In Celebration of Ingenuity - Vans DIY Dye Project – Tenue de Nîmes

We’ve proudly stocked the Vans Vault collection for a long time now. Worn out jeans and beat-up Vans are an iconic combination that embodies the Californian soul, a soul we adore. One of the most memorable collaborations we were able to do was our 10th-anniversary collaboration with Vans. We were able to make Vans’ Authentic OG model with an indigo blue canvas upper and Amsterdam’s three crosses printed in the sole. Small details like the image of a tiger on the insole and our store’s name printed on the laces really brought it home.

We were working on a new collaboration with Vans Vault, but the pandemic put everything on halt. The pandemic forced everybody to think outside of the box and to be ingenious for live to carry on in an as regular way as possible and to keep the spirits high. Also, a new mindset came about appreciating the things that you have and not letting things go to waste by breathing new life into them. Despite not being able to collaborate on a new shoe with Vans Vault just yet, we were able to work with them in a different way in the mean time.

We heard that Vans Vault had started to use a new shoe tree to produce their OG classics, giving them an ever so slight change of fit. So, Vans was sitting on deadstock OG models with the old fit, not knowing what to do with them. That’s where we came into play. We proposed to Vans to take the shoes of them and give them a DIY makeover. This opportunity beautifully fell in place with the aforementioned mindset of not letting things go to waste and breathing new life into them. Also, this adds up to the countless amount of DIY-projects that people have been doing at home have for the past few months.

Vans is also known to not shy away from customization and projects that celebrate creativity, rather, they embrace it. Vans was founded in 1966 by brothers Paul and Jim van Doren and their two friends; Gordon Lee and Serge Delia. The way that the Van Doren Rubber Company, which it was named at the time, set itself apart, was by making their shoes on the premises and selling them directly to the customer. Because they made the shoes on the spot, customers were able to bring in their own fabrics for custom-made shoes. At the time, the company didn’t have money to advertise so, they asked their customers to tell their friends and family about the customization option at the store. This was the beginning of Vans’ creative spirit. 

As time passed the skateboard-scene in California started to gravitate towards Vans shoes (the new name was coined in the early ’70s) because of the sticky waffle sole. Now the whole of the southern California skating scene could be seen wearing Vans. But Vans weren’t just popular in the skating scene, the whole of California was wearing them. When Steve van Doren, son of Paul, was in high school he saw kids drawing the checkerboard on the sole of the shoe. Steve told Paul about this high school phenomenon and they eventually started making the slip-ons with a checkerboard sole. After 6 months they shifted the checkerboard-motif to the upper of the shoe. This was the birth of the iconic checkerboard slip-on, the shoe that put Vans on the map. 

So, to commemorate and celebrate Vans’ history, the DIY-ingenuity that people have shown from all around the globe, and the spirit of breathing new life into products instead of letting them go to waste, we present to you our personal Vans customisation project. This project isn’t limited to just one shoe. During the summer we will be releasing multiple natural coloured Vans Vault shoes as part of the project. The first drop is a natural indigo-dyed Vans OG Classic checkerboard slip-on, the shoe that put Vans on the map. In true Tenue de Nîmes style, the shoes have been indigo dyed in Amsterdam by Celia from the wonderful Blue Print Amsterdam. The following releases are a surprise for now but be sure to keep your eyes open!

Check out the Vans Vault collection here!