Returned from Hong Kong to the California sun and a merciless onslaught of jetlag… One of my favorite sleepless pasttimes is drowning in Internet k-holes, digging so far deep into Flickr and Google Images and eBay, that it takes me just as long to climb my way out.
I rarely buy anything off eBay and this is why. I found the jacket of my dreams. A “dreamcoat” as Jayne would call it (or Joseph and his amazing technicolor one). It came down to a bidding war in the final seconds that I lost out on over a few bucks. Anyways, it’s a vintage Stussy parka from the early ’90s, and it’s the right color and everything. This was the golden era of Streetwear and all the popular kids – guys and girls – had one of these. Which is why I didn’t.
And I still don’t. If you won that auction, I hate you (but trade??)
So then I started poking my nose around, and came up with this. How do we bring back the Mexican surf ponchos? And how do we make them not itch so bad?
So this is the holy grail of all things ’90s Streetwear. The Stussy 8-ball keychain. Very rare. So rare, that this is the only legitimate photograph I can find of one on the web, plus the Stussy logo has rubbed off. Maybe the coolest keychain of all time (only second to the key-ringed plastic miniature skateboards of the ’80s) only multiplied by its unicorn status. If you can find me one, I’ll be your best friend forever.
The reason why I dig for these ghosts of Streetwear past is to help reawaken that nostalgia – the memory – of how exciting all this stuff was to me as a young teenager. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all still awesome, but after it being my career for a decade, Streetwear can lose a little bit of the sex appeal. So from time to time, I need to hit the Refresh so that I can again relive and re-tell that experience and sensation through our own product and branding.
I remember the first Stussy t-shirt I really noticed, and that was the “Dice” tee. To this day, it’s still the coolest and best in my opinion, and I could be mistaken, but I don’t think they’ve ever re-issued it. Again, it’s another almost-impossibility to find an image of on the Internet. I’m a size Large, btw.
Many of my Streetwear recollections from this era are rooted in Stussy graphic t-shirts and baseball caps, but that neglects the others like 26 Red, Blur, Sjobeck, Clobber, GAT, Blur, and so on.. It’s just hard to source them on the web, which seems to have quite a selective memory when it comes to this kinda stuff. Stussy was everywhere though in the early ’90s, so it’s relatively easy to unearth my 7th grade all over again:
The Western Exterminator Company parody was a popular one in the market for this period. These were Stussy’s and Mossimo’s flips. Now you can better understand why we did our own rendition years later, where the rat was bigger than the man (which, for whatever reason, I can’t find a photo of right now).
Speaking of Mossimo, before the beach volleyball shorts designer eventually blew out through the Target channel, there was a moment of time where his t-shirts were poised to be the next wave after Stussy’s market inundation of the mid-90s. Clearly it’s evident why, from the signature to the stylings. This was probably my favorite Mossimo tee back then:
And of course there was also Freshjive, which was embracing the rave wave of the 1990s. While all other Streetwear was using characters and parodies, Jive was turning it up a notch with the pop color combos.
Split is now a massive action sports brand or something, but for a season, they also laid into the rave sensibilities with this little monkey/bear/chipmunk mascot. I had this hat, but I also had the accompanying long-sleeve bright yellow shirt with a bold red Split logo across the front, and the character on the back-neck.
I mean, we can go from the ’90s Streetwear thing to the Rave thing, and you wouldn’t be far away from Skateboarding, which was kinda the hub of it all. Or like the nexus, the intersection… I never had this beanie, nor would I have worn it, but I was searching through “Underworld Element” archives and found this hat. Before it was Element, it was Underworld Element, and the branding and personality were far more interesting to me as a teenager than it is now; for example, their “UE” logo was classic.
Once we start getting into ’90s Skateboarding, then I start rehashing all this buried treasure. The artwork and the attitude were so fantastic back then – the re-appropriation of cartoon art into something adult and sardonic – the bold corporate parodies – the lack of taking one’s self serious… It was the best of times.
Just off the top of my head, some of my favorite skateboards from the ’90s, including some I owned and some I wanted and all I wish I had now:
But we’re not gonna get into this right now, that blog post will have to wait for another day…
all photography not mine, but that of the Internet’s