“We chose to go left when everyone was going right,” shares Bill Cruz, founder of Under The Palms and self-proclaimed OG of the Vans sneaker community. Cruz is one of seven individuals to share their story in Vans’ latest narrative, Waffleheads, which features the voices, passions and collections from a unique subculture created by Vans fans from around the world.
“Our community of Vans collectors and customizers aren’t your typical sneakerheads,” said Erwin Federizo, Vans’ Global Executive Creative Director. “Unlike many sneaker aficionados, Vans fans don’t worry so much about keeping their shoes pristine, encasing their collections behind protected closet shelves – they prefer them worn down to the sole, painted on, passed along and rummaged from flea markets. Their collections showcase a true picture of individual style, fashion sense, and a love for our brand and what it represents: heritage, connection to subcultures, and self-expression.”
Waffleheads pays tribute to stories that convey Vans’ rich history of creativity highlighting individuals whose collections and creative philosophies have authentically defined Vans as a literal canvas to their expression. Cruz, Charlene Holy Bear, Henry Davies, Hyun Ye, Jayass, Panda Mei and Penelope Gazin, have carved their own space in sneaker culture through distinctive journeys of collecting, customizing and creating founded on Vans’ iconic sneaker design.
“Rather than thinking of myself as a collector, I feel I’m a historian,” said Henry Davies, a Vans shoe collector and global ambassador for the campaign. “For me, it’s all about the story behind the shoe. The more meaning loaded into a product the better. It’s a work of art that you can wear.”
Waffleheads is one of the many layers of Vans “Off The Wall” ethos to inspire and enable creative expression through action sports, art, music and street culture. In continuation to its purpose, Vans will host a series of “Meet the Waffleheads” activations to celebrate Vans’ collectors and customizers around the world, featuring panel discussions, music, and artifacts from the creative cultures that thrive around Vans communities everywhere. Beginning this summer, Vans fans can submit images of their own collections or customized Vans to enter for their chance to win an all-expense paid trip to attend a “Meet the Waffleheads” event and showcase their own personal defining collections alongside Waffleheads ambassadors. Vans will host a “Meet the Waffleheads” experience at the House of Vans Chicago on November 16, 2019 with more experiences happening around the world.