Native American artist and designer Charlene Holy Bear has piqued the interest of sneakerheads and fashion aficionados alike, after creating impeccably beaded Vans Slip-On sneakers that have become a viral hit.

Vogue recently caught up with the aspiring designer, as Holy Bear, a member of the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe, shared that she created the beaded Vans four years ago as a last-minute consideration when going to a pan-tribal festival called the “Gathering of Nations” in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

...on how she came up with the design when attending the pan-tribal festival.

CHB: "I hadn’t had any time to prepare outfits for us but I wanted my 4-year-old son Justus to look really cool. He had a new pair of slip-on Vans and I suddenly had an idea, looking at the checkerboard design."

...on what it reminded her of and the reception it had.

CHB: "Those Vans really reminded me of traditional moccasins. Once they were beaded they had this sort of urban Indian vibe so I braided my son’s hair, put on those shoes and he was the coolest little guy at the powwow. People were stopping us to take photos, he made such a splash.”

...on getting contacted by the communications director at PayPal after seeing her design on Pinterest.

CHB: "She contacted me to see if I would make her a pair and it just kind of grew from there."

...on how she would sell her designs, inspired by pow wow regalia.

CHB: "Social media all changed that. I started posting photos on Instagram and people started to contact me looking to buy or have pieces made instead."

...on why she likes working with shoes.

CHB: "I love working on the shoes though because it gives me such creative freedom."

...on her current interest and upcoming project.

CHB: "I’m really into florals right now and I’ve been working on some new designs for the Vans."

...on what these custom Vans that can take up to two weeks to produce, represents.

CHB: "To me these Vans really represent a modern spin on native fashion. I went home to the reservation recently wearing a pair and my sister called me a ‘city Indian,’ so I guess that’s what they say to other people, too."

...on her recent rise to popularity.

CHB: "This all started because of my son. So I just made him a new pair for Christmas."

For additional details, be sure to read the full story on Vogue.

In other news, KITH Women taps Pamela Love to debut gold bamboo earrings, perfect for Valentine's Day.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    North West, "Catwoman," K-Pop Stars & Everyone Else at Balenciaga Couture

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    No Context, Just Kanye Sadly Waiting on an Uber

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban in Full Balenciaga? Sure, Why Not

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    It's a Speaker, It's a Bag, It's a Balenciaga "Beaker"

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    At Balenciaga, Household Names Become High Fashion

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    The Devil Works Hard, But TikTok's "Gentleminions" Work Harder

    Culture
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.