One is the iconic Californian brand whose cult collaborations since their 60s inception include everyone from Madrid Skateboards to Coors beer. The other is a husband-and-wife design duo whose rule-breaking prints have seen them build a design repertoire that includes commissions from the likes of Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. Together, Vans and Eley Kishimoto have created a new capsule collection complete with Lynchian black and white zig-zags, graphic flowers and warped arrow prints.
Eley Kishimoto are Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, the married couple who, despite both obtaining fashion degrees, turned their talents to furniture and wallpaper alongside clothing and accessory collections. Dedicated to their maxim to “print the world”, they see life as a constant source of inspiration. Eley, from Wales, and Kishimoto, from Japan, met in New York while interning and are now based in South London. Kishimoto describes the way different cultures inspire their work as an organic, almost unconscious process. “I guess it’s like breathing,” she told us, “you’re not even aware of doing it other than letting what happens, naturally happen.”
For the pair, Vans x Eley Kishimoto marks a meeting point of two aesthetics, with them calling the collaboration a “super double culture”. It was a process that began with the idea of, in Kishimoto’s words, a “Patterned Tribe’s Urban Playground” and was soundtracked by Chopin, Szymanowski and constant grime in the home they share near their studio. The final result is a collection that transforms traditional Vans elements – reinterpreting the famous imprinted waffle board sole into a bright blue 3D feature and the iconic checkerboard print into a warped pattern. Comprised of both men’s and women’s pieces, it includes five of the brand’s iconic patterns in the form of reversible parkas, bucket hats and a new take on the classic Vans slip-ons.
The Vans x Eley Kishimoto collection launches globally this month. This Saturday, the Old Vic Tunnels will host the first in a series of “Print the House” events to celebrate the collection. Visit houseofvanslondon.com to find out more.