The company founder, Shawn Stussy (born 1954), was a Californian manufacturer of surfboards. The which has defined the brand started in the early 1980s after he began scrawling his surname on his handcrafted surfboards with a broad tipped marker. He began using the logo on T-shirts, shorts and caps that he sold out of his car around Laguna Beach, California. The signature was derived from that of his uncle, Jan Stussy.
In a 1992 interview Stussy said: "Everybody calls it surf wear, or urban streetwear, or surf street... I don't name it, and I don't name it on purpose."