Stab Recommends: The Vans x National Geographic Collab
Who comes up with this stuff?
I like to think it was a weary Vans marketing employee nodding off on Zoom. Picture it: presumably 1000 people in the Vans marketing dept, working from home, and they’re discussing how they’re going to get the kids hot for a collab when they’ve literally teamed up with every street-accredited company in the world. “Johnson, you haven’t had an idea for six months, what you got?” Johnson hears his name and snaps out of pondering the consistency of the sourdough starter he’s got cultivating in the fridge and stares gormlessly at the Vans fearless leader in the middle of the screen. “Ummm,” he scans the room and sees a yellow pile on the coffee table. “Nat Geo?”
Vans X National Geographic Sk8-Hi Reissue
Garish logos are back, and in this case it totally works. The Nat Geo masthead has to be one of the most recognisable logos in, certainly the publishing, world, and Vans have made perfect use of it by slapping it big and bold on the only shoe model it would fit. Wearing these will 100% prompt daily questions of: “Are those, Nat Geo Vans?” For better or worse.
Vans X National Geographic Cap
Kudos to Vans for resisting trying to mash the logos up (man, 99.9% of those are offensive) and keeping it simple. Which works especially well on the cap. Kind of looks like it might’ve come free with a subscription, until you examine the detailing—the yellow trim, the Vans snap, devil, details etc.
Vans X National Geographic Ward Cross Body
Presumably the follow up Zoom question was: “So who’s going to buy this stuff?” To which some bright spark offered that streetwear kids love anything obscure, limited and heritage brands. Hip kids love bum bags (or at least they did the last time I spied one in the big smoke pre-COVID) and so was born, arguably, the jewel of the range. Practical, and almost completely stigma-free.
Vans X National Geographic T-Shirt
Old logos just look better, and we’d wager that the Vans design nerds had a field day diving back into the Nat Geo back catalogue. As well as the gorgeously clean globe graphic on the back, the subtle stacked Vans x National Geographic on the front works perfectly. The humble tee is often the hardest thing to nail when combining forces with another brand, and this one’s a certified success.
Vans X National Geographic Anorak
This collab (understandably) has been geared towards travel, and nothing’s more practical on the road than a hooded, waterproof shell. They keep the wind and rain off, pack down tight and offer a valuable layer when the mercury drops. The Vans x Nat Geo has the added bonus of making you look like you’re a member of some elite team. Like an F1 jersey, only less superfluous.
Vans X National Geographic Voyage 18.5″
It’s no secret that we love trunks. Especially the black, limited-edition sort that lightly brush the top of the knee caps. The precise logos, the iconic yellow detailing; you’d be forgiven the hyperbole for describing them as a masterpiece.
Vans X National Geographic Long Sleeve T-Shirt
There’s a tendency in collabs for the brands involved to look like they’re fighting over real estate, but even when the logos are bold in the Nat Geo collab they work. There’s a lot going on here but it blends seamlessly. And you know what they say about long-sleeve tees being just the most damn useful garment you can hang on a hanger.
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