Vans is spotlighting rising Black artists with the brand’s Black History Month collection.
On Monday, Vans announced that the footwear company had teamed up with four Black artists, who are “pushing the culture forward today through their voices and creativity” to create a special collaborative collection.
The artists — Rewina Beshue, Chris Martin, Sydney G. James and Tony Whlgn — each created custom prints that celebrate Black culture. Shoppers can use the designs to custom make their Era Authentic and Slip-On sneakers as well as backpacks and more.
Beshue, a contemporary artist based in San Francisco, designed a black-and-white pattern that creates an optical illusion — a concept that is a big part of her art practice. Her work focuses on multimedia, painting, printmaking and graphic design with elements of experimentation.
Oakland-based artist Martin drew a black bird with its wings stretched out and a rose stem in its beak. His art explores the African Diaspora and includes concepts that confront “contemporary injustice.”
James, who is based in Detroit, created an illustration that shows a woman peaking through what appears to be a quilt that features a graphic of Africa. Her art explores themes of racial and gender positioning of the Black woman in America.
As for Whlgn, the Detroit-based visual artist’s design features a tribal face mask. Whlgn has worked with Marc Ecko, Joey Badass and NYC’s KITH. He and his close friends founded Whlgn, an unorthodox art and design firm in Detroit. The entire collection is available at Vans.com.
In addition to today’s launch, Vans will further showcase each artist by featuring them on the site’s homepage alongside a story about their life and artistry. The artists will also be featured in store windows of all Vans stores across the U.S. and Canada for the entire month of February.
Vans will also be donating $40,000 to the Black Arts Future Fund, which is an organization that uplifts and enhances the future of Black artists and culture. Vans’ donation will help fund granting efforts to small Black art organizations. Shoppers can also support the initiative by donating their Vans Family points up to $25,000 within the U.S.
Of the Black History Month collab, Carly Gomez, VP Marketing of Vans The Americas said: “As we live our purpose to enable creative expression, we are proud to partner with each artist to uplift and amplify their voices during Black History Month and beyond.”
Shop the collection below.
To Buy: Customs Tony Whlgn Slip-On, $90