“Since I was a little kid I just loved to draw. And I was always involved in skate culture,” Taka Hayashi explains as we meet at Vans' global headquarters in Cypress, Calif.
The space is in flux, with the company moving its operation south to Costa Mesa at the end of this year. Products and work stations are being packed up, but Hayashi's artwork still adorns the halls—a sign of his impact after 10 years designing sneakers for the classic skate brand.
His path was relatively unconventional. Born in Japan and raised in Southern California, Hayashi began building his reputation as a designer by producing graphics for local skate companies and streetwear shops.
“Eventually, that led to me working for Stussy for four or five years. After that, I met people from Vans through Stussy, and my first project was a Syndicate collaboration. That's pretty much how it all started.”
Taka's Vault career kicked off in 2007 as part of the brand's collaboration with The Simpsons, eventually evolving into seasonal, multi-style collections. Now with 10 years in the books, we asked Hayashi to look back with us and pick his 10 favorite Vans Vault designs.