On Wednesday, the iconic skate and surf brand Vans celebrated its 50th anniversary by unveiling a new video titled “The Story of Vans” and returning to its roots with the release of the Vans Pro Classics Anniversary Collection.
“It’s an exciting day for Vans as we embark on a new chapter in our history and celebrate 50 ‘Off The Wall’ years of actively supporting and enabling creative expression. We also look to the future as we introduce progressive platforms and product innovation that consumers around the world expect from Vans,” Kevin Bailey, Vans and VF Action Sports president, said in a press release.
“The Story of Vans exemplifies the milestones that have made Vans the unique brand it is today.”
The video, which traces the birth and proliferation of the shoes from Jeff Spicoli to “Damn Daniel,” touches on the areas of popular culture that Vans has influenced since its birth — from action sports to music to art to fashion — through illustrations by French artists Mrzyk & Moriceau.
According to senior executives at Vans, touching on all the turning points in the brand’s rise to ubiquity was most important in celebrating its 50th anniversary. As such, the video makes sure to note one very important moment in the timeline of the company: the adoption of Vans as the shoe of choice for the legendary 1970s Zephyr skateboarding team (popularly known as the Z-Boys) from Venice Beach, California.
“The [Z-Boys’] popularity blew Vans up with everybody now knowing Vans as this skate shoe brand,” Rian Pozzebon, Vans’ director of footwear color and trend, told Complex. “That’s the first thing that put Vans on the map globally, and that showcased what the brand stood for.”
But beyond the world of action sports, Vans has managed to influence popular culture, and perhaps never more notably than through its high-profile partnership with high-fashion house Marc Jacobs, into which it entered in 2005.
“That was a big story,” Pozzebon told Complex. “I don’t think it just made people take notice in the fashion industry. I think [Marc Jacobs] gave us a whole new spin in regards to how we were perceived by artists and musicians. Anyone in the creative field, I think, looked at us in a different way.”
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