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Antiques & The Arts
Inside A 5,000-Item Collection Of Vintage Vans

Inside A 5,000-Item Collection Of Vintage Vans


– [Narrator] This is one of the world’s biggest collections of vintage Vans. It’s owned by Henry Davies. – From 1966, first year of production. Exclusive Italian customs. Vans clown shoes. Crazy Converse Jams. – [Narrator] It includes
shoes, skateboards, stickers, and clothing. – So I’ve been collecting nearly 20 years. I’ve always been very obsessive and kinda a hoarder in my young days. – [Narrator] He splits the collection between the Vans shop in London’s Soho, and a storeroom in Clapton. – So I’ve been in London 13 years, grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, grew up surfing and skateboarding, and I found that the original, American-made Vans were of such integrity you could still wear
20, 30-year-old shoes. – [Narrator] The first
Vans store was opened in California in 1966. The brand was associated with skateboarding, BMX, and punk rock. It makes between 70 and 85 million pairs of sneakers each year, but the vintage resale market is huge. – So when did the collection
reach the next level? Yeah, what started me trying
to buy shoes for myself and then buying any size that I could find with the idea to try
and sell at some point, and it quickly got out of hand. You know, I was in a shared house, and I’d taken over the whole house with just crap everywhere. There was no alternative
but to set up shop. – [Narrator] The
collection features nearly 700 pairs of vintage sneakers. There are some weird and wonderful pieces including kids shoes. – This one is a style 98 slip-on from the late ’80s. This skateboarding dinosaur
in skate highs and Wayfarers. The incredible firetruck shoebox. – [Narrator] And clown shoes. – A staff member who would
promote store openings used to dress up as a clown. Vans realized that they could produce legitimate clown shoes. The clowns found out. There’s actually a normal
Vans shoe within it. Ronald McDonald, the
McDonald’s clowns actually officially wore Vans shoes for a time. – [Narrator] There’s a
discontinued Disney line and the Holy Grail of collectables. – So one of the Holy Grails
for collectors has become the style 137 collaboration
with Madrid Skateboards, the core innovation of ’80s skate. Some of these were donated,
just completely destroyed shoes, and to me, these are works
of art in themselves. – [Narrator] His storeroom is like a treasure trove of cool sneakers. It used to function as the main outlet before he started selling out
of the Vans store in Soho. – Much of the personal archive that I’ve built for the brand is still out here based on limited space, and some options of the
sale product are still here, and I relocate them over time. Some Converse, crazy Converse Jams. Jams World were the first
producer of board shorts out of Hawaii, like
crazy-printed board shorts. From 1966, first year of production, style 23, basketball low. Kind of looks like a Converse but branded with House of Vans. – [Narrator] The most
Henry has sold a pair for is just over $2,100. – The sourcing methods differ a lot. The majority, I’m sitting
online all day looking. I mean, it’s not as
glamorous as it sounds. You’re looking on auction sites. But yeah, occasionally, you’re
out on the road in the wild, and you’ll discover an old shop, or you’ve heard about this warehouse. One strange experience was this guy was describing the surf shop that he had in the Midwest
in the US, and he said, “Yeah, my basement is loaded with shop, you know, dead stock,” so that was pretty wild. I’d flew out, turned up on his doorstep, demanded that I get into the basement and dig through boxes to the ceiling for a full day. – [Narrator] He even
designed his own pair. – My first shoe design, which I collaborated
with a friend in Japan. He works for Moonstar, which is a factory that’s been producing shoes in the same way in Japan since 1873. – [Narrator] Visitors to his
collection at the Vans store are a mixture of tourists
and hardcore sneaker fans. He often gets contacted over
his Instagram, Pillowheat. – I mean, the desire
is the important thing to really make it work. There are pockets of
people around the world normally linked with
surf, skate, BMX culture that really buy into what I’m doing. – [Narrator] You can visit the collection in London’s Carnaby Street,
or Clapton by appointment. Think you’d want this many sneakers? Comment below.

100 comments on “Inside A 5,000-Item Collection Of Vintage Vans

  1. I love vans and this shop is dope but they only have like 1 pair of each not many sizes and they’re always destroyed

  2. Even though they're used and all.. i love vans.. Recently got them for christmas, my first pair of vans:) hopefully i'll be like him when i'm older.

  3. Wow he has some nice vans…how much are the Jams? The green suede ones are hot.the ones he designed are hot too.

  4. I will be buried in Vans shoes. Plus I had yellow Madrid Flies. Junior year of high school and nobody got it, even my skater and BMX buddies. Wish I still had the those

  5. While cleaning out the garage I found my Christian hosoi high tops my cousin bought me for Christmas 25 years ago took them to the cobbler and had him fix a tear on the inner Arch as well as a tear that was about to happen on the other inner Arch after I told him the story behind the shoes and their collectible now and everything the dude only charged me 10 fuckin dollars. I looked online and saw some for 580 I've got the ones with the Rising Sun on the side not just the stripes. Only slightly faded and in good condition I'm keeping everything original.. washed with soap and water dried in the Sun I'm going to clean the soles/side soles up with spray and wash/ sponge and rock them this Thanksgiving and blow my cousin's mind. Me and my cousin are very tight and we've been rocking Vans since we were both probably eight or 10 years old he's 40 & still skating and I'm 50 and still surfing. Can't wait to crack a beer with my cousin and be like check out my shoes cuz. Just a van shoe story I thought I'd share.✌

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