Available exclusively at select independent skateboard retailers, Vans Syndicate celebrates the diverse heritage of ideas, attitudes and influences that make up skateboarding’s unique lifestyle.
Vans talks with Luke Meier.
Sorry for the delay with this ... Life has been a bit intense lately ... Good, but intense!
Also, I'm sending you some photos that I took of St. Peter's in Rome around the time I was working on the Zero Lo's ... I was spending a lot of time in Europe then, visiting a lot of interesting and impressive places. The first thing I thought when I went inside St. Peter's was: I wondered if anyone had ever skated there ... I mean, they wouldn't skate in there, but even pushed along the marble around the church ... It's slippery, but a flat, smooth surface always makes me wonder about whether someone had skated there ...
Probably seeing all of these kinds of places inspired the 'Destroy Luxury' idea. Europe is interesting because you have so many old, beautiful structures, but if you want to skate you have to kind of wreck it. But in a way, it's ok, and is representative of the way civilizations work; old gets destroyed and new gets built. Plus, you have to be able to skate somewhere in European cities!
Let me know if what I sent is ok ... And thanks again for reaching out ... I'm proud to have worked on a project with Syndicate, Vans, and particularly the people who are/were involved
This year marks the 10th year anniversary of Syndicate. We are bringing back some of favorite shoes and collaborations. Is the anniversary model a color you wanted to make before? What was the process behind the updated version?
It's actually a color I never really imagined, but when the guys approached me with the idea I thought it was fresh. The updated version was mostly put together by the Syndicate guys. I had some input, but it's really been their initiative.
Was designing the Vans Syndicate shoe a new experience for you at the time? Tell me a little bit about your background at Supreme as well as school and how that informed this shoe.
It was a new experience because while I'd worked with Vans (through Supreme) for a long time, this was the first shoe that was a completely new style that I was able to make. I started designing for Supreme in 1999, and working with James (Jebbia) and all the talented people there definitely helped to shape my approach to making things.
You designed the shoe from scratch or based on an existing model?
The upper of the shoe was designed from scratch, but we used a classic Vans vulc outsole.
Most of the time when people do shoes for Vans they are color-ways or slightly altered versions of their classics. Do you like the classics? Did you ever wear any of them growing up?
I grew up with Vans, and have had most of their classic models at one time or another. I got my first pair when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Freshest kid in school that day ... black and white checkerboard slip ons. I have always had at least one pair of Eras or Authentics ever since.
What were the styles that inspired the shoe you designed? Did you want something skateable or more fashionable.
Because the idea was 'Destroy Luxury', I wanted to make a skate shoe of luxurious materials that was supposed to be shredded. Even more, I wanted people who skate to really like the shoe for skating; style is the bonus. Many different people have told me that they like to skate in the shoe, so I think it was successful in that regard. There wasn't a particular style that inspired the shoe, it was more an approach of how can I make a shoe with Vans DNA look a bit more 'luxurious'.
Is the piece on the side for ollie protection?
Yeah. It's the spot on a skate shoe that gets the most abuse, so I put the most luxurious material there ... to be destroyed.
Was it cool to imagine people skating in the shoes?
It's the main reason I wanted to make them. Vans and skateboarding can't really be separated in my mind. Skateboarding has had such a profound effect on me, and Vans is part of that. For that reason I will always revere the brand.
How did you first get involved with Vans Syndicate?
I linked up with Vans through my friend Berto from Supreme back then. He always believed in my art and was an inspiration to me in the streetwear game. It was his idea of doing the Syndicate shoe and working with Vans.
Did you ever wear Vans growing up?
I grew up in the harbor area of Los Angeles—skateboarding and surfing was always around in the neighborhood. I bought my first pair of Vans at the OG store on Torrance Blvd. I remember in junior high we’d write our names on the side of the white rubber. Or you’d write your name and your girlfriend’s name, and rock them like that. I can remember the girls wearing the Slip-Ons—that image is burned in my brain forever.
What is the meaning behind the clown drawing?
The clown represents good times and bad times; we use the word “clowning” in our vocabulary to describe something sick.
You designed an OTW shoe, a Slip-On, and a Simpsons Vans shoe. How were all the projects different?
