Vans Fosters Community and Connection Through Skateboarding
Vans is nothing without community. And as the world endures a new normal, how does creativity flourish without the purest sense of connection? Vans’ newest chapter of its ‘THIS IS OFF THE WALL’ campaign captures this universal sentiment with a new series of short films showcasing how three diverse communities have discovered their creative voices through skateboarding. Expressing collective themes of identity, imagination, perseverance and most of all, friendship, the new campaign shares these unique perspectives to foster connection with fans and inspire creative freedom through skateboarding.
Featuring three devoted skate scenes from across the globe, Vans’ campaign connects fans with the D.I.Y. skate spirit of The Skate Witches in North America, the making of the Szaber Bowl in Poland, and the historic rise of skateboarding in China. Each vignette takes a deeper look into how community is born of creativity, and how these eclectic groups have found their calling through one common language: skateboarding.
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, The Skate Witches founders Kristin Ebeling and Shari White grew tired of not seeing skateboarders they identified with in traditional skate magazines, so they decided to create their own zine. The Skate Witches print zine is a platform to celebrate the often-overlooked skaters, photographers, and communities around the world. Blending their perspectives of skateboarding, art, and humor with friends and like-minded personalities they meet along the way, The Skate Witches are creating a vibrant community beyond global borders.
In Poland, Marcin “Baca” Duch and his neighbors lost faith that their city officials would build them a skatepark so they took matters into their own hands, and built the Szaber Bowl, an abandoned shopping center turned skate spot for all to enjoy in Warsaw. They knocked down walls and reclaimed the rubble. It’s raw and imperfect, and that’s exactly how they like it—it’s theirs.
The tide is turning in China, as skateboarding’s emerging culture offers a new future for the youth in Beijing. Through the eyes of original Chinese skateboarding pioneers Chen Long and Xiao Yao, we learn of the evolution of skateboarding culture in China, and how generations young and old have found freedom and independence through skating.
Vans recognizes a global yearning for connection, and although skateboarders are destined to make their own place in the world, at its core, skateboarding is driven by community. These global stories convey the passion of independent skate communities that span generations; and they are the proof points of connection we want to see in our new world.
To engage further with the global skate community, Vans will partner with The Skate Witches to host a digital workshop series in July, inviting fans everywhere to express themselves through photography, creative writing, and filmmaking. The Skate Witches-led workshops will educate participants in each field and source submissions from fans to create a global, multi-layered zine that lives online at Vans.com/theskatewitches.Stay tuned for registration info coming this July.
Vans’ THIS IS OFF THE WALL campaign defines what “Off The Wall” means through a diverse series of digital storytelling, contests, and immersive experiences that inspire, enable and support global creative communities. Watch all three skate stories at Vans.com/OffTheWall and join our community by using #OffTheWall on social media.
Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans.
Vans, “Off The Wall” Since ’66