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Fashion

A Look Back At 2016: When Sneaker Brand Vans Came, Collaborated & Kicked Ass

This was the year that American skate shoe brand Vans became the sneaker label to wear, queue up for and party with. Let us break down all the ways it ruled.
vans shoes

 #1: It celebrated its 50th birthday this year

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Fact: The action sports footwear and apparel cult brand Vans has been tuned in to youth culture since 1966. Evidence: This year, the brand commemorated its 50th anniversary with an updated hardcover version of their first book “Off The Wall, Stories Of Sole from Vans Originals” (launched in 2009), featuring stunning photography and personal stories from renowned American personalities in the skateboarding community, such as competitive surfer Joel Tudor and street artist Shepard Fairey.

#2: It teamed up with Supreme

You know American skateboarding apparel brand Supreme for its street-cool offerings with its iconic red box logo that’s inspired by conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. So imagine what happens when you the brand hooks up with Vans on the latter’s classic Sk8-Hi Pro and Authentic Pro models – very covetable collabos in the coolest checkered prints.

#3: And it teamed up with Line (yup, the Korean messaging app)

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One thing you should know about this: when this Line X Vans collection debuted in Singapore in May, it sold as fast as the messaging system. The app’s well-known expressive figures like Brown, Cony and Sally were rendered as irresistibly cute prints that even made non-Line fans (even fashionistas) go gaga.

#4: Now let’s talk about its Toy Story tie-up

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We have to admit, this release was memorable and huge. Lovable characters (such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody) from the 1995 computer-animated film were printed on everything from clothing to footwear and accessories, so that both adults and children could join in on the fun of dressing up.

#5: Its signature Old Skool sneakers became the new Stan Smith

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The Old Skool sneakers are go-to classics that we can trust to carry us through our dress-down days. As the first design to sport the iconic side stripe, it has a lace-up silhouette coupled with a suede and canvas upper and Vans’ signature Waffle Outsole. What’s cool though, was how everybody, from celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Kristen Stewart and Kanye West, to street style stars such as Veronika Heilbrunner and Kate Foley, were seen sporting them this year.

#6: It brought the House of Vans to Singapore

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Vans celebrated its 50th anniversary in the best possible way they know how: By throwing a fun street party earlier in September to honour its heritage in action sports, art, music and street culture (yup, it helped build up our skating scene). There were a slew of interactive events – DIY workshops, a local designers showcase and a concert – galvanising the street-culture community through the House of Vans platform of activities.

#7: It model Natalie Westling became its campaign girl… and collaborator

Throwin it down before Chanel Cruise

A photo posted by Natalie Westling (@nataliewestling) on

This year saw fashion brands embracing skate culture – so what is an actual skate shoe brand like Vans to do? Find a model who skates. It’s no surprise that 19-year-old Westling has got an 88.1 K-strong following on Instagram (her baby-like face, orange-red hair, the freckles). From being a star of Marc Jacobs and Saint Laurent ad campaigns in 2014 to walking down the Louis Vuitton SS’17 runway show, and becoming Vans’ ambassador – she’s not your average model-next-door. And yes, the Arizona native did grow up skating.

To take things up a notch, she’s also collaborated with Vans to come up with her own #VansXNatalieWestling collection comprising of Sk8-Hi kicks in ivory and teal. We’re sold (on her and the shoes).

#8: And now it’s teamed up with The Female Collective’s Charmaine Seah-Ong and Aarika Lee for a Christmas giveaway

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We all know The Female Collective’s Charmaine Seah-Ong and Aarika Lee as two of Singapore’s most stylish women. Recently, they have roped in their family for a shoot (#familygoals, really) with Vans as part of a Christmas giveaway. Here, Charmaine’s two-year-old daughter (who’s turning out to be a mini Charmaine with her girl-next-door charm) and Aarika’s two children (which she affectionately refers to as #ZolaMae and #AriJon on Instagram), stole the limelight in their fashionably chic sneakers.

 

Like this? Check out Singapore style icon Aarika Lee on her signature look and favourite brands she’s into, branding guru Charmaine Seah on the modern woman’s guide to beating stress, and how the Female Collective’s Aarika Lee, Charmaine Seah & friends are the fun squad you want at every party.

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