Are there any other interesting special make ups that you have done over the years?
Our skate high. We had the guys from Pearl Jam say ‘Hey we remember that rust colour, can we get some?’ So I made 10 pairs of those. Four years ago MTV called and they wanted to do a surprise band at our skate park, it was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Nobody was to know until a half hour before the show. In nine days the art department made up a bunch of Chili Pepper designs. I had 12 pair of shoes made between Skate Hi’s, Low’s and Old Schools. They were red and when they came to play I gave each guy a pair of shoes. I kept one pair and gave a pair to my daughter.
What does the future hold for Vans?
We’re never going to have air pockets like Air Jordans and stuff like that, so we have to get creative with the materials. The thing that hasn’t come back totally yet are all the fun, crazy things we did with prints. That’s an area that still has a long run for us.
It seems hard to get support for a new idea unless its retro inspired. Is it hard to come out with something fresh and original in sneakers?
I know Grant who is our head designer, has a really great idea but I’d have to kill you if I told you. He’s got something that’s not that easy, that he’s been working on for a year and a half. If he comes through with it, it’s really going to be cool. There’s also a new line called Syndicate. We just showed it at ASR, it was on a corner parking lot under a big army tent. It’s got 4 or five different styles, the Half Cab is one, the Old School is one. There is tattoo art on an Authentic, it looks great. These are packaged really cool and it’s a special brand just for our best, core skate shops.
Just to finish off, what shoe would you pick to sum up what Vans is all about?
The Checkerboard Slip-on. People buy them to go do their weddings.
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