The year 2000 saw a massive consumer thirst for retro footwear, it seemed perfect for Vans, but was it easy to re-introduce the classics back in line?
We had different people in charge at that time, the guys at the top now are really behind it. At that time people were saying why can’t you get this and why can’t you get that. I was in charge of events and we had other people in charge of product and we had a problem, they weren’t listening. I would just say ‘fuck em, I’m going to make my own shoes and put them out there’ and you know what happened? We sold a lot of them and people started saying that’s what I remember about Vans. The ball started rolling and we were getting the things back again, the retro stuff.
It’s hard to imagine Vans not having things like checkerboard, did you enjoy seeing it all coming back?
I’ve had the most fun in the last year and a half. It was the first time I’d been over to China and saw where our shoes were made. Before we closed our factories in the states, I snuck out 200 yard rolls of fabric out and hid them in the warehouse. I just cut the fabric in squares, go to my cousin and he’d print my material. So when I went over to China I’d have fun and go make a pair of shoes. I made up a bunch of different ideas and brought them back to show the designers. That’s how it was in the old days. You could walk out the back and do a pair of shoes anytime you wanted to. It’s harder now. The last trip I went back and got them to make a mould for a size 66. So I actually have a size 66 slip on now and I’m going to use them for P.O.P to display in stores all over the world. I made up a couple black pairs, a couple of red checkerboards and some black ones too.
Are they rights, lefts or both?
Right now they are all lefts, the mould was very expensive so I think I’ll stick with just lefts for the moment. I made big, giant shoe boxes for display and the shoe actually fits in. So for the rest of 05 you will a whole bunch of big shoes every where.
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