we have recently profiled the history of vans customs & reviewed the modern van doren series re-issues which naturally opens the floodgates to an in depth feature of vans (custom) prints. printed canvas has played a huge part in the evolution of the brand however to tell the story we have to set the 'scene' so to speak. legend has it that the legend himslef steve van doren was still in high school when he noticed kids colouring in the white midsole with checkerboard pattern. this was then reported back to van doren seniors who eventually began working with printed checkerboard canvas.... & the rest is (checkered) history!
of course custom made prints were possible from the very beginning of the house of vans operation in 1966, as long as you provided your own fabric print. henceforth as the 80's progressed so too did the option for custom made printed uppers available instore or by mail order. 1 was either faced with a shoelace-bound sample book of printed canvas tongues or a mail order palette of the spectrum of available designs. of course this was not the limit of vans prints as we have seen many variations on a theme from commercial collaborations to 1-off combinations. prints became so popular & endemic to the brand identity that many became stock option shoes available on the shelves instore. again the diggers out there should look for the custom made markings (discussed last week).... or for the glaringly obvious.