The founder of Vans did not intend on making a skateboarding shoe. But as Southern California youth became more interested in skateboarding, Van Doren’s shoe was a perfect fit for their needs.
Fast forward to the late 1980s when skateboarding appealed to a new audience. Skateboarders up and down the East Coast carved out and popularized a new skateboarding genre, which had long-reaching impacts.
Those skaters would also bring their style and music into the sport, ultimately carving out a new fashion trend eventually called streetwear. Around the same time, a Bay Area rap group released an anthem about Van’s sneakers, making the shoe more appealing to young consumers of color.
While Vans had a tumultuous journey as a skateboarding brand, they could capitalize off of the streetwear market, which grew 30 to 40% each year in the early 2010s.
Here’s how the overlap of skateboarding culture and hip-hop changed Vans’ consumer base forever.
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How Hip-Hop Helped Vans Become A Billion-Dollar Brand