Celebrating their 50th anniversary in style, the VANS Pro Classic Anniversary pack takes a look back at five decades of authenticity, reinventing iconic shoes with upgraded cushioning and improved durability.
To coincide with this special release Vans, and size? have commissioned five leading illustrators, each with a personal connection to the Vans spirit, to create a series of unique skateboard graphics each inspired by shoes and the stories they embody.
The resulting art work has been applied by hand to premium skate decks using traditional screen printing techniques to exacting specification, creating an edition of exceptional and exclusive designs.
The Vans Pro Classics 50th Anniversary pack is available now from size? Carnaby Street (pictured below), Amsterdam and Milan.
Stevie Gee illustrates the Authentic Pro (1966)
Duke Kahanamoku helped spread surfing throughout the world. This Hawaiian surf legend, actor, and fivetime Olympic medalist handed Vans founder, Paul Van Doren, the shirt off his back to make custom shoes. The Authentic Pro ’66 celebrates Duke’s iconic Aloha print and his legendary meeting with Paul Van Doren.
I like to create love in peoples hearts as well as art and fun stuff. I have exhibited my “work” in some good places like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo and London. Some of the fun people I have made work for include Vans, Patagonia, Paul Smith, Deus Ex Machina, Volcom, Nike, Ride snowboards, Beams Japan and Lacoste as well as a fair few bands and record industry type people who were actually pretty nice.
Eloise Dorr illustrates the Authentic Pro (1977)
As one of the original members of the ’70s Z-Boys skateboard team, Peggy Oki revolutionized the sport alongside other skate pioneers, including Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva. The Authentic Pro ’74 commemorates the Zephyr team’s explosion into the skateboard scene at the 1974 Del Mar Classic.
Eloise Dörr is an un-arts-educated artist currently living and painting in London. The majority of her work consists of blob-like silhouette characters who skateboard, fall over and spend their time playing with their own curiosities. Other artists from all crafts inspire Eloise and her work, but what inspires her equally are much smaller and simpler things. Like skating, puddles, reflections, people falling over, weather, and much more.
Filling sketchbooks has been a constant in Eloise’s life since she was of single digits. This is still a huge part of Eloise’s life, as well as painting her images on scrap bits of ply wood and broken or dumped skateboards. Eloise’s day to day life sways between skating and working in her studio; doing commissions, planning exhibitions and painting for her own pleasure and to fulfil her easily triggered boredom. Although in these english winter months, studio time is slightly in the lead between the two.
Marcus Oakley illustrates the Era Pro (1976)
An original Z-Boy, filmmaker, and co-founder of Powell Peralta Skateboards, Stacy Peralta brought his skate expertise into the design of Vans’ classic Era style in 1976. The Era Pro ’76 combines next-generation function with the classic style of the first ever Vans “Off the Wall” shoe.
Originally from Norfolk, a coastal county in the south-east, Marcus Oakley’s work is inspired by many things – both retrospective and contemporary. His influences include folky, harmonic and melodic musics of all kinds; the pastoral and folkloric delights of the countryside; the joys of cycling; the stimulations of tea; the dizzy geometries of architecture and design – and overall the wonders of making stuff.
VENTS 137 illustrates the Mid Skool Pro (1979)
One of the most innovative skateboarders of all time, Tony Alva brought his brash, aggressive influence and ideas to create modern skate culture. The Mid Skool ’79 continues what T.A. started – skater-driven design built for progression.
VENTS137 is an artist from the South West of England, currently living and working in Bristol, UK. Alongside his gallery output he has been contributing to graffiti culture for nearly two decades and his work frequently explores and references the rich history of this energetic and rebellious art movement.
From his early beginnings photographing trains with his father to his fixation with 1960’s and 70’s comic illustration, he was introduced to graffiti through skateboarding in the late 90s, amidst frequent visits to London’s Southbank and the infamous Ladbroke Grove. Working with a colour palette balanced between the sepia scale of bygone animated commercials and the neutral tones of 1980’s car paint, used by the graffiti forefathers, allow his work to remain subtle yet sure footed.
Liane Plant illustrates the Slip-On Pro (1982)
Vans’ most iconic style was introduced to the world in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. California’s youth culture, along with the Classic Slip-On, became a widespread phenomenon…thanks to a surfer and his kicks. Jeff Spicoli’s classic checkerboard Slip-On goes Pro with the Slip-On Pro ’82.
Liane is an illustrator based in South London. Her work reins in a love of detail, taking influence from the strong graphic images of early skate culture, pop surrealism, curiosities and comics. In 2014 she founded Valkyrie skates, pushing out hand crafted silkscreened boards inspired by Norse mythology and 80’s skateboard graphics. Since graduating from Central St. Martins she has been juggling life working freelance and illustrating at ilovedust.
The Vans Pro Classics 50th Anniversary pack is available now from size? Carnaby Street, Amsterdam and Milan.