LONG READ: CALIFORNIA SKATE CULTURE ENCAPSULED IN A SHOE
No label epitomizes Californian skate culture more than Vans. The year 2018 has been a massive one thus far for the brand that brought us the waffle sole. In our previous Journal de Nîmes we discussed their 'Originals' line and looked forward to our upcoming collab with this legendary American powerhouse. Take a sit, chill out and read all about this epic brand. And hey, it might be a good idea to check out the collection before all pairs are gone!
(Text by Willem Bos)
The archetypal Californian skate shoe exists for over a century. Worn by homeless people, Hollywood stars and everybody in between, Vans is one of those brands that truly exceeds stereotyping. We rather speak about ‘a way of life’, when referring to the shoe manufacturer that made wearing slip-ons underneath a suit savvy. Vans has many sub-labels under its umbrella. We at Tenue de Nîmes are proud to be among the very few stockists in the world that are allowed to offer their ‘OG’ or ‘Originals’ line: re-imaginations of how it all started: with the ‘Made in USA’ skateboarding shoe.
Not many things feel better than breaking in a crispy pair of Vans. We love how versatile the shoes actually are. Don’t worry if you travel light on a city trip for instance, one pair of Vans will make you stroll around any neighbourhood on the planet. Comfortable enough for everyday wear, whilst no doormen will ever dare to refuse you access to a fancy place wearing your beloved pair of OG’s. What makes a pair of OG special? First, they are more comfortable compared to general release Vans, due to the use of more luxurious, lusher materials, that furthermore last longer. The models are inspired on the 70s skateboarding scene of sun-drenched California, amazingly captured in Hugh Holland's photo-book ‘Locals Only’, a real recommendation if you are interested in this particular sub-culture. Holland drove around Los Angeles and spotted characteristically dressed youth, wearing washed, baggy blue jeans, white tube socks and Vans Authentics. The way these kids cruised the streets of downtown Los Angeles on their decks, bare chested, with so much elegance and energy captivated the young photographer. With sunny California as the perfect, romantic decor, Holland photographed skateboarders for over three years. Fun fact: due to severe drought in the state of California in the 70s, the local government prohibited swimming pools to be filled with water. These empty pools appeared to be ideal for skateboarding, and any new skatepark built nowadays is still inspired on the shape of the ‘empty pool’.
Glancing through the pages of the book, you realize how big the influence is of the skateboarding culture on contemporary style. Vans has played a crucial role in blending culture with fashion. And that’s why we truly admire the Californian brand. Inspired by vintage and heritage items, infusing their collections with little nods from the past. We also like the given fact that Vans can’t be categorized, doesn’t serve a certain sub-culture, but is part of something bigger. The brand is all about freedom, spirit and being laidback. To commemorate this, the iconic American skate brand and Tenue de Nîmes decided it was time for a special collaboration. Although a distance measuring more than 7.000 miles between California and Amsterdam, we utterly feel there’s a strong connection serving as fertile sole for a special iteration on the Vans OG Authentic, the shoe where it all started with for Vans. The shoe will be launched in the Summer of 2018, and will be a homage to high quality indigo fabrics, the OG silhouette and the city of Amsterdam.