The California connection is strong between Anaheim-born shoe brand Vans and Santa Barbara-based surf shop Mollusk. It's the first time, from what I can tell, the two have joined forces for apparel and footwear, but it feels like a natural fit, with Vans having long outfitted surfers on the West Coast, where Mollusk first opened in 2005. It's an olive branch between old and new, if you will — but neither is a rookie by any means.
Mollusk tasked longtime collaborator and artist Nathaniel Russell for some earthy doodles — three characters named Big Time Dolphin, Byrd The Hair Farmer and Mystic Mushroom. They appear on several T-shirts, a pair of hats — and on the liners of each sneaker, of which there are three: a corduroy Vans Authentic SF, a hemp Vans Slip-On SF, and a mid-height Vans Chukka DX SF.
All three appear sun-faded, as if their hues were based off pairs sampled at summer's end. The chukka, for example, wears an all-over faded black upper, with an aged rubber sole. The cork insole — embedded in each of the three shoes — offers comfort and anti-odor properties. The corduroy authentic is an orange-ish color reminiscent of a sunset but called "Earth."
Tonal eyelets match the aged outsole, while the laces are pure white — for now. The last pair, Vans' classic slip-on, is a color combo called "Green Antique," a reference to the dusty hemp upper and patina-ed outsole. (To be fair, I mean patina-ed as in slightly aged, not fully broken-in like a pair of Golden Goose shoes.)
Their aesthetic makes them right at home in the photographic campaign, which features the sneakers strewn on a rocky coast, tossed into a crashing wave and worn on dry sand. But they'll work anywhere it's warm out, which will soon be everywhere (at least, in the Northern Hemisphere — sorry, New Zealand).