Fashion and art do not always intertwine gracefully, but when done correctly, some collaborations can transcend the bounds of the “dumbing down” effect. In the case of the new Vans x Van Gogh Museum collection, the fusion between high art and everyday fashion is working, and the skyrocketing sales seem to bear that out.
The collection, which launched on Aug. 3, is the result of a collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Some of the artist’s works—including “Skull,” “Almond Blossoms,” “Sunflowers,” “Self-Portrait as a Painter” and “Old Vineyard With Peasant Woman”—are showcased on the Vans Classics as well as premium apparel silhouettes. But “The Starry Night,” believe it or not, isn’t.
“Our goal when selecting Van Gogh’s masterpieces was to tell a story of the artist’s life and career,” said Mira Bourdon, global category manager at Vans. “We utilized some of his most well-known pieces of art but also showcased lesser-known works and an intimate side of the artist that fans may not have known.”
Vans has a history of collaborating with artists from various genres, but the new collection really bridges the gap between the high-brow and the commercial. Each piece from the collection includes a special hangtag that highlights the historical context behind the artwork in order “to continue to educate and inspire those that wear the collection,” Bourdon said.
Accessibility, however, is a two-way street. The Van Gogh Museum will dedicate its profits from the project to the preservation of Vincent van Gogh’s legacy and collection of art, keeping it open for future generations.
The Vans x Van Gogh Museum collection was available at Vans.com, Vans retail stores and select Vans wholesale accounts. The collection was also available at vangoghmuseumshop.com and in the museum shop at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
But if you are looking to acquire a piece, you may be out of luck. In just a week, the collection sold out on Vans.com as well as the Van Gogh Museum’s online shop. This latest success is just a fragment of the company’s growing momentum.
Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for The NPD Group, predicted Vans will be the top growth brand this back-to-school season. Powell said that with its fresh looks and affordable footwear, “Vans is one of the hottest brands on the market.”
“It has been one of the fastest-growing brands for the first six months of the year,” he said. “I expect that trend will not change in the near term.”
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