【Tokens of a Brand 】Off The Wall | Vans

Vans — a brand we all know and love, walking down the streets of Hong Kong 8 out of 10 pairs of shoes you see walking down the streets are by this brand. No wonder they have wrapped up such a big following, over the years. The House of Vans campaign has been active all over the world and two years ago landed in Hong Kong, this year 2017, the movement is once again brought to life.

We always see the brands promotional materials showing up in ads on the television or when we’re walking down the MTR and images of ads flashing through every step we take, even if we go to events such as House of Vans, in a way it’s promoting the brand Vans, but we never had the chance to talk to the people behind the scenes, the masterminds behind the movement to get more insight into the decision making and thought processing.

BOOM had the chance to talk to Mathew Morgan, Marketing Director of Vans APAC, to know more about the brand, the expansion that has exploded worldwide with their famous House of Vans events and the ways of achieving the “Off the Wall” spirit ourselves!

We always see and hear the phrase “Off The Wall” what is the sole meaning/ purpose behind this phrase?

“Off The Wall” was a term coined when skateboarders in the mid ‘70s were landing new tricks in empty pools by literally skating off the wall. At that time, skateboarders were outcasts of society who expressed themselves through the style of their sport. These individuals were not only the pioneers of skateboarding, but also lived and breathed creativity through art, music, fashion and local culture. “Off The Wall” has been synonymous with that original spirit of rebellion and creative expression that has been driving Vans for more than 50 years.  

Vans has always been linked with skateboarding, how did you find a way to correlate it to other aspects of street culture such as art, music etc.?

Originated from Skateboarding, Vans’ deep connection to consumers and Vans’ heritage has allowed us to be the brand that transcends all types of creativity and be naturally adopted by musicians, artists and athletes. In short, creativity is the crucial link to how we have expanded from skate into street culture, art and music.

Do you feel that this culture is niche in Hong Kong or has it been expanding since House of Vans first started?

The culture of creative expression is everywhere in the local community, not only in skateboarding but also being embodied in art, music and street culture. While creative culture is considered niche, it has broad influence on the greater population from how we dress to how music and art evolve.  The House of Vans encourages creative communities to come together and provides a platform to amplify their cultures throughout the 2 days of programming.

I hear that there will be a lot of local talent as well, how did you discover these hidden gems?

Vans had a variety of creative platforms such as Custom Culture, Musicians Wanted and our annual Skateboard programs. All of which, have contributed to the local talent we will see at the House of Vans in HK.

All the workshops seem to introduce people to the different aspects of House of Vans, how do you wish for it to affect them?

Vans strives to inspire and empower people to embrace their creativity through skateboarding, art, music and street culture. The workshops and clinics provide opportunities for people to express themselves creatively. I sincerely hope that some attendees will discover a hidden talent or passion they may not have known about through our workshops and experiences at the House of Vans.

House of Vans seems to be part of the city itself, other than this big event that you do once a year, is there any other places/events where we can find traces of House of Vans?

Vans actively supports creative expression through a variety of activation and experiences throughout the year. Be sure to follow Vans and watch out for skateboarding events, our Custom Culture program, Musicians Wanted and creative workshops in our retail stores.  

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