Those cool cats over at sneakerfreaker have a super rad interview /visual histography with Steve Van Doren, the founder of Vans. A rare insight into the building of brand that has soaked culture with its designs and communications for the last 30 years. I think its been published before, but it always amazes me to read about the humble beginnings as a rubber company. Equally amazing was "since 1900 there had only been 3 companies that had manufactured vulcanized footwear in the US, Randy’s, Keds and Converse," when Van's was formed. Whats truly incredible is the amount of customization and consumer interaction the brand was based on, which only makes it the more radical for a 1960's shoe brand run out of a rubber factory. Several other firsts include customized skater pro models, innovating to develop high-tops to protect ankles from skate wipeouts, sport-sponsorship on a grassroots level, and even a user-generated (i hate that term) system to introduce new models. I'm a Swoosh guy, but really an excellent read which should educate many brands on how to remain culturally resonant for decades.