Once a dream, now a reality. It was on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 2009 when Lee Stacey started his journey with nothing more than a few hundred dollars and a strong passion to build quality surfboards.
Having shaped for some of the world’s largest board brands over the years, the rise of popularity for Stacey Surfboards soon took off thanks to Lee’s dedication to craft and ability to design and create from the left field. With word continuing to spread like wildfire, the brand soon relocated to the Gold Coast and with the move, came the introduction of apparel to the brand and its offerings. Fast forward to present day and the brand has grown significantly alongside its army of loyal followers thanks to its new brand direction and attention to producing high quality goods across everything they take part in. What once was a brand dedicated solely to surfboards has now evolved into an apparel label that has strong presence in the worlds of surf, skate, street and beyond.
Stacey’s new focus, after welcoming the likes of Head Designer Gabriel Tennberg (formally of Quiksilver, DC, Hurley and Element) and Creative Director Nate White, is allowing them to take a bolder approach to colour palettes and graphics across its products, while still drawing inspiration from its underlying roots in hardcore punk, skateboarding and motorcycle culture.
“We felt it was necessary to stamp out the stigma of being a surfboard brand that made clothing and rather replace this odium with being a clothing brand that makes amazing surfboards.”
“STCY is in a really healthy position of progression, we’re super excited with what we have to offer, our team behind the scenes and our collaborators. We’ve got a tonne of epic stuff in the pipeline for release in the coming months. It’s a really exciting time for the brand and this reflects onto what we do now and what we will continue to do.”
Constant evolution is what’s driving Stacey to the wardrobes of tomorrow, and we are stoked to be able to showcase the latest collection to you, our customer (click here and check it out). Eager to learn more about the brand, it’s new direction and how the latest range came to fruition, we caught up with the man himself, Lee Stacey. Join the conversation!
Thanks for catching up Lee! Tell us who you are and your role at Stacey?
My name is Lee Stacey and I’m the founder & head shaper at STACEY / STCY. I actually just consider myself the chief fire fighter around the office, trying to put out fires where I can haha.
You’ve just launched Stacey’s apparel on SurfStitch and we’re stoked! Tell us all about the latest collection?
Thanks! We’re super psyched to be a part of the Fam. Our latest collection is very true to who we are. We don’t want to have a bunch of pieces that are there just for the sake of it. We are surfers and skateboarders at heart - we wear tees, caps, fleece and shorts the most. Classic Stripes, Hooded Fleece, Art driven tees & Workman Shirts. I think for me, my most loved pieces from this range would be our Arc Raglan 3/4 Tee and our Crew Hybrid Short. The Arc Raglan is a classic and they’re always sitting there in peoples minds. They come around every few years on trend again, and it was something we felt will make a return, so it’s nice to have our own spin on it. The Crew Hybrid shorts are something we’d been working on for a long while. They’re a short I can shape in all day, but then go surf or skate in after work, then wear to the pub for a few beers. True versatility. You see me in these the most. I live in them.
Obviously, each creative has a different process to see a product come to life. Can you run us through what it takes to bring these apparel pieces to life? From pen to paper to eventually seeing the finished product?
Yeah, it does take a lot of time & it’s not as simple as ‘let’s make a tee shirt & sell it’. We’d done that in the early days of the brand & it worked, but we knew we had a hell of a long way to go before we were a proper ‘brand’. There’s a great bunch of people behind the scenes who are instrumental in making this all come together. Each season starts about 12 months prior before it’s ready to go to market, especially on the more detailed pieces in the line, like our Workman Shirt.
Essentially it starts with Nate & myself conceptualising a ‘vibe’ or ‘theme’ once we’ve locked that down Nate will begin building out the mood boards, Our colour palettes will usually be pulled directly out of our inspiration. For example we may have 80’s punk show posters on our mood board as reference to the palette. Then from there we usually start the process of delegating graphics to artists, some things stay in-house, some we outsource depending what it is and who we believe will deliver the best outcome. We then enter the garment conceptualization stage where we rap it out about what pieces we want in the range, Cut and Sew detailed outerwear, premium hooded fleece, deconstructed 6 panel headwear etc etc.. we start looking at what will work for the season.
Our head designer Gabriel Tennberg lives in Hawaii, so there’s a lot phone conversations, Facetime and Skype Calls. “Gbo” has a very solid history in the garment game, so he looks after the sourcing and is so dialled in with fabrics and materials and has great relationships with all the factories we work with. He’s worked with Hurley (and was part of their Phantom Boardshort Program), Element, the head designer at DC. He’s worked with Quiksilver and was behind the Dane Reynolds range there also. Our boardshorts are insane, we pride ourselves on these.
We have these ideas, fire them off at him and he comes back with sketches and designs. We must drive him mad. He has a lot of patience. Once we’ve agreed on pieces and artwork we then go over it again and again and remove pieces we aren’t 100% behind, and maybe bring back something we love. Kind of like a passion piece. We went back and forth with our Wild Ride Tee for months and months in sampling stages before we were happy with it. It needed to be right, or there’s no point in doing it.
Historically the company was focused specifically on surfboards. Why the move into apparel and furthermore, skate?
I’ve always wanted the Stacey // STCY brand to be our own version of the Bones Brigade. When I say that, I mean, all of those guys brought something to the table and were able to express themselves in their own way. They were also like a motley little family of misfit skateboard punks. You didn’t have to be the best guy to be a part of what they did. I wanted that for this brand. You don’t have to be the best guy in the water, or the best guy at the skatepark or in the streets to be a part of what we do and who we are. If you’re having fun and doing your own thing, thats rad, that’s punk.
The move into skate was just a natural progression for us, being skateboarders it’s just naturally in the brands DNA so it was inevitably going to happen. I’ll watch skate clips to get motivation for surfboard design with the lines they draw in a bowl. Skateboarding culture is just embedded in who we are. Our skate team is rad too - they all know they’re a part of something from the start, which is really cool. We’ve been working with Jedd McKenzie from Newcastle for the last few years and he’s currently in the USA skating on the DewTour with one of our other Team Riders, Shaun Boucher from NZ. He’s based on the Gold Coast now and fills kegs and cans at Balter as his day job and blows minds at the local skateparks in the arvos. He’s rad. We also recently added Peewee and Jake Duncombe to our roster of crew. They were down for the cause and down for what we are about. It’s a really exciting time for us at the moment. There’s heaps happening and it’s rad.
It’s an exciting time for the brand and we’re glad we’re riding alongside the team for the journey! What’s next to come?
It sure is! Well, we are currently working on Volume 6, which will be dropping from September/October. It’s very true to the STCY // Stacey Brand and we can’t wait to get it out there for people to see. We’re working on growing the brand awareness, building relationships and telling stories. We’ve been keeping an ace up our sleeve waiting to release a standalone brother brand STCY~SKTE dedicated to and influenced by skateboarding & art. Keep an eye out for that, pieces will be super limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone never to be re-released again.
There’s some new surfboard models slated for release, Collabs and a few other things in the works. For us, we feel there’s no better time to be an all Australian surf and skate brand that is true to it’s roots and run by real surfers and real skateboarders. What you see is what you get. When you step into our office, you see us exactly as we are. A bunch of tattooed surf punks and skate rats making their mark!