World Footwear


Vans supports arts education with its Custom Culture competition

Jun 3, 2014 United States
Vans supports arts education with its Custom Culture competition
Running for the fifth year the art event challenges high school students across the United States to embrace their creativity by customizing Vans shoes
Participation in the tournament follows very clear set rules. There is an initial registration period and the first 2 000 U.S. based public or private high schools to register will receive four pairs of Vans shoes (106, Sk8-Hi, Slip On and Authentic) to customize. At this stage, they can start working on each pair with one of four themes: Action Sports, Music, Art, and Local Flavor (inspired by their surrounding community, city or state). Once shoes are complete, each competing school submits the photos of the customized shoes.

When all the submissions are in, Vans staff narrow them down to a group of 50 semi-finalists (ten schools per region, with five total regions) and opens the site to public online voting. This vote will determine the five finalist schools, who are then contacted and invited to be part of the final stage to crown the contest winner - this year the final event takes place on the 10th of June.

California, South Dakota, Kentucky, New Jersey and New Mexico are the state homes of the 2014 announced finalists. The grand prize winner will receive a 50 000 USD donation to their art program and the four runners up will each receive 4 000 USD prizes for their programs too. Vans partner, Journeys, will also be awarding prize money to the school with the best Local Flavor themed shoe in the amount of a 10 000 USD donation.

It all started in March 1966 in California when Paul Van Doren and three partners opened up their first store, The Van Doren Rubber Company. On the first morning, 12 customers purchased shoes that were made that day and ready for pick-up in the afternoon. The Vans #44 deck shoes, which are now known as the Authentic, were born. In 1975 the company launched the era shoe, with a padded collar and different color combinations, and this became the choice for a generation of skateboarders. By the end of the decade, Vans had 70 stores in California and was selling through dealers around the US, and internationally. During the 80’s the company started to create shoes for a significant number of other sports and ended up draining its own resources. Unable to overcome its debt the company filed for bankruptcy in 1983. Three years later, and after paying all debtors, the company emerged from bankruptcy and in 1988 an investment banking firm bought it and Vans starts to expand again. The 90’s were marked by the beginning of Vans manufacturing process overseas and by the IPO of the company at NASDAQ. 2000 starts with the recognition of Forbes magazine naming the company one of “America’s Best small Companies”. The award would be received again one year later. In 2004 Vans Custom is launched, allowing would-be fashion designers to create their own classic slip-ons utilizing hundreds of different colors and pattern combinations. Vans continued to forge innovative collaborations, namely with designer Marc Jacobs, and the recently announced partnership with Star Wars. Available from June 1, the Vans x Star Wars collection includes authentic Vans, SK8-Hi reissues and classic slip-on shoes in various Force-fashion designs such as Stormtrooper Bandana style, Yoda Aloha pattern, A New Hope poster design and a classic repeat character design. In addition to footwear, the Vans x Star Wars collection will also include apparel accessories such as backpacks, baseball caps and socks.

For more information about the Vans Custom Culture please visit the website:

Related Events

  • Jun
    Jun 2-Jun 3, 2024 | Michigan, United States

    Metro-Michigan Women's Wear Market

  • Jun
    Jun 3-Jun 7, 2024 | New York, United States

    FFANY Market Week

  • Jun
    Jun 4-Jun 7, 2024 | Atlanta, United States

    Atlanta Apparel

  • Jun
    Jun 4-Jun 6, 2024 | New York, United States

    Footwear Show New York Expo (FSNYE)

Related Organizations

  • PLC - Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design

    PLC - Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design

    United States
  • ALCA - American Leather Chemists Association

    ALCA - American Leather Chemists Association

    United States
  • The Atlanta Shoe Market

    The Atlanta Shoe Market

    United States
  • The Museum at FIT

    The Museum at FIT

    United States