History of Art and Design
The history of Vans and what mine say about me
In the course of todays History of Art and Design lecture we discussed the idea of style, how we make conscious choices about what we wear everyday and what our clothes tell other people about us. The item of clothing that I have chosen to focus on are my Sk8 Hi Vans, which I think give people a glance into what type of person I am.
Vans were first founded in 1966 by the brothers Paul and James Van Doren, with two other partners, Gordon Lee and Serge Delia. Opening 'The Van Doren Rubber Company’ was how one of the most popular shoes of the 21st century came to be, starting life as a simple canvas deck shoe with hardened rubber soles. The range of choice, in terms of style and colour, that the company offered helped them stand out from other competitors of the time. However, it was the rubber waffle sole that offered grip and traction which made Vans such a desirable choice, especially for skate-boarders. A group of skaters that had particular impact on the popularity of the vans brand were the Z-boys. For example, The van, now known as the Era, with a padded collar and different colour combinations, was designed by Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, both members of the Z-boys. This made it the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders. In 1997 two new styles of vans were released, the 'Old Skool', which had the iconic 'jazz stripe' on the side and the 'Slip on' which was aimed at skate-boarders and BMX riders, further extending itself to a wider area of consumers. In 1978 the Sk8 Hi was released, featuring the side stripe with an above the ankle reach. The idea behind the higher shoe design was innovated to protect the skate-boarders bones from their own board and brought a new flare to the skate park.
The Sk8 Hi vans are my favourite type of shoe and the item of clothing which most reflects my personality because of their practical design and the intensity of colour they encapsulate. My vans are red with blue panels and white details with a checkerboard print on the sole. I think the bold colours of my shoes show that I am confident and unafraid of standing out. They However, I do not skate-board, which is why the shoes were originally designed, conveying that they have been adapted to fit the fashion industry. This ensures that they never become a redundant shoe style, as they have filtered into the fashion choices of many, including my own.
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Second year Illustration student at Cumbria University.