The forefather of the hip-hop brands (arguably the real street wear companies) that would boom in the 1990s — whether it was PNB Nation, Phat Farm, Too Black Guys, Triple 5 Soul, Cross Colors or FUBU — was a spot called Shirt Kings in Jamaica Queens’ Colosseum Mall run by Edwin ‘PHADE” Sacasa, Rafael “KASHEME” Avery and Clyde “NIKE” Harewood. PHADE had been putting in work on trains with legends like KASE 2 after a move from Brooklyn to the Bronx in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until he took his skills to cotton in 1984 that he realized graffiti on apparel could be a lucrative endeavor, “Seeing the reaction to my graffiti pictures in school gave me the confidence to know I had something.” The move from spray can to airbrush wasn’t too severe a transition, “It was the same just a little bit more detailed.”

Anybody that ever appreciated a hand style or graffiti iconography on a t-shirt, probably owes the Shirt Kings a little something.

The Guest Artist Series: Stüssy x Phade collection is available now at Stussy.com.