STOCK HUNTING 101; lessen 2 ¬ original VANS box(ing day)

for lesson 2 of our stock hunting workshop i thought it fitting on boxing day to think outside the box & profile the original VANS shoe boxes from the days of US production. we unflinchingly continue to tap into the appeal of narrowly targeted goods & tell tedious tales of the long-tail niche market, because when it comes to hunting original VANS one needs not to be narrow-minded but have discerning eye & instead a narrowed mind.

we begin with the most (relatively) available box from the final days of USA made vans production from the mid 90's. it comes in the familiar corrugated recycles brown cardboard which evokes memories of the brown tissue paper stuck to the tacky vulcanised midsole of your treasure inside. a more muted offerring from vans compared to the more off the wall colour-coded boxes of the 70's & 80's. interestingly this was the 1st time in which vans actively promoted what set them apart in that of the handmade aspects of quality/comfort/durability & persued a more accountable stance emphasising the home-grown & recycled appeal. ironically the utopian hope would not last long however as this would be their last forray into methods of vulcanisation, as production moved off-shore & the 'lessenning' ensued. as such, if you find a cache of brown recycled boxes like this, don't count your blessings nor your cash too soon, because this was the crossover period remember!

many a VANS connoisseur, including myself, will admit to the fact of being deceived by both the shoes & the boxes of this mid-90's crossover period & scoring themself what looked like USA made & turned out to be a pair of made in china devil spawn. at 1st glance the box appears almost identical however upon closer inspection all the markings of the home-grown aspect are gone as californication became but a distant memory. some handmade markings still remain which justifiably(?) was still accurate at this time, however all mention of the made in usa mantra dissolved into the ether. at the cost of designing & producing a new box design it was simply tweaked, which we wish was only the case too for the shoes themselves (see lessen 3).

until very recntly this was the extent of the crossover box confusion until VANS throws another spanner in the vulcanisation works. there too exists out there a 'MADE IN ECC' transitional line. it is believed that the european chamber typically lagged in their implementation of eastern production. the truth about the rumoured superiority of ECC production however is so far unfounded. the materials may well be superior to that of chinese sources however to us they simply look like the bastard child of uncle sam.

& so my hunter & collector friends, don't be fooled by issues of cosmopolitan import (& export). although all incarnations of the corrugated brown box reveal VANS inc 1994, trust your instincts & don't get too excited before you take a closer look for the official 'MADE IN USA' markings of orange, californication 92665. here endeth the lessen.


vintage VANS style #95 era 2-tone blue/red/blue DOGTOWN made in usa 1970's

vintage vans style #95 era
2-tone blue/red/blue canvas
made in usa circa 1977

probably the most loaded skate shoe of all time. designed by tony alva & stacey peralta in 1976 the style #95 added to the navy 'zephyr team' style #44 a padded collar for greater protection & extra heel panel for greater durability. it was also the birth of 'off the wall' & started a wave of different 2-tone productions. the blue/red/blue being the most infamous thus became known as the dogtown model.

tosotp x front magazine

what do you think of our latest collab with front magazine?
ummmm...., vans provided by the other side of the pillow.

skateboard kings ¬ dogtown circa 1978

last week on facebook i posted my fave part 4 of the following documentary. rather than depict the story of vans, it does give an insight into 1970's venice beach & a day in the life of the kids from dogtown who changed the world & spearheaded the birth of the now. keep your eyes peeled however for the peak time of 2-tone style #95 era.

vans ¬ the end of an era?

i think it's safe to say that the vans brand is now a giant entity. their shoes now permeate every level of society. (pop up) stores are popping up like wild fire & it seems there is no limit to their expansion. my only concern however is that what goes up must come down. as the cycle of cool would have it perhaps the brands appettite for growth may well be their downfall? it has happenned before to many an empire including to vans back in the late 80s before filing for bankruptcy. what is imperative in my opinion is to reinforce the foundation upon which this empire is built. i would argue that most of the kids these days know not that vans began back in '66, nor have never they ever heard of dogtown or names like alva. & this is not necessarily about skateboarding but it does seem that the kids have lost sight of why the brand is cool & they are merely popular for popularity sake? as such, with the recent passing of 1 of the founder fathers jim van doren (full tribute imminent), i feel it my duty more so than ever to educate & 'change perceptions' of the brand. is there an inevitable backlash around the corner or is the foundation so rich that the narrative is timeless? thankfully there are articles such as this by oi polloi to reinforce the appreciation & admiration of a brand with integrity & authenticity still at its core.