On December 9, the urban fashion multinational Vans inaugurated the House of Vans Mexico City , its first permanent headquarters in our country. This new space is the third of its kind globally, and joins those that already operate in Chicago and London. Although the firm continues to expand throughout the world, it is also ready to conquer the new frontier: the metaverse , where they already have a presence.
During the grand opening of House of Vans Mexico we spoke exclusively with David Tichiaz , Vice President and General Manager for North America of VF Company , Vans parent company that includes brands such as Kipling , The North Face and Timberland . Relaxed, smiling and restless, the manager spoke enthusiastically about the new facilities. These encompass the pillars that define Vans and its motto ‘Off the Wall’ : action sports, art, music and urban culture.
Credit: Omar Real Portrait Fine Art .
– In all of Latin America, why open the third House of Vans in the world in Mexico?
“Mexico has always been a common thread of the brand for us and we feel that the way to connect with all our consumers in Latin America is through Mexico, so we started here. We have set up several House of Vans pop-up stores in Mexico and also in Brazil. But we feel that to continue growing it is important to connect with our community in Mexico, it is important to connect with this region, and Mexico City is the beginning ”.
– We have already seen some special editions of Vans that pay tribute to Mexican icons, such as the Day of the Dead. Now that the firm has a permanent headquarters here, will we see more capsule collections inspired by Mexican culture?
“Absolutely. Much of our brand is what’s inside the local community. It is important to have a global vision of the products and to connect locally, to allow people to have a voice, to express what the local culture needs. Of course, you can expect more localized products and events to continue serving our market here in Mexico.
Credit: Omar Real Photographer .
“I think the two (Mexican-inspired collections) that I like the most are the collections we made for the Day of the Dead. Those for me really speak and definitely have an artistic focus. The other is the collaboration with Tony Delfino, which was part of our first vault collection that we made specifically for the Mexican market; that will always have a special place in my heart ”, he declared with nostalgia.
This is House of Vans Mexico City.
The third House of Vans in the world occupies the former premises of the legendary BullDog Café, one of the most famous clubs of the 2000s, which closed its doors in January 2018. Now, the patio boasts several ramps for skating and Interiors are divided into thematic spaces that host workshops and exhibitions. However, the centerpiece is the beautiful display case that steals all eyes as you climb the main stairs. It is a piece of the original Mudejar-style house, which still retains some of its air of an Arab palace.
Credit: Omar Real Photographer .
“This space is an expression where we celebrate the pillars of our brand: art, music, skateboarding and urban culture. Here they will be able to take workshops, watch movies, see local artists, skaters and chefs, among others ”, explained the Vans manager.
The inauguration had as a guest of honor Steve Van Doren , son of the founder of Vans , who cut the ribbon and prepared waffles for all the guests, mainly influencers, partners and friends of the brand.
During the day, activities were carried out: the screening of Jeff Grosso ‘s documentary on the life of Tony Alva and the presentation of the book ‘Por Ti’, by the photographer known as ‘LaPir0’ , a visual display of female skateboarding. At night, attendees were able to enjoy a concert on the main stage, located on the esplanade of the venue.
Credit: Omar Real Photographer .
Vans went through the virtual door to get to the metaverse with everything and NFTs.
Last September, the firm crossed the new digital frontier and premiered its first space in the metaverse . The virtual world of the streetwear brand is called Vans World Roblox Experience , since it was created within the popular virtual gaming platform .
“It is a great first step for us as a global brand of how we manifest ourselves in a digital community, in a digital world. I encourage anyone to visit the Vans experience on Roblox , where they can see our first step into what this new world means, ”invited David.
The virtual world of Vans lets you “skate in your favorite areas and parks around the world. You can enter, you can customize products and then buy them. You can dress your own avatar and choose how you want to show yourself. There are little secret surprises that you can find throughout the game. And you will see more and more, I would say ‘little nuggets’, that will be integrated into our Roblox Experience in the very, very near future, “he added.
“I think we all live together, and that is the fun, the exciting thing. It is a great platform to connect in the metaverse with our consumers and express the spirit of Vans”, expressed the Vice President and General Manager for North America of VF Company, anticipating that “More projects like this are coming” and that “more NFT designs will start to emerge in the near future.”
Getting to where the consumers are, the key to continue conquering streetwear .
“It is our job, as a global brand and as promoters of youth culture , to meet our consumers where they are. And there (in the metaverse) is where they want to meet, where they want to participate and have these conversations. It’s up to us to make sure we listen to them and be where they want us to be, and start cultivating those relationships there. I honestly think we have a lot to resolve over time, ”explained Tichiaz.
– Vans (@ VANS_66) September 1, 2021
David commented that the experience of customizing Vans garments is already a must for the brand, which is why it is one of the main attractions in their virtual space.
For now, Vans World visitors can customize the brand’s apparel and accessories with preloaded designs. Subsequently, they have the option to purchase them from the official Vans website. Transactions are made in dollars, since the multinational does not yet accept payments with cryptocurrencies, like most of the platforms that are emerging in the metaverse.
“As we do that in the physical world, we are working to better understand how the metaverse will work in the future. For now everything is in physical currency ”, he highlighted.
Finally, David Tichiaz was enthusiastic about the infinite possibilities offered by both the metaverse and blockchain technologies.
“There are an infinite number of possibilities for where we can go. It is our obligation to reach our consumers where they are and that is going to change over time. If we develop NFT technology, cryptocurrency technologies, in the metaverse … We will be where consumers want us to find them ”, he declared.