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Stussy was founded in the early eighties in Orange County California; since then it has stayed on the cutting edge of street fashion. The cult surfboarder Shaun Stussy, created the defining Stussy logo when he scrawled his surname on handcrafted surfboards with a marker pen.
This signature logo was taken from the boards and applied to t shirts, shorts and caps, which Stussy sold from the back of his car around the Laguna Beach area of California. Stussy was influenced by his love of punk rock music, his 'anarchic attitude' spilled over into his fashion and his approach to business. During the day, Stussy continued to shape surfboards and by night he drifted further into the apparel business, searching for clothes which he and his friends liked to wear.
Four years later Stussy got together with a friend, Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to the famous singer). Sinatra and Stussy had surfed together as teenagers but, whereas Stussy had remained working with his surfboard roots - and viewed the clothing as a sideline - Sinatra had trained as an accountant. Sinatra possessed the business acumen that Stussy lacked and saw the potential in the company. The apparel company expanded and developed into a new wave beach culture. In 1986 the company registered the Stussy trademark in the United States.
By the late 1980's, the company had expanded into Europe where it became an immediate success. The clothing line was not only stocked in surf shops but, also upmarket boutiques and department stores in New York, England, Australia and Japan. The brand was sold as exclusive 'California Lifestyle' clothing and stocked with high-end international designers. A boutique Stussy store was opened in SoHo, New York. Inspiration for the street wear brand came from an international group of musicians, skaters, DJ's and artists. Stussy described his brand as 'prep meets punk meets b-boy' (beach boy).
What had started out as beachwear, had by then become amalgamated with skatewear, surplus, hip-hop and preppy to become street fashion. Stussy hats, T shirts and jackets became collectable which resulted in a vintage market. The appeal of the clothing became so big, that personal friends of Shaun Stussy became known as the 'International Stussy Tribe'. Without needing to resort to advertising or giving clothes to celebrities, the brand still featured in music videos and magazines around the world.
In 1996 Shaun Stussy resigned as president from the company, agreeing to stay on as design consultant. Sinatra bought his shares and continued to expand the company with the launch of a women's collection in 2001. Stussy began to sponsor skateboarders, to increase the brand awareness. Today, after being in existence for twenty years, Stussy has stood the test of time; and continues to be a respected brand with a firm niche in worldwide fashion and underground culture.
For more information on the brand, check out our Stussy blog post