What Went Down: House of Vans — Celebrating 50 Years of Vans Heritage @ The Row

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Ray Barbee 2

On Saturday 19 March ’16, everyone from skaters and non-skaters to gig-goers and people who came just to abuse the free food and drinks were present to celebrate 50 wonderful years of heritage that Vans has graciously shaped for the entire world to enjoy. For this milestone, Vans planned celebrations in various cities like New York, London, and Hong Kong under the ‘House of Vans’ title that took place in the same week – Kuala Lumpur included. These parties invited performers such as Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, The Kills, and many more to its stage. The KL edition welcomed Ray Barbee and The Mattson 2 and John Cardiel — both of whom ranked as legendary skateboarders — alongside local favourites Killeur Calculateur, The Fridays, and Misgive.

Seeing as the lifestyle brand has been active for five decades, it only made sense for the number of people attending its anniversary party was five times the digits of their age. Kids began to occupy every inch that The Row had to offer from the early hours of the afternoon, which emphasised Vans’ loyal fan base and the heat.  The lack of ventilation around the area made the already humid-we-are-melting temperature increased to is-this-what-hell-feels-like-or-have-we-sinned-too-much, but thankfully, the generous folks of League of Captains allowed us to take advantage of their air-conditioning and iced tea.

After we reenergised ourselves with sugar, we checked out the art exhibition featuring the works of Donald Abraham, Katun, and Engku Iman, however, there were too many people who needed to take photographs of the art that resulted into a group of punters whom couldn’t appreciate what was being displayed completely due to the obstruction (this included us). But if we had to judge the success of the exhibition based on the public’s reception towards it, added with their dire need to document what they had seen or felt after looking at the illustrated boards, we say they did extremely well. Maybe next year’s party could have better crowd control.

Everyone’s enthusiasm was forced to take a backseat for an hour after people were ushered out of Slate so that the musicians’ soundchecks could take place. The Fridays’ sets have beem consistent in terms of energy and humour, and thankfully, our expectations weren’t misplaced here as the boys did a spectacular job once again — crediting Baby Spice for teaching lead singer Ashraff everything he knew, that fact will be engrained in our memory for months to come. The main highlight of the night though, besides meeting Ray Barbee — the man responsible for pioneering street skating — we were honoured to witness him in another relationship he’s deeply committed to; music. If you thought that was cheesy, here’s another one, seeing skaters thank or crediting Ray for inspiring them to pick up the sport warmed our ice-cold hearts. Sort of like the feeling we have whenever we see coupons for free beer. Admiration is very real, people.

Browse through some photos below:

Ray Barbee

Malaysian Skate Legend, Padin Musa

Killeur Calculateur

House of Vans — Celebrating 50 Years of Vans Heritage went down on Saturday 19 March ’16.

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