The joy is in capturing the journey. That is the message that Ray Barbee wants to convey together with Vault by Vans and Leica. To some, a collaboration between the three might seem like an odd get-together. How did Leica, the renowned photography brand, come to collaborate with the skate brand Vans? Well, despite the German camera manufacturer being a seemingly ‘conservative’ brand, they have never been opposed to daring. “Ich entscheide hiermit: es wird riskiert” is a quote from Leica’s founder that is adorned on the footwear of this collaboration. The quote translates into, “I hereby decide: the risk shall be taken”. Apart from both being daring, the common denominator between the two is Ray Barbee. 

The Vans Vault x Leica by Ray Barbee Slip-ons pictured on the Leica D-Lux 7 from the collection.

Ray Barbee is a California-raised professional skater, musician and photographer. He is best known for his immense impact on the skating scene during the 90s and early 2000s. He is seen as one of the pioneers of modern skateboarding and skateboarding culture. We believe, besides his skills, a large part of his success is due to his character. Ray is a person who radiates positivity and humility when he speaks, and this also shows in his skateboarding. It seems so effortless, smooth and carefree. Vans recognized his special style. In 1989 they offered him to be a Vans team rider. The rest is history. But as was already mentioned, Ray is also a well-known photographer. Inspired by the skateboarding photographers who used Leica and Magnum camera’s, Ray began shooting with a Leica M6 in 2008. From that point onward, his photography career took flight. 

Ray Barbee wearing the Authentic's from his collection with Vans Vault x Leica.

Both brands have played a huge role in Ray’s life and the mutual respect between the three shows in this collaboration. The collaboration features Vans’ most classic silhouettes. The Authentic, the Old Skool, the Sk8-Hi and the Slip-on. All have the quote of Leica’s founder, Ernst Leitz, and a quote from Ray himself. Apart from that, all shoes feature a red dot, a nod to Leica’s logo. The apparel is based on clothing Ray likes to wear in his day-to-day life. It features two tees, a long sleeve, and a hoodie that all feature pictures from Ray’s archive. Last but definitely not least is the limited edition Leica D-Lux 7 camera. The camera is decorated with Vans’ classic checkerboard print and Ray’s signature. It also includes a carrying strap and matching dust bag.

Part of the Vans Vault x Leica by Ray Barbee collection.

You can find the whole collaboration right here