WP Story 08

Vans and WP, when the Californian aesthetic met the Italian style

Since 1966, when the company was founded in California, Vans has been a synonym of authenticity and self-expression, inspiring creative communities thanks to its deep connection with skating, surfing, art and music. A people company rather than a shoe company. We met Steve Van Doren, Vice president of Events and Promotions and Henry Davies, Vans historian and collector, to discuss heritage and future of the iconic brand that managed to remain at the heart of youth culture for 50 years. The history of Vans is also a piece of Italian fashion, thanks to the creative collaboration with WP that started in 1983 and had a huge influence on European culture and fashion.

"Back in the early eighties, when WP contacted us about making special shoes for their stores, I was kind of shocked; before then it was skaters and surfers and snowboarders and now, all of a sudden, a fashion company coming out of Italy was sharing Vans with their customers, with their special paisley prints and vivid colors. WP was teaching us what they liked and we would just follow that." Steve Van Doren

"Vans was there in skateboarding circles and BMX circles, but WP brought this to a fashion landscape. Everything about what WP was doing, the communications, the catalogue, the retail spaces, the marketing, even the packaging, was next level, and essentially it was ahead of its time. You know, only now it is really being understood for the influence that it had on European culture and fashion."
Henry Davies

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