If you don’t know, now you know: Shawn Stussy just might be the coolest man alive. If you’re sick and tired of this blog fawning over Stussy, well, you’ve got a point. But we’re not stopping any time soon. Pictured above is a rad vintage Stussy ad from 1990 or 1991. I scanned the vintage Stussy ad from the April 1991 issue of Surfing Magazine (Vol. 27, No. 4), but as you can see, the ad itself is dated to 1990.
Obviously, I tend to focus on Stussy’s surfboards. I love his Seventies single fins, and of course the Eighties thrusters that elevated the Echo Beach aesthetic into something way more memorable. But when it’s all said and done, Stussy will probably be best known as one of the godfathers of streetwear due to his eponymous clothing line.
The vintage Stussy ad ran in 1990 or 1991, right as the brand’s popularity was beginning to explode. Earlier in 1990 Stussy had just opened up its first standalone store in New York City. (Check out Complex’s oral history of the brand here, which is told from a fashion-centric point of view.) It’s interesting to see the ad running in Surfing Magazine, but with no reference back to Stussy’s background as a shaper, or anything to do with surf culture, really. Curiously, I have never been able to find any vintage Stussy ads in Surfer Magazine during the Eighties and Nineties. I was surprised and stoked to see this turn up in an issue of Surfing Magazine, and I understand that Stussy also ran a lot of ads in Thrasher during the Eighties, too. To me the ad catches the Stussy brand at a moment where it is in between different worlds — not quite a product of the Orange County surf industrial complex, but still dabbling in surf culture. Shawn Stussy would end up leaving his brand at the end of 1995, but it still exists today.
Needless to say, I love the hand drawn lettering and the slightly off-kilter copy. It’s nothing if not distinctive, which is only fitting considering Stussy’s legacy of being far ahead of its time.
As always, thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and check back in a week for even more vintage surf ads.