You've heard the story a thousand times by now. In 1980, Shawn Stüssy was a talented surfboard shaper known for the punk rock/new wave-inspired art styles that he'd often put on his boards. To help promote his custom wave rippers, he started making graphic T-shirts emblazoned with his last name, written in a unique hand-lettered style. He spent his summers surfing, while winters were reserved for skiing on Mammoth Mountain.
That's how he met Certified Public Accountant Frank Sinatra Jr. (no, not that Sinatra family). What Sinatra saw in Stüssy wasn't instant dollar signs—it was authenticity, talent, and a truly unique character. Thus began a renegade partnership that would forever influence the way people thought about running a successful brand. After 32 years in the game, Stüssy has outlasted numerous trends while birthing an industry of clothing brands that focus on limited runs, basic wardrobe staples, and the self-aware mirroring of high-fashion labels and pop culture tropes.