Mixed with our news, deep-dives, profiles and other forms of content, FUTUREVVORLD will often spotlight a growing number of Earth-friendlier products releasing throughout the weeks ahead. These projects may not be perfect, but we believe they are moving the needle in the right direction.
Vans has partnered with Portland-based artist Chris Johanson for a new collection aimed at bringing sustainability and the environment to the forefront. Called “Be Cool to Your Living World,” a line the brand says is “dedicated to all living organisms,” the collaboration features Johanson’s original artwork on five footwear models, each of which have been revamped with organic cottons, and recycled rubbers.
The pack includes two versions of the Authentic, an UltraRange EXO SE, a Destruct SF, and the Trek Slip-On. Matching apparel and accessories, such as boardshorts, a button-down shirt, T-shirts, and hats, also make up the now-available drop.
The ever-popular Vans Authentic showcases an abstract aesthetic with blue, hand-drawn details over a black upper for one version, and signature, colorful strokes for the other. A similar multicolor pattern is used for the UltraRange EXO SE — an Old Skool-inspired sneaker evolved for maximum comfort.
A slate-colored Destruct SF features the same recycled textile trimmings and natural rubber found in the two Authentic models. These trimmings are material scraps from the factory cutting floor destined for the trash, but have been repurposed, chopped up and inserted into the outsoles. The rubber is an all-new eco rubber compound developed by Vans using responsibly-sourced natural rubber as opposed to petroleum-based synthetics. Don’t worry, Vans assures us that this natural alternative maintains the grip and durability it is so renowned for.
All four pairs — the two Authentics, UltraRange, and Destruct — use 100% jute fiber laces as well as have uppers made with a 100% organically-grown cotton that comes from a non-genetically modified seed with no synthetic pesticides.
Lastly, the Trek Slip-On is a modified version of the classic Vans Slip-On made entirely of purple rubber, while featuring a checkerboard cut-out throughout its upper. Think Crocs, but without the irony.
All sneakers of the “Be Cool to Your Living World” feature UltraCush cork footbeds, a cushioning foam combined with a layer of cork on top to keep your feet comfortable and dry.
As for the apparel: each top is made with 60% rPET polyester and 40% post industrial recycled carded ring-spun cotton.
This new collaboration is a perfect marriage as both Vans and Chris Johanson share a core passion for art, surfing, and the ocean. “Johanson’s work plays between the techniques of figuration and abstraction, as he sees these two modes of working as interconnected expressions of the complexities of environmentalism, compassion, and peaceful co-existence,” says Vans in an official statement.
Developing his distinctive drawing style and dry-yet-sharp sense of humor in his native San Jose, California, Chris Johanson honed his technique painting skateboards and houses, and crafting a 1980s skateboarding and art zine, Karmaboarder, helping shape what would later become his best-known initial work.
In the late ‘80s, Chris moved to San Francisco’s Mission District, immersing himself in the local art scene, drawing Sharpie cartoons on lamp posts and bathroom stalls. His art was seen by a wider audience in 1994, when he created a board graphic run for Anti-Hero, a then-fledgling brand.
Later, he achieved international fame after participating in the 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibition and went on to win the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Art Award the following year. Since 2004, he has made his home in Portland, Oregon with fellow artist and wife Jo Jackson. – Vans.com
Learn more about the Chris Johanson x Vans “Be Cool to Your Living World” collaboration and shop the entire collection now online at Vans.com.