How Goldie gave Stüssy staying power

How Goldie gave Stüssy staying power

by Ollie Cox
2 min

Besides being behind danceable jungle tracks, such as the 1994 banger “Inner City Life,” Goldie is one-third of the Metalheadz drum and bass label and a streetwear legend. He helped put Stüssy on the map way back in the ‘90s, donning the Laguna Beach label everywhere, from the streets to the red carpet. 

Goldie’s streetwear standing started out with his time as a graffiti writer in the ‘80s, turning now-demolished structures in his native Wolverhampton into his own guerilla canvases. His work was vibrant, colour-soaked, and often depicted futuristic scenes akin to the jungle tracks he would later produce, which still send clubs into a spin with their high-octane futuristic kineticism. 

His talent as an artist was recognised in the 1987 Channel 4 documentary Bombin which spotlighted the burgeoning UK graffiti scene at the time. In the film, an interviewer was amazed at Goldie’s ability to scale up his work by eye, filling every inch of concrete. 

Goldie later took his talent to New York, where he would don Tommy Hilfiger Puffer Jackets, amass an impressive collection of gold jewellery, and rep the new brand on the block: Stüssy. This was a time before “streetwear brands” existed, and instead, you could identify with a particular style tribe by sizing up to subvert the sartorial codes of high-end labels. 

As a brand, Stüssy’s roots lie within the surfing, skateboarding, graffiti and hip-hop subcultures. Its logo, drawn by founder Shawn Stüssy, is a nod to graffiti hand styles, the one-coloured signatures of street artists. Not only was Goldie a graffiti writer but also a pioneer of a disruptive sub-genre of drum and bass, which drew heavily on the B-boy movement with slick sampling and beat-making, laying the foundations for a longstanding relationship between the two. 

In 2022, Goldie designed a collection for Stüssy featuring a hand-drawn logo, which appeared across Oxford shirts, fishtail parkas, and knitted jumpers, nodding to his graffiti past and cementing himself as a Stüssy Tribe lifer. 

Cover image: @mrgoldie

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