Few brands are able to really build a cult of personality around themselves like Vans can. Even fewer are able to create meaningful releases that are timely and thoughtful. Boston’s Bodega is one of the handful that is able to do both. Every Bodega collaboration, while often wild, is consistently thought out and presented in a way that makes it feel classic. Their newest collaboration with Vault by Vans is no different. Step into the ‘Blank Tapes’ Authentic ComfyCush LX and step back into the early 90’s where the VHS ruled and the skate tape came of age.
For the younger heads out there, you may not be aware of the impact the VHS tape, handheld camcorder, and the in-home VCR had on society and the subculture you are part of today. I can remember setting up my mom’s camcorder on a rickety DIY tripod and filmed myself kissing curbs (and falling. mostly falling) in our cul-de-sac in Virginia Beach in the late 80’s. I was the star of many a homemade music video made on that same camcorder well into my teens. We used to record Ren & Stimpy and send it to my Uncle (who didn’t have cable) in Tennessee because he liked it so much. Recording dozens, if not hundreds, of movies and TV shows at home so we could watch them countless times and taping ourselves doing stupid shit, or trying to nail that one trick over and over again (‘no footie, no trick’ was a common mantra) wasn’t just something we did, it was really integral to who we were—in many ways, who we are today.
Vans and Bodega rekindle their collaborative relationship to pay tribute to endless creative possibilities and DIY spirit represented by VHS with the Blank Tapes capsule collection.
A custom designed, blank tape packaging style box, complete with adhesive labels (so you can tell your skate videos from the copy of The Day After that your parents recorded off of the TV) houses the eternally in-style Authentic silhouette. This fixture of skate culture has been programmed to record the VHS vision, with a suede/nylon upper adorned with blank VHS cassette labeling, and a translucent plastic tongue that recalls the cassette’s magnetic tape spool. The VHS labeling motif continues onto the shoe’s midsole, while the outsole the features an RGB color model. An extra detail for VHS connoisseurs is provided by the footbed, which sports a holographic Bodega print, in the style of anti-pirating security stickers.
VHS culture isn’t just about looking backwards though. It’s preserving the maverick energy committed to countless blank tapes for the contemporary world, rather than historical reenactment for its own sake. To that end, Vans have outfitted the classic style of the Authentic with, new ComfyCush foam. The additional arch support and one-piece interior bring a new dimension of comfort to the Authentic’s familiar exterior.
Naturally, no one who hops on the VHS train is ever likely to decide they’re all set with just the one tape, so a hoodie and long sleeve t-shirt bearing an RGB Bodega Vision logo on the front and anti-piracy warning on the back, and a blank VHS cassette packaging graphic skate deck round out the Blank Tapes collection. Because VHS is more than a chunk of plastic, it’s a state of mind.
The Vault by Vans x Bodega Authentic ComfyCush LX ‘Blank Tapes’ will be available this Saturday, 16 February, in-store at both the Boston and Los Angeles locations at 11am local time as well as online at 10 am EST. Be sure and check out the short Bodega produced for this release below.