Since the `80s, Stussyâ€™s clothing has been an icon for independent thinkers and youth. Although the people who grew up with Stussy apparel have grown up, a new generation of trendsetters replace the old, however, the icon that is Stussy, continues to brand identities with bold designs.
Stussyâ€™s creative director, Paul Mittleman, says, â€œWe design with a historic background guided by contemporary aesthetics.â€ At Stussy, Mittleman says their designs are â€œfor like-minded culturally aware, stylish people.â€
â€œItâ€™s a hard place out there in the real world, we do not get political. We try and make good clothing, hopefully if will inspire people to be creative, maybe make their own clothing or graphics.â€
Format: Currently, streetwear is a buzzword that several brands have either adopted or been labeled. Is the Stussy brand specifically designed with the streetwear community in mind?
P. Mittleman: Yes and no, we have always designs for our friends, they have been much of our inspiration. It is just that now things have changed. The streetwear community has taken interest with what we have always done. Make gear for like-minded culturally aware, stylish people. When we began in 1980, streetwear did not exist. We helped define this style. So yes we think of the streetwear community, we always have. But, no, we do not design for the new wave of it. We acknowledge it and embrace it, but we have always embraced street culture.
Format: In a Format interview, Married to the MOB’s Leah said, men in the streetwear community have adopted feminine characteristics – trolling blogs, taking photos of their clothing and lining up outside stores. What is your opinion on what Leah is calling feminine characteristics?
P. Mittleman: I am not sure what she means. If it were that men care about how they look and want to buy inspirational things I would argue that it is not only a feminine characteristic. It is a capitalistic mode. What is the difference of wanting a nice car or fresh sneakers? If I want a new watch or my wife wants a ring â€“ that is both forms of adornment that I believe goes back many centuries.
Format: Recently, rapper, Nas, and Stussy collaborated for a T-shirt. What are Stussy’s requirements for possible collaborations and what is the design process for collaboration?
P. Mittleman: Each one is very different, no rules. We work on projects for many reasons. The process and modifies each time. We like to work on interesting things and projects that elevate our brand.
Format: Streetwear brands for men are always appearing, however, streetwear brands for women are few and far between. Why have brands not acknowledged the need for women’s lines in streetwear?
P. Mittleman: I am not too sure, and not really interested.
Format: Stussy’s clothing has swagger – people look and feel confident in it. How does Stussy capture swagger in its clothing?
P. Mittleman: Hmmm, swagger? We do not design for Dipset! Swagger and Stussy might not really work well in the same sentence. We design with a historic background guided by contemporary aesthetics. We try to make wearable long lasting clothing with style, confidence and a current attitude.
Format: Several clothing designers are designing for spring 2008 and beyond! How does Stussy forecast what consumers will find appealing, several months in advance?
P. Mittleman: We look around, travel and stay inspired. Being engaged in new things and parts of culture helps us focus. It is good to be aware and seek interesting ideas and movements.
Format: Does Stussy have a moral responsibility for the designs it releases to the public?
P. Mittleman: Yes and no. We try and craft creativity. Things that spark laughter or have a positive energy are good. Itâ€™s a hard place out there in the real world, we do not get political. We try and make good clothing, hopefully if will inspire people to be creative, maybe make their own clothing or graphics. We have a company, itâ€™s our job to make gear. Itâ€™s a good career â€“ maybe, what we do can help other people choose a career that they will find a nice lifestyle with in doing and living?
Format: As the streetwear industry becomes more popular, its products are bootlegged. How does Stussy protect itself from bootleggers?
P. Mittleman: We have an in-house lawyer.
Format: As a pioneer company, what transformations has Stussy observed in its industry that have created challenges for the company?
P. Mittleman: We just have to always be in top form, no easy times anymore.
Format: When it was created, Stussy appealed to surf and skateboard communities. In your opinion, has the Stussy brand reached beyond the original communities that embraced it?
P. Mittleman: Yes, it has evolved over the past few decades too become a global brand. We still stake and surf but we do lots of things. We have developed and grown from out roots into a tree, maybe even a forest.
Format: Please explain the Stussy and Josh Cheuse relationship and how the Rockers Galore project materialized.
P. Mittleman: Stussy has always liked working with artists. Josh was an old friend good friend and we thought his pictures documented people and times that are important. It was super fun to work on and it is great too see a friends work become a book. It is a wonderful thing to create an object that celebrates creativity and vision.
More Info: http://www.stussy.com