by Maximilian Gerstenmeyer
As the fashion industry grows and changes, trends ebb and flow, come and go over time. Sometimes, however, a trend persists and crosses over the threshold from a passing fad to a here-to-stay classic.
Vans, today, have made themselves a staple in the fashion world. From Kendrick Lamar in his classic lace-up Old Skools on stage to your average Joe, Vans has made a huge come-back since their popularity in their early years.
People often wonder about the origins of this iconic brand. Where are vans shoes made? And where did they come from? A little glimpse into the history of the company will tell you that early on, in the 1960s, the brand had been rooted in the SoCal skate culture. After going along for the ‘90s skateboard boom’ ride, the brand began to lose its relevance in the early 2000s. (source) Ever since, these products were manufactured out of several factories in California until the company shifted operations to China and Vietnam in the late 90s.
So why is Vans so popular? How did Vans go from its target of skater boys to defying all labels and cliques, becoming an integral part of popular culture along the way? How did it become this unifying force in the fashion world appealing to people across the spectrum?
Vans began to experiment with their classic silhouette in the 90s and in 1996, their long-term partnership with Supreme helped popularize the brand further. The collaborations continued into the early 2002s and in 2003, Vans launched its vault collections featuring a high-end, premium spin on the classics. Later that year, Vans launched collaborations with big names like Luella Bartley, Rebecca Taylor and in 2005, a three-year partnership with Marc Jacobs. (source)
These collaborations changed the face of the brand and altered the way Vans were perceived by the fashion industry. If Vans is a good brand, it is in part because of the increased credibility that they gained in the fashion industry. Vans began to enter the mainstream, becoming more familiar to audiences that were not well acquainted with skate culture. In the words of former Four Pins Editor Lawrence Schlossman, “The fashion collaborations have definitely made Vans relevant in a marketplace and industry where maybe they weren’t viewed with as much respect as they are now.”
In 2004, Vans was acquired for a smattering $396 million by VF Corp, owners of Timberland and Eastpak, among others. After the acquisition, the company began to truly explore their heritage and classic styles. With more resources at hand, they were able to grow while maintaining their quintessential, authentic look. Soon after, trends started to really take off. Around 2005, the checkerboard slip-on started gaining more visibility and began catching on among the hipster crowd of downtown New York, setting the stage for what was about to come.
Vans made its debut in popular culture early in the 1982 film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where the ‘surfer dude’ character is seen wearing their iconic checkered slip-on throughout the film. After their long line of collabs in the industry and the 2004 acquisition, however, once the social media influencers caught a whiff of Vans, there was no turning back.
From IG baddies rocking the Sk8-Hi to the Tumblr kids picking up the Authentic as their everyday look, Vans suddenly became a very common sight in people’s outfits. What’s even more surprising, is that most of their biggest pop-culture moments ‘just happened’ and were completely unplanned. For instance, the ‘Damn Daniel’ vine that went Viral in 2016 of a high school student hyping up his friend’s outfits and classic white Vans. The brand saw a definitive hike in sales after the video was released.
The brand has built up a solid reputation over time and to answer the question are vans shoes comfortable- beyond a doubt. Lookbooks and stylists across the internet also rely on Vans as their go-to pair of shoes to tie together any outfit. Even the thousands of videos that went viral as recently as 2019, of people testing the theory that their Vans will always land face-up when thrown in the air just goes to show how widespread the Vans owners are.
Vans’ fidelity to its roots in skate culture sets it apart. From Kanye West to your next-door neighbour, almost everybody owns a pair. Vans have always been authentic yet adaptable - perfect for any occasion, be it the Grammys or a stroll in the park, making them one of the most popular pairs of kicks out there.
If you are into Vans as much as I am, then you should also check out this new and super colorful skate- and surfwear brandhttps://en.maxmellow-apparel.com/
On their website, you will find fresh and colorful apparel, that can be perfectly combined with your pair of Vans.
About the author:
Max is a full time traveler and entrepreneur with a big passion for cool alternative clothing. This is why he began this site.
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