Celebrating one of streetwear’s longest serving dons, the legends of Soho - Dukes Cupboard - bring together a team of brand Stans to pen a love letter to Stüssy in this exclusive editorial.
Streetwear: a global phenomenon that has taken over the fashion landscape as we know it, transcending its grassroots to rise to the very forefront of the global style conversation and acting as a catalyst to a paradigmatic shift which has democratised (or sort of) the entire industry. Blurring the lines between casual comfort and high-fashion, what stemmed from a culture clash of New York hip-hop and California surf has grown into a catch-all term for fashion driven by youth culture the world over. Sitting at the center of it all? Stüssy.
Celebrating their 40th anniversary last winter, the OG has held its status as an enduring symbol of streetwear for nearly half a century. Founded by Shawn Stüssy in the early 80s, Stüssy was created unintentionally out of Shawn’s love of surf culture. Originally a surfer shaping his own boards for friends in Laguna Beach, Shawn began printing tees and shorts to sell alongside the surfboards to promote his brand, adorned with his surname in the hand-drawn graffiti style that would become the iconic logo flexed from the wards of Tokyo to the boroughs of London.
After making a name for itself in the modest markets of US surf and skate in the late 80s, Stüssy’s transformation into a household name came at a time when cultural shifts in contemporary pop culture began to occur. As more underground subcultures emerged, Stüssy’s low-key vibe and ‘it’s whatever’ attitude resonated; appealing to a worldwide audience of youth whose passions and self-concepts sat at the intersection of surf, skate, and underground music.
Garnering the co-sign from a spread of influential musicians, DJs, skaters and creatives which spoke to the sensibilities of the multi-faceted fanbase the brand was accumulating, a global community known as the ‘International Stüssy Tribe’ emerged. Their network of tribe members wearing the brands in clubs and on influential scenes pushed Stüssy stratospheric.
For many, Stüssy was their first exposure to what has evolved into the cultural juggernaut that streetwear has evolved into. When talking to Milo from Dukes Cupboard he reminisced about Stüssy being one of the first brands he was into as a youth, “I remember asking my mum to take me to the store in Covent Garden back in the day when I was about 11! They used to have a glass door with a handprint you would have to put your hand on for it to open”.
Milo’s love for Stüssy lasted through his adolescences and into adulthood – no mean feat on today’s overstaturated streetwear scene where fast fashion brands endlessly hop on youth driven trends, diluting their authenticity and quickly killing them dead. This staying power is testament to Stüssy adapting to the times. “I guess part of the reason why Stüssy has lasted the test of time is because they’ve always made such a wide range of stuff and been really creative with their designs – it’s the kind of brand that all ages can wear and has always been super versatile,” Milo said.
40 years in the making, the Stüssy garment archive is the stuff of streetwear legend. Carefully navigating four decades worth of pieces, the team over at Dukes Cupboard have become known for their careful curation of the brand, stocking rare finds from 80s and 90s era Stüssy. “The pieces in the shoot are all 80s & 90s Stüssy bits – they’re the kind of Stüssy pieces we sell in our store. Beautiful faded graphic tees as well as the iconic varsity jackets – some of which will be available in store and online on Monday 1st November.”
Echoing the sentiments of early era Stüssy, the editorial offers a London reimagining of a coastal California road trip. “For the shoot we wanted to capture the tribe feel and tell a story about Stüssy in London – it’s a brand that was worn by myself and a lot of my friends growing up. The 1970s Citroen DS Estate felt like the right car to go with the collection of vintage Stüssy and the group of models.” The undisputed star of the shoot is the Stüssy Tribe Jacket, an iconic piece of streetwear that’s maintained grail status for many years, “It was great to team up with my friend Louie and work on this one together – we both had this idea for a while. It was great to shoot the Stüssy tribe jacket with the car – I still can’t work out which is rarer (I think the car) but seeing them together was amazing!” Milo tells us.
From Carhartt to Dior, Stüssy has worked with an impressive roster of collaborators and while some projects have been better received that others, anything Stüssy affiliated naturally makes waves. But as fatigue sets in around the industry’s obsession with logo-slapping in favour of genuine collaborative product and the lines between streetwear and high-fashion continue to blur, it leaves some to question: will Stüssy’s relevance continue? Milo certainly thinks so, “Regarding Stüssy today I feel they’re still making great stuff – I loved the last Nike collab they did and managed to grab a few bits of that for myself. There’s only a handful of brands in my opinion that manage to always keep up and keep putting out fresh, original stuff like Stüssy do.”
And as a bona fide member of the International Stüssy Tribe, we’re stamping Milo’s cosign as sacred. With an undeniable track record, Stüssy has consistently proven it knows how to stay ahead of the curve to secure its relevancy past, present, and future.
The latest drop of vintage Stüssy – including a selection of the pieces seen here – are available online and in-store at Dukes Cupboard now.
Styling & Creative
Lauren Soyung Lim