The movie that made Vans famous
Despite its rapidly-growing popularity, Vans’ real turning point towards mass recognition came when a representative for Universal Pictures asked for some shoe options to use in an upcoming movie.
The movie was the wildly popular Fast Times at Ridgemont High – the first major teen film of the ’80s. Rumour has it that the star of the film, Sean Penn, picked out the checkerboard style himself, and his stoner character Jeff Spicoli can be seen religiously wearing his favourite black and white sneakers on screen. In fact, the shoes were such a significant part of the film that they ended up on the cover of the soundtrack.
Post-Fast Times, sales of Vans shoes skyrocketed and the brand became a household name virtually overnight.
From “Canvas shoes for the entire family” to pop culture icon
Today, Vans’ checkerboard print can be spotted on the skate ramp, the red carpet and everywhere in between. Recent collaborations with leading designers and brands like Marc Jacobs, Marvel and Disney, as well as new twists on the classic like this year’s Blur Check print, have further solidified the design’s infamy.
Such is the enduring appeal of the checkerboard print that it’s as readily worn by everyday streetwear fans as it is some of the world’s biggest celebrities.