Everyone knows Vans footwear. It’s a brand who’s name and image transcend the niche-market into the mainstream while managing to still stay relevant and indeed celebrated within fickle world of skateboarding in which they took their first steps
Founded in 1966 by Steven Van Doren’s (the jocund and friendly chap at the top of the page) father in California. They quickly became the shoe of choice for the young sport of skateboarding. Now-legends Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva designed a model of shoe in the 70′s which is still popular today (The ‘Era’) – it’s the ‘little black dress’ of skate footwear.
Today they make BMX specific shoes, snowboard boots, clothing, bags even an iPhone case (featuring their famous ‘Waffle Sole’). They have shops all over the world and hold large sporting events for skating, snowboarding and BMXing.
In the interim the company has been sold several times and is currently owned by VF Company who bought it for just under $400 million. Still involved though is Mr Van Doren, and it really makes a difference.
Steven Van Doren is friendly chap with an astounding memory (he remembered me from over a year before and I’m not a memorable person, I even forget myself sometimes!) together with his daughter, Kristy they head up the events and marketing side of things (I think), and because of this everything in those most hectic of enviroments seems like a family affair and much more friendly because of it.
I shot these pictures in Amsterdam, during a skateboard contest called The Vans Downtown Showdown, an annual competition where various skate teams from around the world design strange skate obstacles which are made into reality by IOU ramps and competed on over a three day period.
For anyone reading this who knows their skating, this last picture’s for you!