New Vans store designed as an homage to LA’s skate history
Vans’ new Los Angeles store is meant to pay respect to a city that’s been possessed to skate since day one.
The location, billed as a community-driven retail and event space, has two floors and features art made by professional skateboarders and other local artists. The first floor includes an in-store skate shop with a range of products as well as the full collection of Vans Pro Skate footwear and apparel. The second floor features a space called Studio808 to facilitate exhibitions and art and design workshops.
This is not Vans’ first venture into lifestyle-focused store concepts. The brand’s experiential House of Vans flagship features not only skate gear, but a stage big enough for major bands to perform and an indoor skate park complete with a concrete bowl. There are two House of Vans locations in Chicago and London, and the brand also brings House of Vans-themed multi-day pop-up events elsewhere throughout the U.S.
From 1995 to 2019, Vans was the brand behind the multi-day Warped Tour, the longest-running touring music festival in North America, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Focusing on lifestyle has become an increasingly big part of the retail experience, and footwear is a space where this has been especially true.
Athletic shoe brands like Nike have opened massive brick-and-mortar flagships in major retail hubs with services and technology focused on providing unique experiences and customization options attractive to the “sneakerheads” that buy, trade and collect their products. Brands have also taken the experience to mobile with apps that both extend the in-store experience and make brand events, like product “drop” scavenger hunts, possible. Multi-vendor retailers like Footlocker have begun to roll out similarly experiential locations called Power Stores and have launched similar mobile initiatives in partnership with sneaker brands.
Vans has likewise launched tools that meet its customers’ desire for personalization. It has a Vans Custom app on its website that lets visitors create customized products. It also holds online events, such as the Custom Culture shoe design contest where amateur designers have the chance to win $25,000 and have their shoe design produced by Vans.
- Vans Opens Its First Community-Driven Retail Store In Downtown Los Angeles – PR Newswire
- End of the Warped Tour: What the loss of rock’s ‘cheap, scruffy’ roadshow means for the concert biz – The Los Angeles Times
- House of Vans – Vans
- Custom Culture – Vans
- Will Footlocker’s NYC Power Store play ball with Nike? – RetailWire
- Retailers can make personalization work – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you find most intriguing about Vans’ experiential store concepts and activities? Is the industry moving to more community-based stores or are cookie-cutter layouts and design going to remain the norm?