Vans’ ‘Black Rainbows’ Immersive Exhibit Honors The First Skateboarding Shoe
Who says we can’t wear sneakers to the beach?
There are many reasons to love Vans, and as of August 9th, we can add one more to our list. Over ten delightful days, Vans brought together history, art and culture to honor the anniversary of the first-ever skateboarding shoe, with a free, immersive exhibition on Venice Beach.
The interactive exhibit took place in the neighborhood, fondly known as Dogtown; that lies between Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Dogtown, the hometown of skateboarding, was the perfect setting to bring skateboarding enthusiasts back to where the brand began and the SoCal of the 1970s.
The Tales of The Era panel discussion refreshed exhibition-goers with the history of the original skateboarding shoe. The Era shoe was born when Tony Alva, a surfer and skater, joined up with the Vans brothers in the early ‘70s. Alva was part of the Z-Boys, all of whom were at the event, and described sneaking into local backyard pools to skate; applying their surf style approach to skateboarding which, in turn, launched the sport into the mainstream.
With waffle brunches to start the day, film screenings of The Tony Alva Story and the award-winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, there were stories being told in every corner of the iconic neighborhood. A highlight of the event was Vans’ collaboration with legend of Dogtown and owner of the Zephyr Surf Shop, Jeff Ho, and original Z-Boy and skate hall-of-famer, Jim Muir, to curate the impressive artifact display that included original photographs and artifacts.
For those unmoved by the brand’s nostalgia, the exhibition’s punk-shows made the trip to the beach worth the drive. The live music, boasted the likes of Suicidal Tendencies and O.C based band, Fury, who both perfectly captured the rebellious spirit of skateboarders. New bands like The Paranoyds were also welcomed into the ‘Off The Wall’ fold, providing the soundtrack for skateboarders performing slides on the Dog Bowl skating sections.
With the beach, live music, workshops, and the giants of the skateboarding world in one place, Vans showed its legacy in the most quintessentially Cali way possible. Off the wall, and onto the beach.
Cop a pair of Vans Era here.
Photography: CELINA KENYON & ASHLEY OSBORN