If I can live to the ripe old age of 90 and leave a legacy like Paul Van Doren, I’ll be pretty chuffed, I reckon. The pioneering co-founder of the Vans footwear brand had published his memoirs just over a week before his death, almost as if to add a final piece of punctuation to a life well-lived.
Born to a father who was an inventor and a mother who worked as a seamstress, Van Doren was perhaps destined to be a mixture of the two, setting up Vans in 1966 with his brother James and friends Gordon Lee and Serge D’Elia.
The Vans story is probably best learned via the aforementioned book, entitled ‘Authentic’, but let’s just say the words “rubber”, “skateboards” and “Sean Penn”. That mix of celebrity co-sign, fitness for purpose and subcultural resonance was what cemented the brand’s place. After that, it achieved the status all brands aspire to, being populist without ever losing its edge.
This was meant to be a post about the latest drop at Wellgosh but the photos are smart and it’s good to recognise the passing of people who have made a cultural contribution, isn’t it?