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.