First Look: Vans’ New Community-Focused Store

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First Look: Vans’ New Community-Focused Store


Vans has opened its first community-driven store and event space as the footwear and apparel retailer shifts to experience-focused retail.

The 11,500-square-foot shop in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, pays homage to Los Angeles' deep skateboarding roots and thriving art community. The two-floor shop, dubbed Vans DTLA, features work from a number of local makers, a dedicated community experience studio, and a wide range of Vans footwear, apparel and accessories. Monthly programming includes workshops, talks, and art exhibitions beginning March 12, 2020.

"Our Downtown LA store opening signifies a new Vans chapter as we continue our mission and commitment to being community and experience focused," said Carly Gomez, VP of Marketing, Americas at Vans. "Downtown LA has a rich history of skate culture and artistic freedom. Not only will we be opening our doors to the new space, but we will introduce Studio808, located on the second floor of the new store where the community can share their creative energy through workshops, exhibitions and more."

Vans DTLA features a dedicated skate shop within the space that stocks hard goods from Los Angeles-based brands like Alva, Baker, Girl, and WKND alongside the full collection of Vans Pro Skate footwear and apparel. A selection of publications curated by DTLA gallery and store THESE DAYS rounds out the retail offering and gives customers a deeper look into local culture.

The second floor of Vans DTLA is home to Studio808, a community-driven gallery, lounge and workshop space, created in partnership with lifestyle magazine Monster Children. The studio will serve as a central hub for consumers and creatives with the goal of giving back to the local community. Offering hands-on art and design workshops, free of charge, Studio808's ultimate aim is to build a platform for education to uplift underserved members of the community.

"We are excited to be opening Vans first retail and event space in Downtown Los Angeles," said Mitch Whitaker, VP/GM, Americas at Vans. "For 54 years, Vans has called California home. We're grateful to be reinforcing the brand's Southern California roots and legacy through this new space that is both reflective of, and designed for, the community and unique experiences."

Vans DTLA, at 808 S. Broadway, features a mural from LA-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge, who accentuated the raw brick and concrete walls of the building with his signature colorful, minimalist work. Atmospheric photos by skate legends Mike O'MeallyRay BarbeeTino Razo and Anthony Acosta further highlight LA's importance in skate culture. The space also showcases work by local sign painter Julien Besser.

Vans, a VF Corporation brand, has also partnered with non-profit organizations Goodwill and Chrysalis, which have workforce development initiatives that work with previously homeless and at risk youth, to hire staff for the store directly from the community in order to develop a diverse workforce.