take an exclusive first look inside stüssy’s first london store
It’s opening this Friday in Soho.
Images courtesy Stüssy
This Friday, 31st August, Stüssy will open its London Chapter in Soho. The London Chapter -- what they call their stores -- is the latest addition the brand’s worldwide network, which includes Amsterdam, LA and Toronto. The London Chapter was designed to “feel like California” and its “spirit of innovative adventurousness”, according to architect Willo Perron of W&PA, who designed it. It features classic, deconstructed and stripped back materials, as well as a giant trademark 8-ball.
The store launch will be marked with a release of limited edition collaborations with Aries and Gimme 5, and commemorative London 8-ball T-shirts, teacups, tracksuits, side bags and hats. A collaboration with Dr Martens will follow in September.
Launched by surfer Shawn Stussy in the mid-80s, the brand were pioneers in the streetwear world, taking elements from surf and skate culture and combining it with the aesthetic codes of musical subcultures, like hardcore punk and hip-hop, which were emerging at the time. i-D and Stüssy have a relationship stretching back to that time, and recently renewed it with a capsule collaboration of tees and hoodies.
Many London based members of the International Stüssy Tribe have also collaborated with i-D in the past, and despite this being their first London store, Stüssy and the city have a long relationship, as OG Tribe member and London native Alex Turnbull aka Alex Baby writes below...
“As Stüssy prepares to open their new store in the heart of London’s Soho, now seems a good time to highlight some of the lesser known connections between the early DNA of the brand and this great city. It’s always been about the present but ‘in this great future you can’t forget your past’.
Without cultural connectivity, what we wear becomes merely a superficial layer without meaning. Stüssy has always been the brand that embodied the concepts of heritage and authenticity that have become part of the fabric of modern culture. In truth, they pretty much created it.
Shawn Stussy started out as a surf shaper. The logo, actually a signature or tag, was the stamp on the board. The blueprint for ‘streetwear’ did not yet exist. He printed a shirt with the logo to wear at a trade fair. Buyers bought the boards but went mad for the shirts. The rest, as they say, is history. The next year the same thing happened with his knee length cut-off khaki shorts. Today it’s the silhouette of a generation.
To get a snapshot of early street style in the pre-Stüssy era, think Run DMC Double Goose down jackets and sneakers from thrift stores. Everything was appropriated and impossible to get even for the handful of people who knew what to look for. Stüssy was the first brand to emerge from within the culture. Early style was an individual mish-mash of genres; Stussy took elements of surf and skate, hip-hop, reggae and east LA lowrider culture and combined them with a Comme des Garçons sensibility, turning the company into the first modern clothing brand. We all knew the moment we saw our first piece of Stüssy that things had changed forever.
Those in the know all went mad for it but you couldn’t get your hands on it, unless you were connected. And one of the critical Stüssy connects from this period was Paul Mittleman, founding member of the New York Chapter alongside Jules Gayton, Albie Ragusa and Dante Ross. Paul acted as a cultural conduit, introducing Shawn to the members of the early London Chapter -- James Lebon, Michael Kopelman, Mick Jones, Barnzley, Johnny ‘Too Bad’ Turnbull, myself. Michael would become a key figure in the evolution Stüssy in Europe and the influence of the London Chapter brought a very different element of style to the Tribe vibe. Urban culture hadn’t yet embraced high fashion and London had the style and swagger in that department.
Mark Lebon, who worked with Ray Petrie, The Face and i-D, shot the iconic double page spread of the London Tribe in Sky Magazine, which kicked the hype about Stüssy to another level. This was decades before the internet. The idea of the tribe referenced The Native Tongues and A Tribe Called Quest but the concept of a global family began with the International Stüssy Tribe. It was an international network of creatives and DJs that became, for the first time, a world tribe in a pre-internet age. It was the first time like-minded people from around the globe began trading cultural currency, be it sneakers, vinyl, tapes or early skate and UFC videos. ‘The fashion freemasons’ as Hiroshi Fujiwara refers to it. Music/Djing and skating were the commonalities.
Fast forward 30 years and it’s still a family affair. Same as it ever was. Mark’s son Tyrone Lebon is taking the Stüssy campaigns to the next level. My daughter Kim features in one. The new generation of the International Stüssy Tribe -- Acyde, Tremaine, Jordan, Guillaume, Benji B and the Deviation crew, Theophilus London, still represent the cutting edge of music and fashion. Stüssy is part of that very DNA of modern ‘streetwear’, in many ways as much a part of culture as extreme sports and DJs. Its history is entwined in the evolution of these pursuits. In a super-saturated world let’s raise a glass to the originals.
‘You won't find it on the internet’”