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Established in the early 1980s, Stüssy would go on to become an irreplaceable keystone in the modern streetwear industry. Remaining a dominant force in 2015, Stüssy is one of a steadily decreasing number of independent entities within the streetwear landscape, and is still operated by David Sinatra, the son of original co-founder Frank Sinatra Jr. BoF is behind the latest exploration into Stüssy’s ascent to the top of the streetwear pyramid, and which factors have led them to where they are today. Including quotes from the likes of Chris Gibbs from Union LA, Michael Kopelman from London’s now-defunct The Hideout, and David Sinatra, check out some excerpts below.
“In the brand’s infancy, Shawn Stüssy to travel to cities like London, Paris and Tokyo, where he found people who shared the same tastes in music, fashion, and culture. In 1991, Shawn Stüssy and James Jebbia, then-owner of Union and future founder of streetwear label Supreme, opened Stüssy’s first flagship store in New York. A 900-square-foot space located at 104 Prince Street, it was part of the first crop of retailers that planted their flags in the still-gritty, up-and-coming Soho neighbourhood.
Stüssy also traded in the currency of the logo flip — the reinterpretation of famous trademarks and images with a knowing nod, channelling the attitude of placing graffiti or a sticker over a subway ad. In addition to Stüssy’s Chanel homages, the younger Sinatra remembers one particular Stüssy pattern modelled after Louis Vuitton’s monogrammed print: “I know Shawn did it, it was probably in the late ‘80s, we called it ’Stu-ey Vuitton,’ and we got sued for it, actually.””