We have long claimed to be an urban/outdoor brand. Our gear, we say, has the ability to be used by both people navigating the concrete jungle on the way to work, as well as those looking to get out into the natural world on the weekends. This past weekend we put our urban claims to the test, and passed. We were invited to participate, and collaborate, in the House of Vans event in Johannesburg.
Photo Cred: @lost_soul_siso
In California, 1966, Vans was founded. In the 53 years since then, Vans has become an icon of the skateboarding, and broader fashion, world. The House of Vans is a pop-up event that happens in various locations around the globe. It aims to tell the story, and emphasise the heritage, of Vans. It is all about reproducing the look and feel of where the brand originated – Venice Beach, California. The Sealand team was beyond excited when we were invited to be a part of the event.
Photo cred: @jaspereales
Sealanders Jasper and Luke packed their surfboards away, took a deep breath of the fresh, salty, air of Cape Town, and boarded the early morning flight to the Big Smoke. From the moment they arrived, the Vans Family welcomed them in. Jasper and Luke spent the rest of the weekend watching the skateboarding, attending live art installations, jamming at live music gigs, checking out the barber shops and tattoo artists, and admiring the incredible style of all the attendees.
We are stoked that Vans invited us to not only attend the event, but to participate in it. Prior to the event we took delivery of Vans’ waste, and were tasked with creating new value in it. We transformed their old advertising banners into tote bags. The tote bags were given to the most important attendees of the event – including the international athletes, musicians, artists, and friends and family of the brand - who had flown in for the event from all corners of the globe. We were also amongst a few brands who were invited set-up a stall at the event, and had the opportunity to tell our own story in the urban context of downtown Johannesburg.
'OG': Vans Skater, member of Skate Society Soweto (SSS)
Photo cred: @jaspereales
By any measure, the House of Vans JHB was a huge success. It achieved its goal of telling the Vans story, and it proved to us that there is a lot of space for Sealand in the urban environment. As always, we do not consider this the end but rather the beginning. We are already in discussions with the Vans family about bigger and better collaborations. Not much more can be said yet, but keep your eyes peeled for some incredible collaborations in the near future.