Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Vans

First-ever Vans pop-up opens at Conveyor at Fred Segal Santa Monica

Vans opened its first pop-up store over the weekend at Conveyor at Fred Segal Santa Monica. Dubbed the Vault Shop at Conveyor, it will occupy the entire retail space until at least mid-January. It's being described as "the most complete collection of Vault by Vans found anywhere" and will serve up a deep bench of the brand’s higher-end, limited-edition product, including some re-releases of sold-out items and exclusive Vans x Conveyor collaborations.

The store opened on Friday with a showcase of shoes designed by artist Taka Hayashi, and we're promised additional featured guest artists (and an entirely new stock of product each month) along the way. Next up? A "Vans Comix" assortment featuring the artwork of R. Crumb, Rick Griffin and Robert Williams.

-- Adam Tschorn

Vans x R. Crumb Collaboration

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Photo: Through mid-January, Conveyor at Fred Segal Santa Monica has been remodeled into a Vans pop-up store, dubbed the Vault Shop at Conveyor, 420 Broadway, Santa Monica. Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Credit: Vans Inc.

'Fast Times at Ridgemont High': 27 years of Vans, Spicoli and SoCal culture


If it weren't for today's topic at The Toilet Paper (which bills itself -- with no small measure of mock reverence -- as "daily news for the thinking man"), it would have slipped right by me that today marks the 27th anniversary of  the release of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," the Amy Heckerling-directed, Cameron Crowe-written1982 movie that introduced my generation to Phoebe Cates' breasts, Sean Penn's career and the iconic black-and-white checkerboard slip-on skate shoes known as Vans.

As a kid from rural Vermont, the movie represented the exotic world of cool California style reflected in the wardrobe choices of the assorted sun sponges, free spirits and law-benders that enjoyed a hedonistic Eden that was 3,000 miles and three time zones away.

Nearly three decades later, I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Van Doren -- son of co-founder Paul Van Doren and he told me how that shoe's checkerboard cameo changed the course of the entire company:

" 'Fast Times' definitely put us on the map," Van Doren said. "We were about a $20-million company before the movie came out, and we were on track for $40 million to $45 million after that."

So, for putting Vans on the map, Southern California in our hearts and the phrase "Aloha, Mr. Hand" on our lips, we salute you!

-- Adam Tschorn

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Vans Shoes: a Happily Checkered Past

Inside Vans' Cypress Headquarters

Photo: "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" soundtrack album depicting a pair of checkerboard slip-on Vans. Courtesy of Vans Inc.

Readers share 'Vanecdotes' about that checkerboard slip-on

My recent piece "Vans shoes: a happily checkered past" prompted a couple of readers to share their own anecdotes about the storied checkerboard slip-on.

The first letter was from Steve Coe, the owner/designer of L.A.-based T-shirt line Worn Free, who passed along the story told to him by director John Hickie who ran across the shoes in a somewhat unexpected place. Here's part of his e-mail:

"Just a quick note to let you know I really enjoyed your story on Vans. I heard a great story from my friend who directed [Discovery Channel's] "Future Weapons." He had to film on the USS Texas submarine -- the first of the new Virginia class of subs -- for a week, and all of the guys on the submarine were wearing checkered Vans.
It turns out they can choose their own footwear on subs -- it's the only part that's non-uniform and they all pick the same shoes to wear. ... According to John, they are the perfect sub shoe because they are comfortable and quiet and sonar can pick up shoe noises ."
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Bearded & Tschorn: Counter-culture collaboration by Vans and R. Crumb

Rage_crumb_shoe When I mentioned to my editor that one of the most prestigious of the 18 judged categories of facial hair at the upcoming WBMC is referred to as "full beard natural," she sent me a link to the Wikipedia entry for underground comix pioneer Robert Crumb's long-bearded Mr. Natural character. That, in turn, reminded me of a cool collaboration I've been meaning to mention for a few days now -- the Vans brand has partnered with Crumb to put some of the counter-culture cartoonist's artwork on footwear.

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Fruit shoes -- A pair a day keeps the winter blues away

Sneakers with fruit graphics are looking sweet for Spring. And what better way to kick winter aside than with colorful shoes printed with cheery produce. Vans and Nike are both doing fruit shoes. Nike has a women’s Dunk High in an all-over cherry print that I first saw on Kanye West’s blog. And Vans is doing a collection of fruit shoes including watermelons, oranges and green apples. The watermelon shoes actually look like juicy little wedges of watermelon, with a bright green sole and pink canvas with black seeds.

If you can’t wait until Spring deliveries, Opening Ceremony still has some of those cute Liberty print Nike Dunks at its store on La Cienega. They’re white with red cherries and a red swoosh and on sale now for $50 (originally $120.)

Opening Ceremony. 451 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048. (310) 652-1120.

--Melissa Magsaysay


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