you've got to give credit to VF corp, the current owner of vans.... for doing their homework at least. they are slowly bridging what once seemed an insurmountable gap between original made in usa models & their current offerrings. the unliklihood of embracing the ancient methods of vulcanised footwear reassuringly mean however, the deep yawning chasm between the 2 will never be completely reconciled. the latest release to make relevant a comparison between the 2 though is the recent vans velvet collection.
one of our most popular collections over the last 2 & a half years has been the velvet releases from the late 80's & early 90's. of course we would love to think we at least played a part in the viral demand which led to these re-productions, but regardless of anything we do the 'velvet crush' is a concept that has wide universal appeal. just like the floral re-issues, vans decided to go for the Lo Pro, which is an interesting favouring of a sleek design with obvious femininity. although the thinner sole authentics were produced in the past, from our experience however, part of the appeal of vintage vans is the thick durable midsole which offers a harder, more core masculine edge. at least vfc are not choosing to simply clone the originals, & do offer a contemporary tweak.
the part which seems completely lost on modern designs (although i have heard rumours)is the more tapered fit of the originals. i guess in an attempt to cut corners they go for a ubiquitous 1-size-fits-all template which results in a distented last, which subsequently fits.... none. this is all too obvious in this case where the low, sleek silhouette of a Lo Pro requires a more contoured width & pointed toe area to accentuate the female foot. original vans had it spot-on whereby each last was tapered perfectly for different widths as the sizes increased.
i admit the integrity of the velvet in the new releases was reassuringly achieved with near perfection. the velour allure of the originals is captured with aplomb. the rich glisten to the black, red & blue velvets remains consistent with the depth of the originals, although i do prefer the original burgandy to the modern red.
fear not if you feel the market is now flooded as the velvet fog of inferior re-pro lo pro's descends, because there still remains open territory within the original back catalog so far untouched. this collection failed to capture the palate of the green, purple nor orange velvets, the texture of the heavenly velvet florals, plaids & paisley nor did the collection approach appropriation of other models including the chukka boot, era, sid & sk8-hi which do exist out there. as such, drape yourself in velvet as we have plenty more surprises up our corded velveteen dry heave.