Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy
Featuring custom artwork and colour tones that express Jerry Hsu’s creative eye, the Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy collaboration marks the first official partnership between Vans and the former professional skater with two impressive reworked footwear styles and accompanying apparel, reminiscent of vintage sports uniforms.
Described by Vans as ‘the most mind melting, radical, fantastic, revolutionary collaboration in the universe’ the arrival of the Vans x Jerry Hsu Sci-Fi Fantasy collaboration marks a momentous occasion following the pro skateboarders step back from the industry in recent years in pursuit of exploring other interests. Having been made pro in 1997 aged just 16, for over twenty years Hsu was in the spotlight following the invention of skate tricks such as the ‘Storm Flip’ (backside nollie flip, late flip) seen in Osiris 1999 video The Storm in addition to his part in Emerica’s 2010 video Stay Gold, which saw Hsu skate the whole section in switch stance. Making technical street skating appear effortless, sponsors such as Chocolate, Enoji and Emerica took notice of Hsu in the early ‘00s which led to his signature shoe the ‘Hsu’ being released in 2008. A year later a personal photo blog entitled ‘Nazi Gold’ was setup featuring a collection of images Jerry was taking and sending to friends on his BlackBerry and has since led to a more serious take on photography, resulting in his first published book ‘The Beautiful Flower Is the World’ which was released in the summer of 2019.
Having been raised in San Jose, California (an area known for being surrounded by the hills of Silicon Valley) by his computer engineer parents, Hsu takes direct inspiration for his own apparel and accessories brand Sci-Fi Fantasy from the clean-clut, corporate graphics he would see in electronics catalogues whilst he was growing up. Launched in 2017, the label offers small batches dropped at random times and supports Hsu’s decision to take a step back from the industry, giving him freedom to do as he pleases both with the company and in his own time, with no sponsors or major commitments for the first time in almost two decades.
Following his curiosity to explore other hobbies and interests has worked in Hsu’s favour with this unexpected collaboration with Vans arriving for summer ‘20 as an additional expression of his creativity. As a fan of sci-fi fantasy and clean, basic graphic design, the designs demonstrate a focus on colour with tones of green, true blue and white running throughout in addition to simple but effective ‘Sci-Fi’ lettering applied through embroidery and screen printed techniques. The selected footwear models are two of Vans’ best sellers, the Old Skool Pro and Sk8-Hi Pro, with a strong heritage from the brands rich history within skateboarding. Equipped with DURACAP reinforcements, PopCush insoles, Pro Lite construction and an original waffle outsole, each model includes signature Vans detailing but with a certain added character that captures the creative personality of Hsu.
Constructed from durable canvas with suede across the toe vamp, heel and laces trim, the Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy Sk8-Hi Pro Shoes have a supportive raised silhouette which helps to keep the foot secure during demanding skate sessions whilst also providing a canvas for a large woven label that presents the Sci-Fi Fantasy ‘X’ emblem above curved side stripes. The lace fastening has been colour matched to suit the tongue and suede border for a solid block colour effect whilst around the back of either heel embroidered ‘Sci-Fi Fantasy’ lettering has been split between either shoe.
Similarly, the Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy Old Skool Pro presents the same embroidered design in yellow around the back of either shoe but has a stronger colour focused aesthetic with true blue suede panels at the toe, laces border and heel which surround vivid green, canvas uppers. The cotton lace fastening is held in place by punched eyelets and a yellow tone top set that matches the colour of the woven label below which showcases the distinctive ‘X’ emblem that can be seen throughout the collection. An iconic feature of any Vans footwear style, crisp white side stripes flow across the uppers with a small flag tag to one side whilst throughout the inside of the design, a bright yellow fabric lining encases a protective PopCush insole that is accentuated by the same tone.
No doubt inspired by vintage sportswear styles, both the Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy Jockey Cap and Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy Jersey have retro inspired designs with stylised embroidered ‘N’ emblems and the iconic Vans logo design taking centre stage. The jersey is made from lightweight polyester and in addition to the previously mentioned graphics also features bold ‘Sci-Fi’ lettering above Chinese symbols translating to ‘Common Technology’ in reference to Hsu’s upbringing.
With no hint at returning to skateboarding full time, we see this collaboration as a strong salute from Vans to Jerry in support of him following his own path and interests outside of the industry. With no danger of anyone forgetting the immense impact he has had on current and up and coming riders, we’re hoping this will act as the start of more collaborations to come in addition to more personal photography work and creative projects directed by Hsu in celebration of his independent vision.
The Vans x Sci-Fi Fantasy collaboration releases on Wednesday, 1st July 2020 at midnight.
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