BORN ON THE STREETS
The House Of Vans Backstory
Checking in with Vans legend Tony Alva for this instalment of House Calls
RIPPED FROM COUTURE
Just like the name Vans, the name House of Vans derives from the company’s original name: the Van Doren Rubber Company.
STEVE’S SPECIAL MIX
He may not be at the level—yet—of “billions served,” but Steve Van Doren has definitely flipped thousands of burgers over the years. Like all natural-born chefs, he has a deep-seated need to feed others.
A REAL FREE FOR ALL
In the beginning, there wasn’t really any plan. The House of Vans organizers just knew they wanted to build a fort, a sort of grown-up fort where people could feel free to do what they wanted, a place that would be lit from within by the imagination.
Next up on House Calls. Music played a huge role in Robert Trujillo’s childhood. His parents and cousins introduced him to a variety of genres, from Motown to Rock, Metal, and R&B.
AT HOME BY THE RIVER
The original House of Vans Brooklyn found its home alongside New York’s East River, in the neighborhood of Greenpoint.
THE MURAL IS THE MESSAGE
China-based artist Panda Mei (Mei Huanlin) specializes in illustration, painting, screen printing, and vinyl toys, among other creative pursuits. He’s also a talented and sought-after street artist, having produced several murals for House of Vans Hong Kong. Read on as he shares his process for making one of his murals.
TUNNELS OF LOVE
In 2014, House of Vans London opened its doors, taking over a series of five barrel-vaulted tunnels beneath Waterloo Station—one of the city’s busiest rail hubs.
DO DROP IN
From the very first days of House of Vans, the skate park has always been an essential element. Check out a roundup of some classic skate trick moments from House of Vans around the world.
GWAR IS HELL
When you go to see a performance by the legendary heavy metal group GWAR, what should you expect? The professional photographer Laura June Kirsch has been shooting at House of Vans since the beginning and has plenty of stories to tell.
With its Victorian-era architecture and subterranean location beneath Waterloo station, the House of Vans London can exude a spooky steampunk ambience.
THE ART OF THE CARICATURE
London-based artist Eloise Dörr has been drawing and painting since she was a child, but it wasn’t until she picked up skateboarding in 2012 that she landed on the signature character that now imbues much of her work.
LUCKY NUMBER THREE
Don’t resist change; move with it, and you’ll get to the next thing with a little more joy. That jibes with the Vans mindset. And that was pretty much the guiding M.O. between 2017 and 2018, as the original House of Vans in Brooklyn gave its last call and a new House of Vans emerged in Chicago.
RIDING THE WAVE
There’s something about the vibe at House of Vans that inspires people to dive into the crowd—literally.
Combining a goofball public persona with a distinctive songwriting style and production sound, Canadian artist Mac DeMarco rose to indie fame unexpectedly quickly.
House of Vans Chicago, the third permanent location following those in Brooklyn and London, opened its doors in 2017. Like its predecessors, the Chicago venue took over a cavernous old structure zoned for warehouse storage.
MAKE A CRUST VEST
Artist, producer, and self-proclaimed fashion addict Sickera has spent much of his career espousing the DIY aesthetic. In 2016, as part of Vans’ 50th anniversary celebrations at the pop-up in São Paulo, he led workshops, and he lent his talents to help wheatpaste the walls of Vans Brazil’s headquarters.
EL BARRIO MAGICO
When you walk into the new House of Vans that’s coming to life in Mexico City, you can feel a sense of the building’s illustrious history.
From 2013 to 2017, House of Vans hosted a pop-up at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, where it invited both emerging and established artists across genres to showcase their musical chops from the iconic Mohawk stage.
Before the acclaimed rapper, singer, producer, and drummer Anderson .Paak rose to stardom, the Oxnard native was playing drums in a church band and helping to manage a weed farm in Santa Barbara. After a sudden termination left him and his family homeless, .Paak remained dedicated to music, and eventually found himself as a featured vocalist on Dr. Dre’s 2015 album "Compton."
MAKE YOUR VERY OWN VANS PAPER SHOE
Known for their creative, exploratory outlook and their dedication to a traditional hand silk screen printing process, Lovenskate not only prints skateboards, but zines, t-shirts, hats and fine-art prints as well.
AT-HOME SCREEN PRINTING
IdleBeats is an artist duo and the first independent screen print studio in China, founded in 2009 by Nini Sum (China) and Gregor Koerting (Germany), pictured below. Together, the two have formed a strong partnership and have spent many years focusing on the medium of screen printing and its countless creative applications.
PUT THE SHOW ON THE ROAD
The very first House of Vans in Brooklyn quickly developed a devoted following. A couple years later, people started wondering: Can this idea travel?
Next up on House Calls: Kyle Walker is a pro skateboarder from Oklahoma. He was named Thrasher’s 2016 Skater of the Year, and that year was also an SLS Pick.
BUILDING YOUR SKATEBOARD
Robin Eisenberg is a Los Angeles based artist, animator, and designer. Her technicolor graphics of trippy, intergalactic landscapes have been commissioned by brands like Vans, Adobe, Netflix, Apple, Adult Swim, Thrasher, HBO, Doc Johnson, and VEVO.
Next up on our House Calls series is Californian skateboarder, photographer, and musician Ray Barbee. Ray has appeared in skate videos such as Public Domain (1988) and as a playable character in the "Skate 2" and "Skate" 3 video games.
LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH KATIE SILVESTER
One of London-based photographer Katie Silvester’s favorite things is seeing other people fall in love with the magic of taking pictures. After first picking up a camera herself as a teenager, she went on to study fashion photography at London College of Fashion. Since then, she’s embarked on both personal and commissioned work that revolves around youth, wanderlust, and the natural intimacy of friendship.
Vito Roccoforte is a drummer from California. In 1998, he formed the band The Rapture with childhood friend, and guitarist and vocalist Luke Jenner.
A man who needs no introduction, Steve Caballero began skating in 1976 at the age of 12 and started his career at age 14. We sit down with Cab for our next instalment of House Calls.
PAINT A T-SHIRT WITH ROBERTO PEREMESE
As a graffiti artist, muralist, painter, and illustrator, Roberto Peremese has carried out projects in several South American countries—both on the street and in galleries—filling each neighborhood through which he passes with color.
WALTER SCHREIFELS FROM GORILLA BISCUITS
Next up on House Calls is rock pioneer and genre-defying musician Walter Schreifels, part of legendary hardcore bands Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today.
Kevin Peraza is a BMX freestyle competitor from Tucson, Arizona, where he grew up in a family of BMX riders. He has represented both the United States and Mexico in competition. We sit down with KP for our next instalment of House Calls.