As fashion continues to navigate through a retail shakeout of the ages, experts are pretty much unanimous on one thing: The key to combating Amazon is experiential retail. Action sports and youth culture brand Vans is taking a stab at fulfilling that order with its latest retail concept, The General by Vans.
The 4,750-square-foot space is sited in Brooklyn, NY’s famed Williamsburg neighborhood and stocked with the brand’s iconic Classic range, limited Vault by Vans line, Pro Classics and men’s and women’s apparel and accessories. The location also houses a full selection of hard goods from select skate brands including Hockey, Spitfire and Antihero.
“The General is a true reflection of our customers and their lifestyle,” notes David Theiss, VP of Direct to Consumer. “We’ve created the space to be both interactive with our community and a captivating space to engage with our products. From hosting events like art shows and zine fairs to designing a custom pair of Vans, The General is all about experience.”
Inspired by the creative energy of Brooklyn, the space features an elevated minimalist design that fosters interaction with products and experiential elements throughout the store. An monthly rotating installation at the entrance tells new product stories using a range of methods and materials. This month’s Vault by Vans presentation explores the use of Horween Leather in the premium collection. Additionally, visitors can design their own one-of-a-kind Vans at an in-store Customs Design Studio.
“Every piece of art was carefully selected to reflect both the space and the community,” adds Chris Keeffe, original founder and creative director of The General. Keeffe, a former pro skateboarder and prominent figure in the New York City streetwear community partnered with Vans on the brand’s first Manhattan retail space, The Vans DQM General in 2011. “This is more than a store,” he says, “It’s a home for like-minded individuals who are driving culture forward, whether it’s art or skateboarding, whether they’re local or global.”