21 July 2016 15:00:00
Stussy: atop the wave
History of the brand keeping the fervor of Californian surfers for 35 years
Almost every large trend was born in a subculture, then extending to the crowds. Stussy is no different in the context, with surfing being their launch pad. Sunny beaches of California have always attracted pretty much youths, more than everpresent skateboard at times. How has Stussy launched and developed the clothing brand while surfers wear even less clothes than skaters?
Shake and bake business
The key personality of the business is Shawn Stussy. With limited room for creating clothes, Shawn began with the very first thing for any surfer – the board. Equipped with marker, he painted the famous wide logo onto the surfboards he was producing together with his assistant. Filling up the line with T-shirts, shorts and hats, Shawn was selling them right from his car parked near Laguna Beach. However, this is just a two-year long introduction from the early 80-s, while the Stussy brand truly broke out in 1984.
Road to top
The year of 1984 was the time when Shawn realized the whole potential of his project getting down and dirty to the official aspect, while his friend, Frank Sinatra Jr. became his partner. Frank was no relative to the legendary actor and singer, yet he was great on accountancy and finances, which made it possible to set up a store in SoHo, the respected part of Manhattan, just 4 years later, in 1988. In 1991, the earnings rose to 17 million dollars a year. Though enough of dry figures, what was so attractive about Stussy?
Unique and eclectic
The brilliant and ambitious vision of Shawn Stussy, above all else. Shawn was frank about his plans to turn the surfing fashion upside down, yet he succeeded. Featureless basic clothes no more, they combined the latest sports, punk and high fashion trends. No surprise that almost every youth group came under the influence of the brand immediately. The new image was not easy to identify with confidence, so everyone could take it on. Another advantage was Shawn’s collaborations with creative community – musicians, artists, and designers including those of underground. Setting up an artistic union named Stussy Tribe, they brought tidings of the brand everywhere they came – free of charge sure thing.
From crisis to Olympus
The 90-s kept the good things going, yet until the middle. This very decade, Stussy went way beyond the surfing world, becoming the iconic brand for hip-hop community. While drawing in new followers, Stussy attratcted rivals as well, excited to get their teeth into the wild subculture clothing market. Such brands as FUBU, Triple Five Soul, and Mecca USA in fact copied the style Shawn had set, and new customers were at a loss when choosing a product.
In 1996, the brand seemed to be buried among its own clones – the earnings fell by half, and Shawn Stussy left the company. Nevertheless, Stussy is still one of the most influential street fashion players competing with Supreme and A Bathing Ape. With Frank taking control after Shawn’s quit, and putting together a new team of young talents, Stussy got a new lease of life.
Young, but not reckless
“Young” is absolutely a key word here, as Stussy products have remained novel for more than 35 years. For example, David Sinatra, the current company director is just 28, while the average age of the employees is about 30. The impressive list of collaborations of the last few years only approves the selected course – one can find Fred Perry, Nike, Converse, Carhartt WIP, Clarks, SOPHNET., and many others in it. The reverence Stussy holds towards its positioning, partly inspires respect as well. The company is not the kind chasing profits at any costs, while every collection is a thoroughly thought-out move aimed to add to the existing company heritage. This approach has become the major factor distinguishing Stussy from the dozens of clone-brands. As a result, the company remains one of the most influential street fashion leaders today.
You can always have a look at the Stussy selection at our store.
StussyMen's Bomber Nylon MA-1 Khaki
StussyMen's Windbreaker Logo Coach White
StussyMen's Trousers Military Black
StussyMen's T-shirt High Tide White
StussyPanama SS-Link SP16 Black
StussyMen's Shoes x Clarks Originals Wallabee Golden Brown
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