streetwear. Despite over thirty years in the game, the brand shows no signs of slowing down, continually releasing well-received collections, whilst remaining as relevant and authentic as ever.

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