size? collections – Henry Davies – Vans Archivist and Collector
The last time we caught up with him, he showed us an array of Vans rarities; this time, he showed us around the Brand Archive & Vintage Store at the Vans Carnaby Street Shop.
Henry spoke about the shop first…
“Brand Archive & Vintage store on the first floor of Vans’ Carnaby Street Shop, which operates as a unique brand experience. It offers the closest thing to a Vans museum in the world with a chance to buy a piece of history whereby each pair of shoes is at least 22 years old. In part, I had no choice in building a collection like this; the practice of accumulating what I love is within me & beyond my control. Admittedly, another part of the motivation to build this operation – however – was the realisation the brand had no physical archive & the resulting was an opportunity for an individual like me. This creation means everything to me. It is my livelihood. It is my passion. It has offered me a social platform & defined part of who I am as a man.”
Sidewall Archive Cabinet
“Based on Vans’ rich tradition of customisation, it is impossible to own every Vans item ever produced. I have, however, been motivated to own and represent at least an element of everything manufactured. Without a doubt, the sidewall practice is an invaluable component of the back catalogue. Many of these items are from my personal rotation and have great significance. Otherwise, this represents what the Italian licence in the ‘80s included – which is of great inspiration.”
Sidewall Archival Display
“Steve Van Doren was a huge motivating force behind what I do, and meeting him crystallised that power/knowledge. Otherwise, this stuff represents the greater cultural relevance the sidewall was able to represent. Steve means the world to me and paying respect to him and his family has emotional significance.”
Sidewall poster from the mid-'80s
“These look beyond sick! The internal brand representations that were never available for commercial use are some of the more exciting items to pursue. They were once throw-away and incidental items that now hold great value.”
Licence Plates Sidewall items
"The licence plates scene was an enduring and powerful design which many people connect with. I was so stoked to uncover that Vans California Licence Plate! Although it actually corresponded to ‘Van 887’, It was easily doctored with magic marker to reveal ‘Van S87’!"
Keep checking back on the size? blog for more size? collections.