Blue Stüssy Logo on a White T-Shirt by the Lake

stussy by the lake

Stüssy (/ˈstuːsi/ STOO-see) is an American clothing brand and private company started sometime in the early 1980s by Shawn Stussy. The company is one of many that benefited from the surfwear trend originating in Orange County, California, but it has largely been adopted by the skateboard and hip-hop scenes.

The company founder, Shawn Stussy (born 1954), was a Californian manufacturer of surfboards.  The logo which has defined the brand started in the early 1980s after he began scrawling his surname on his handcrafted surfboards with a broad tipped marker. He began using the logo on T-shirts, shorts, and caps that he sold out of his car around Laguna Beach, California. The signature was derived from that of his uncle, Jan Stussy.

A stylized “s” called the “Cool S”, resembling a Möbius strip is often mistakenly attributed to the brand.

In 1984, Stussy and his friend, Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to the singer), partnered to sell the apparel. The company expanded to Europe by 1988 and later opened a boutique store in SoHo, New York. The brand continued to open successful locations throughout the 1990s. It was reported that revenues reached $17 million in 1991and $20 million in 1992. By 1992, the brand was sold throughout the United States at speciality boutiques and department stores alongside other high-priced “California lifestyle” clothing. Outside of the country, the brand was found in specialty shops alongside clothing from high-end international designers.

In 1996, Stussy resigned as president of the company and Sinatra bought his share of the company holdings. The Sinatra family still owns the brand. According to the company’s website, the apparel is available in company-branded stores and other retailers in Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Photo by Crystal Jo

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