Vans' sneaker designs are typically far superior to most of their apparel — no surprise, Vans just makes clothes to be thrashed. Until now, at least.
The skate brand has tapped two wildly innovative designers, Shinsuke Nakada and Tadayuki Kato, for the brand-new Tokyo Design Collective line of clothing (New Balance who?).
The results are as cool as they are functional. Multi-Funktional, even, going off the name of the sub-label's debut drop.
The first Vans Tokyo Design Collective collection pays homage to ‘90s Harajuku fashion with seven hi-tech pieces that make up easily the best-looking Vans wardrobe of all time, not an easy feat. Also, all the pockets!
If you are as turned on by pockets as I am, this is the collection for you. The standout is the MA-1 bomber jacket. Offered in black or green, it’s plenty warm, thanks to 3M Thinsulate lining, but the main feature is the spread of sneaky inner pockets, more than anyone likely ever needs. It just makes you want to find things to store in there.
Then there’s my second favorite piece, a pullover sweatshirt with a little storage space in the armpit. TDC and Vans say that it’s for stashing “hydration,” but surely that cannot be comfortable. Maybe a vape? Or a secure spot for your wallet? The choice is yours.
Another great piece is the blue plaid shirt and a pair of pants made from highly durable and all but water resistant Cordura, so it's perfect for skating. The fabric is made from reclaimed materials, so despite all those pockets, it's eco-conscious, too.
Aki Tanabe, the creative director of TDC, said that the new brand “represents a harmonious blend of Japanese craftsmanship and contemporary street style, capturing the essence of Tokyo's fashion scene.”
Indeed, Nakada and Kato’s vision for Vans is a good sign of what the collective can do. Not that that ought to come as a surprise.
Nakada is the mind behind elevated basics clothing line Unlikely and cult tech-meets-fishing brand DAIWA PIER39, for instance, while Kato is the current surf and skate buyer for BEAMS, overseeing the IYKYK SSZ sub-label. So they know what actual skaters want from their clothes. As for us posers, we just get to benefit from the cool collabs and all the stash pockets.