Ask many fashionable women these days to name an iconic shoe or shoe designer, and you will likely receive an answer of ‘Christian Louboutin’, ‘Manolo Blahnik’, ‘Miu Miu’ or other high-end designer likely to be featured on red carpets and Fashion Week.
But, how’s this for an Icon:
This image: Simple. Bold. Instantly recognizable.
Vans became part of the national consciousness and roared into pop-culture in one fell swoop more than 20 years ago.
A generation of kids spent math class inking checks onto their own white vans or local drugstore look-a-likes.
Vans – a brand that has stood the test of time and can honestly be called a classic.
Think Vans are just about shoes? Think again.
We’ve given a brief overview of Vans History before now.
But, if you drop by their website, you will notice something. The Vans brand is not just about selling shoes. You could spend hours just cruising through their website. The Vans brand appears as almost its own stand-alone, surf/skate sub-culture (of which I am no expert, child of Northern California that I am) – encompassing an identity as more than a simple product but also as a vibrant lifestyle and community. From community forums, to art, to events, to shopping, you can find it at the Vans website.
This is such a great example of how a brand’s online presence can be about so much more than a web-based extension of their retail interests.
Oh, and for those of you who are intrigued by the custom-produced, small-business history of the Vans brand?
You might enjoy in this retrospective coffee-table book, ‘Vans, Off the Wall’ ($24.95@ Vans.com).
Vans: Off the Wall by Doug Palladini tells the story of the community of action sports legends, musicians, artists and trendsetters that helped to define laid back California style as we know it. This personal, insider account features oral histories from Vans originals including Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, John Cardiel, Shaun Palmer and Joel Tudor and stunning images from CR Stecyk, R. Grant Brittain, Art Brewer, Trevor Graves and many more renowned photographers. This first run, 2009 edition 9″ by 9 3/4″ hardcover bound book is 208 pages and includes 365 full color illustrations.
Oh, and as for how it all started – that whole customized shoes thing? Yeah, Vans still has you covered there, too.