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It’s no secret that Keith Haring was a member of Shawn Stussy‘s ultra-hip International Stüssy Tribe (I.S.T.). The artist was famously well-connected and only four years younger than Stussy (himself born in 1954), generationally uniting the two street culture pioneers. Less commonly known: Stussy has been sitting on Haring’s original I.S.T. jacket since 1989, when the Stüssy founder put the finishing touches on the garment. Sadly, Haring passed only a few months later, before Stussy could return to New York, and the varsity sat in storage until only recently when Stussy listed it for sale on his Shawn Vintage archive site and sold it for $5,000.
Every member of the I.S.T. was granted a varsity jacket denoting membership in the exclusive collective, guaranteed unique by the owners’ embroidered name, which took enough time that Stussy wasn’t able to complete the item before Haring’s untimely death. “I was saddened [by his passing] and put the jacket in a box and forgot about it,” Stussy recalled on his Shawn Vintage site.
Finished with a grey wool body, leather sleeves, and striped trim, there’s plenty of classic Stüssy branding on the front and back of the varsity, but the bespoke embroidery is key. Below the chunky I.S.T. patch at the chest, five lines of custom white text recognize Haring as a member of Stüssy’s New York chapter, which also included streetwear OG Paul Mittleman and hip-hop seer Dante Ross.
Really, this is more of a collectible than anything else, though the quality of classic Stüssy likely ensures that this jacket is as hardy now as it was back in the late ’80s. Still, the small paper tag above the embroidery — Stussy’s hand-written embroidery instructions — makes this piece better suited for an archive than a ‘fit check.
It’s also worth noting that this jacket is technically still deadstock, as it was never worn or owned by Haring. “Let me make it very clear,” Stussy said. “This was never Keith’s jacket, just a feel-good gift that never made it to its destination.”