Something, like streetwear, that brings together an array of influences is bound to get a bit disorganized, if not downright fractious, at times. Stussy is one of those rare points that everyone can agree on. The same Stussy shirt can appeal to six different people for six different reasons, and work for all of them.
It definitely helps that Stussy’s own history is a something of a precursor to streetwear, before the term even existed. A diverse range of reference points: west coast surf and skate culture, punk, reggae, rap, even classical art, all came together under the banner of Stussy’s own distinctive aesthetic.
Two recurring phrases that feature prominently in Stussy’s vintage advertising are “livin’ large” and “fresh gear.” Let’s just get it out of the way; no one really says either of these things anymore, but they illustrate Stussy’s enduring appeal rather nicely.
When “livin’ large,” “fresh gear,” and even “radical,” (which wasn’t a Stussy catchphrase, but people still said it quite a bit) were at the cutting edge of youth culture vernacular, so was Stussy. Now, a couple of decades after these phrases have gone from hip to prime fodder for irony-laden mockery, Stussy is still firmly planted at the forefront of youth culture.
Photography: Mikey Janey
Words: Dan Alvarez
Talent: Liam Ferguson