The Vans Old Skool. A timeless staple for that every few years keeps deciding to make a comeback in streetwear. I’m sure most of us has owned a pair of Old Skools or defiantly knows a few people that own a pair. Whether it is the classic black and white model or the rather colourful rambunctious models, the vans old Skool is a staple for many people closets. Whether you wear them for skating, going out, or just simply for casual use, the shoe seems to have a place for every use and is a model that will continue to be a staple for many.
Vans had been founded as the Van Doren Rubber Company in Anaheim in 1966, at which in 1977, the Vans Old Skool originally debuted as the “Vans Style 36” which at the time, showcased the now iconic Vans strip on the side of the shoe. What started as a random doodle by Paul Van Doren which was originally referred to as the “jazz stripe”, had transcended Vans over the last 40 years, making the side strip become the unmistakable hallmark of the Vans brand.
The low-top style of the shoe was intended for skating at the time and had some rather unusual material choices at the time such as the leather panels on the strips and over the years, these material choices became the norm for many companies following Vans. In the 1980’s and 1990’s is when Vans began to create customizations and collaborations on the shoe model. The idea for the customizations was Steve Van Doren realized the possibility of the simple idea of pulling a pen out and creating your own unique footwear work of art. The collaborations portion followed the similar trend as the brand always thrived on the creativity and dedication of artists reaching into and beyond Vans culture by creating unique style and twists on their models. The most notable collaborations being supreme in the mid 90’s marks the beginning of an era of design projects and friendships that last to the day.
As time continues, the Old Skool is a model still worn today by the likes of artists such as A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean to just name a few. The silhouette has inspired the masses and to this day, we see creators take the silhouette and create their own unique designs to the models. Designers such as Ian Connor as Jerry Lorenzo have made their own versions similar to the Vans and have noted to be inspired by the silhouette as it brings back the culture in streetwear growing up. Vans is a shoe that has touched many subcultures and its influence in streetwear is one of the more underrated ones.
Written by Julien Mortier