A Brief History of WTAPS Colabs
Born from Japan’s Ura-Harajuku movement, WTAPS (pronounced double taps) have established themselves as a streetwear heavyweight. Run by Tetsu Nishiyama, the revolutionary label has continued to push the boundaries since its emergence back in 1996. The genre-defying brand has been influenced by military garb, the outdoors, and countless sub-cultures – including skateboarding. From the very beginning, WTAPS was highly-sought after, only available in Japan and selling out almost instantly. Today, WTAPS have expanded to a global presence, and have surpassed fashion trends by creating timeless pieces that continue to stay relevant.
Further cementing their legacy, WTAPS have delivered their fair share of desirable collaborations over the years. Each release holds its value to remain a prized possession for both streetwear enthusiasts and sneakerheads. Here is a brief history of WTAPS collaborations – including team efforts with iconic brands such as BAPE, New Balance, and Vans.
Tetsu Nishiyama spent some time working for BAPE at the helm of their URSUS line. Taking its name from General Ursus, of Planet of the Apes fame, the line focused on creating clothing for a more mature audience. In 2011, WTAPS and BAPE joined AMBUSH to deliver a three-way colab using the CREEPSTA. A smart, minimal, woven leather shoe with d-ring eyelets, it hit all the right notes.
When we talk about iconic duos, Vans and WTAPS are right up there with the best of them. The pair have enjoyed a long-running partnership, combining for some very memorable colabs. One of the best was the 2016 link-up where they brought back their iconic cross-bones motif on the Authentic, Chukka and Sk8-Hi.
This year, they posted a heartfelt message paying tribute to Vans titled: Still in Love with Waffles. Alongside that, they debuted another Vans Vault collaboration using the Slip-On, Old Skool and Era which takes inspo from their time collaborating with the Syndicate line.
The WTAPS x Vans combo is a serious sneaker love story.
In 2005, Vans launched their Syndicate line – a specialised branch that focused on skate store exclusive built with premium materials and delivered in specialised boxes. WTAPS fit right in with that ethos, and have dropped some of their cleanest Vans colabs to date under the Syndicate line.
Most notably, their ‘Bones’ collection from 2007 presented the Slip-On, Chukka, Sk8-Hi and Era in a multitude of colourways. Uber-limited, and highly sought after to this day, the ‘Bones’ collection is one of the most iconic Syndicate releases ever.
WTAPS have also dropped a few Timberland joints over the years. Tapping UNDEFEATED back in 2008, the trio tackled a 3-eyelet classic lug. With hand-sewn uppers, plush fur liner, and a tri-branded tag on the inside, they’re a clear look into the high-quality standards WTAPS have set for themselves.
Then, in 2017, WTAPS linked with Timberland once again to produce a 6-inch boot. With heavy military inspiration, the duo tricked it out with clever branding – including the coordinates of WTAPS’ main office.
Back in 2013, WTAPS reworked the Clarks Desert Boot, putting their own special spin on the classic silhouette. Dressed in all-over tan suede, subtle brown contrast stitching and laces, they opted for a clean hit of branding on the tongue and heel tab.