Stüssy Celebrates 40th with Designer Collaborations

Rick Owens, Takahiro Miyashita, Virgil Abloh, Marc Jacobs, and Martine Rose Remind Us Of The True Meaning Of Streetwear

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Stüssy invited a group of designers to create their own take on the classic Stüssy World Tour t-shirt. Rick Owens, Takahiro Miyashita, Virgil Abloh, Marc Jacobs, and Martine Rose were the lucky few chosen. All of these creators represent different cities & communities that have inspired Stüssy, and each brings a different perspective, sensibility, and intention that juxtaposes with time tested Stüssy design language.

Stüssy came onto the scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Inspired by the Southern California surf scene, Stüssy swept through the clothing landscape to redefine casualwear’s look and ideology. The brand grew organically from youth movements and inadvertently revolutionized the clothing business.

At first, Shawn Stüssy was a surfer who flexed his creative muscles by snapping his own surfboards for friends and other locals in Laguna Beach, California. Stüssy began screening t-shirts and shorts to sell along with the surfboards as a form of promotion; his surname written in a graffiti-influenced style was to become the company logo. This move combined his love of surfing with the clothing business. In a few short years, people were talking within the small, insular world of surf and skateboarding in the late ‘80s. Shawn set up small showrooms in New York and California and hit the road, showing his designs to stores he respected.

The brand bloomed during epochal shifts that now frame contemporary popular culture. In the music scene, the late ’70s gave us punk, while the early ’80s brought us a new DIY type of music called rap. Punk broke creative and aesthetic barriers and taught us that anyone could have a band. Rap pushed social boundaries and explored the ideas of remixing and sampling. These new ideas and territories created a modern platform for fashion and cultural expression. The designs and overall aesthetic touched on references from a range of underground subcultures that resonated with Stüssy. This approach appealed to a worldwide network of creative youth who shared a common interest in surf-culture, skating, and music. Limited distribution fueled the desire internationally, and those who wanted the gear found it and felt a part of something bigger in the process.

With Stüssy’s success came the opportunity to travel and spread the Stüssy vibe. The clothing was inspired by an international group of musicians, skaters, DJs and artists with similar tastes; trendsetters in New York, London, Tokyo and other areas of the world were eager to get aboard this movement inspired by a network of like-minded individuals. This group of friends later became the “International Stüssy Tribe” with chapters in New York, Tokyo, London, Berlin and Los Angeles. With a strong network of tribe members wearing the brand in clubs and on the scene across the globe, the Stüssy message spread organically. The brand was committed to producing relevant, good quality clothing at a reasonable price available only at very select stores worldwide in limited quantities. This was an entirely new concept at the time, which has since been used to varying degrees of success.

Stüssy is carrying on its collaborative legacy with this project. The designers who were lucky enough to be chosen are all beneficiaries of the Stüssy movement, if not directly influenced by his design. The personal expression in streetwear combined with an unprecedented level of scarcity in the product truly revolutionized what was possible in the fashion world–a world in which all these new designers participate. Rick Owens, Takahiro Miyashita, Virgil Abloh, Marc Jacobs, and Martine Rose all thrive on personal expression, and they are part of contemporary counter-culture. This is evidenced by how different and iconic the shirt designs ended up being. Without knowing who made each shirt, an educated viewer would be able to guess the designer in a few quick tries.

This is Stüssy’s big 40th birthday, and there is no better way of celebrating than reminding the world of who you are. This project not only promotes and champions streetwear but points us back to the origins of the movement as a whole. The streetwear industry grew from a couple of dudes making t-shirts to support a surf company to a multi-billion dollar industry that has captured the worlds’ attention.

Stüssy will donate a portion of the net proceeds from each t-shirt to a charity or organization of the designer’s choosing. The 40th Anniversary World Tour Collection are going to be sold at Chapter Stores, Dover Street Market and