Paris Fashion Week: Vans x Dime Event Recap
During Paris Fashion Week, Vans and Dime welcomed skaters and aficionados to a unique series of events that celebrated skate culture - an integral part of the brand’s DNA - and its longstanding relationship with one of the most influential Street skaters of all time, Geoff Rowley. There aren't many who've had quite as much of an impact on the development and progression of skateboarding as Rowley, literally shedding blood for the love every single day, just to see how far you can physically push the limits of skateboarding.
The Parisian city is one of the most relevant skate cities right now. Thanks to Vans showing up once again and leading with skateboarding culture, the skating community from far and wide came together combining their creativity, fashion and freedom of expression, in a context that was truly loose and uniquely skate.
As a part of the Vans x Dime Rowley XLT Launch, Dime hosted a pop-up shop that was custom-built in a storage container and mimicked a corner of the label’s Montreal store. Founded in 2005 by good friends Antoine Asselin and Phil Lavoie, Dime started out as a small skate crew that would film and skate together. It has since become one of the most coveted skate companies in the world - so it was only right that Dime’s roots were carried from Montreal to Paris.
For Rowley, "the skate scene has always been good in Paris" with "good spots and the locals have always been cool. I skated all over Paris growing up. Many trips to all the classic spots and suburbs. Not one but all stands out. Paris has some great skate spots."
As a skater, Rowley "most definitely" sees a city differently than a tourist or a local. "I look at the architecture first to see what’s skateable before I think of anything else. There are moments going to famous spots in cities that does feel like tourism though. The spots that we’ve seen forever in videos but never been to for example."
Partnering with Dime, Vans has re-tuned an archival favourite from 2001; the Rowley XLT. Throwing it back to an iconic time in skating and in Geoff’s career, the shoe is hands down one of the best skate shoes ever made and the elevated silhouette was available once again after two decades, as a part of the Vans x Dime Pop-Up event last weekend.
On the first day, we turned up at the Cosanostra skatepark a purpose-built famed bowl. While Willow Voges Fernandes, Martino Cattaneo, Alexey Krasiny, Paul Labadie and a few more Vans’ crew headed to one of the biggest squares in Paris, the Place de la République - a must for any travelling skater. Since 2013, this has been a known staple spot in Europe that offers up smooth ground and good energy. We asked Rowley whether there's a difference between pros now and his generation, and his thoughts were "Not the top pros no, I don't think. There are some amazing current pros pushing the boundaries and doing it with style their own way."
Later that evening, we headed down to Fluctuart, a floating art space moored on the Seine River. Neighbouring the Eiffel Tower, the space was transformed into a launch party with photography of Rowley’s shoe and a live DJ providing the soundtrack to the evening. An impressive number of skateboarders and locals gathered to celebrate all things skate and got a first look at the Rowley XLT alongside some apparel that was showcased at the pop-up.
Closing the weekend was the Dime LIVE In Paris skate demo and comp in a mystery spot. Skaters rode past as we headed to find the space, which was tucked away in a gritty stripped-back area. Lines of Paris locals, global legends Tom Penny and Rowley plus the crowd started forming around the skateable Vans x Dime pop-up.
The anticipation was building in the air with everyone ready to battle it out for the best tricks. The painting hung on the pop-up’s wall was used for a ramp, the clothing rack transformed into a rail, and then was switched up to a bump to a bar. As soon as a deck scraped the bar and the skater landed back down, the buzz of the crowd amped up. Just when you thought things couldn’t be pushed any further, the rail was moved further back and then out came a ramp from the floor. Lines of the crowd closed in further to see skaters nollie, hardflip and land. The pop-up got a proper destruction with riders getting straight back up after every bone-shaking slam. Ending things big, Chris P. Fanner shut down the whole show to finish. Electric.
We asked Rowley if there was one piece of advice you could give to a new skater, what would it be -"Enjoy yourself and go at your own pace. Learn to fall and get back up with a smile. Get gnar when necessary."
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