The Syndicate has a hardcore, streetwear old school feel. The Simpsons was a celebration of life-changing animation. For the OTW I was able to express my graffiti roots and my experience from traveling around the world.
Is it cool to imagine people skating in these shoes?
Yes, it is. A lot of times people don’t wear my shoes—they keep them in the box as a collector’s item. But I love seeing people sporting them, so other people can see them. It’s even better if someone is skating them and can fuck them up a bit … that’s the best. To me it’s like having a fancy show car—it’s no good unless you drive it.
Tristan Modena from Vans raps with Harmony Korine about his first board and who inspires him.
I grew up skating with Harmony in Nashville, TN in the early ’90s. We went to the same high school; Hillsboro in Green Hills. I was a
couple years younger than most of the dudes who were really skating back then. I guess they let me roll because they knew my older
sister, and they were scared of her. I used to love to call Harm’s answering machine (pre-cell phone era) because there was always some
funny shit on there. When he was a senior in high school (1992), he told us he was writing a story about a guy who only fucks virgins …
we all laughed and thought it was cool. Soon after graduating from Hillsboro, he moved to NYC. Next thing I knew, Kids (1995) came
out, and I was watching my boy make David Letterman uncomfortable on his own show. It was a classic. If you haven’t seen the movie
or the footage, you should watch it. Not to mention one my personal favorites, Gummo (1997) which was filmed in Nashville and starred
a bunch of the homies from back in the day.
Harmony was one of the people in my life who introduced me to art. Whether taking us to see a Woody Allen movie like Shadows and
Fog (1991), or a screening of My Own Private Idaho (1991), or going to watch KRS-1 speak at Vanderbilt University, he helped open my
eyes to a different way of thinking and looking at the world. I was a young, impressionable mind soaking up everything around me. At
that time, I was completely enthralled with skateboarding and those who loved it, which hasn’t changed to this day.
by Harmony Korine
You look good, you been working out?
Yeah, 15 hours a day.
Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I’m from Nashville. I still live in Nashville.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been painting a bunch lately. I’m also finishing up a script now for the next movie.
When did you start skateboarding?
When I was 12. I bought a pink Nash Executioner.
When did you know you wanted to write movies?
I just wanted to make my own movies. I didn’t want to have to wait for anyone else. I wrote movies out of necessity.
What is the movie/project you are most proud of?
I can’t separate them. They’re all trill.
Who has had the most influence on you as a writer/artist?
This cripple dude I grew up with named Samson who used to sketch zoo animals with a crayon that was duct-taped to his big toe.
How/when did you first meet Gonz?
Washington Square Park in the early ’90s, skateboarding with a suitcase and cigar.
by Harmony Korine
What is your favorite movie/s?
Who is your favorite artist/s?
Purvis Young. Tommy Wright III. Lord Infamous.
Who is your favorite actor/s?
Is there any significance to your daughter’s name?
Her name is Lefty cause she was born a righty.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
It’s all a miracle.
Who do you look up to?
Tell me about your relationship with Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
We used to hang out. He was amazing. I once saw him have a conversation with a telephone pole.
What’s the grimiest thing you’ve ever done?
Fondled a bum’s foot.
This season Vans Syndicate collaborates with auteur, provocateur and
skater Harmony Korine. Harmony gained fame as the teenage writer
of the controversial HIV-era cult classic film Kids that was set among the
burgeoning mid-’90s New York skate scene in which he was immersed at
the time. Harmony continues to write, direct and produce a growing body of
influential films, books and works of fine art. Harmony created the custom
checkerboard print pattern and his artwork is featured in the footbeds on his
Authentic Pro “S” and Slip-on Pro “S” styles in canvas and suede.
STYLE: SLIP-ON PRO “S” MATERIALS: SUEDE/PRINTED CANVAS COLOR: (HARMONY KORINE) WHITE
STYLE: AUTHENTIC PRO “S” MATERIALS: SUEDE/PRINTED CANVAS COLOR: (HARMONY KORINE) WHITE
Vans pro Jason Dill returns to Syndicate this season with an OG Authentic “S” featuring Dill’s own original doodles and pen drawings on the natural canvas Vans classic style, featuring custom, full color Dill photo tongue prints.