Images Stüssy KL
Did you know that Vans once declared for bankruptcy? Don’t freak out because that was 31 years ago, and look where they’ve ended up now – on your feet. It all started on 16 March ‘66 at street 704E Broadway, in Anaheim, California. The Vans dream was born; along with the first ever Vans store and The Vans #44 deck shoes, now known to the world as the Authentic. With its rugged makeup and sticky sole, it undoubtedly rose to become the shoe for generations of skateboarders. Vans Slip-Ons, the Era, and countless other shoe classics aside, Vans has also expanded its empire with the creation of the Vans Triple Crown series for sport enthusiasts like skateboarding, BMX, and snowboarding. Of course, there was also the legendary Vans Warped Tour – skate punk’s equivalent of Tomorrowland before it got more genre-diverse – that is still an ongoing annual festival.
Meanwhile, Shawn Stüssy first started embellishing graphic t-shirts he had designed with his last name written in a unique hand-lettered style, which made its way into becoming the signature Stüssy logo. As for his success story, it was with the help of Frank Sinatra Jr. (No, not that Frank Sinatra’s son) that the brand launched itself into making an impact of great magnitude in the world of skate and street culture. The people who have a relationship with the Stüssy team is, unsurprisingly, made up of familiar names – the founder of HUF, Keith Hufnagel, the founder of Supreme, James Jebbia and even Eddie Cruz, the founder of Undefeated.
We must have done something good to deserve this then, because both Stüssy and Vans have combined their distinct Southern Californian aesthetics and the results are glorious – we’re talking about bold prints circa the ’80s and ’90s, contrasting fabric details and pops of neon colours. First hand drawn by Shawn Stüssy back in 1986, the Tom Tom print is revived on the OG Style 36 LX with neon green overlays, which further highlighted the Style 36’s new wave-inspired aesthetic. For the OG Era LX that was heavily inspired by the skate scene back in the ‘80s, its contrast colouring at the ankle counter and lining was one of its main features. Not forgetting the OG Sk8-Hi Lx with one of Stüssy’s most celebrated patterns, the Stüssy 8 ball print was all over Vans’ iconic high top, finished with red leather Sidestripe detailing.
So when two of the most familiar streetwear icons collaborate, you know it calls for a celebration. The launch of Vault by Vans x Stüssy collection was naturally held at the latter’s base in Malaysia: Stüssy KL. We were initially greeted by free waffles in the shape of the iconic Vans Waffle shoe sole, bags of snacks, and drinks. Good vibes were in abundance that Friday evening, with amazing sounds from local rap talents of the Raising the Bar family, which included Ashtin AKA M.I.O, Lawa Nie Gang, Jin Hackman, and local canto rap group, Manhand. If anyone ever announced the death of the yo-yo culture, it was definitely resurrected when the Malaysian Duncan team wowed the crowd with their performance that evening as well. It did not come as a surprise when local streetwear enthusiasts were seen toting numerous shiny Stüssy plastic bags out of the store in droves, gleaming with excitement for their freshest urban gears.
Vault by Vans x Stüssy Launch went down on Friday 27 June ’14.
More photos here.