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Monday, June 04, 2007

I like my Vans

Vans have moved their headquarters back to Cypress, Orange County, after a ten year absence. Orange County is the epi-centre of the action-sports industry with Quiksilver, Etnies and Volcom all based there.VF Corp., bought Vans three years ago and hope to increase their market share across the board. Vans are still popular among thrashers but recent interest from the fashionista has been matched by the growth in the retro market, with many older people now sporting Vans (myself included). The company’s biggest seller is their classics ‘vulcanized‘ footwear. Vulcanized shoes are pretty simple popularised by thrashers keen to shun the giant sneaker companies and feel their boards, again. Prior to this the company produced cupsole or cold cement shoes which were both heavier and bulkier. The skate shoes were quite ornate. Company executives acknowledge the impact of their movie "Dogtown and Z boys" (2001) reawakened interest in the simpler sk8er shoes. In the original, the Z-Boys wore vulcanized shoes and once fashion companies recognised fashion the popularity of the cult they started to produce Van clones. Ironically these companies featured their new collections with models sporting original Vans. Vans were quick to accept the fashion dimension of their footwear and started with designers like Luella Bartley and Rebecca Taylor to produce shoes which sold through high profile fashion outlets. Whilst the company still regards skateboarding as their main market they have plans to develop crepe soled shoes with hemp or suede uppers for r&r; as well as continue with their surf and sandal, and surf and snow markets.

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