Vans is no stranger to the fashion world. The California-based skate brand's slip ons have been copycatted by designers like Celine's Phoebe Philo, and Vans has even partnered with labels such as Kenzo in the past. But, according to a report by the Business of Fashion, high-end is not the way Vans is looking to reinvigorate its business. The brand's even refused collaboration offers in order to keep things mass market.
“We say no to things more often than we say yes — that includes distribution offers, that includes collaborations. I would even call out price elasticity,” said Kevin Bailey, president of the action sports division at VF corporation, the parent company that's owned Vans since 2004. “We have done some collaborations, like Kenzo, that we know we could put out there at a much higher suggested retail price. But it’s very important to us that pricing stays reasonable. At the end of the day, it’s a canvas, vulcanised shoe; it is important that we don’t do anything that is not authentic to the Vans brand, which was always about making quality, affordable shoes.”
And so far the strategy's been working. Vans revenues grew from $750 million to $1.7 billion