New boss Bracken Darrell says Vans gotta bring back that “f**k you attitude”
It ain’t no secret that your favourite shoe co Vans, a brand that still has some cache about it and don’t make you embarrassed to wear, is bouncing on the ropes.
Last week the Gudauskas brothers, proud ambassadors for Vans for almost the entire 21st century were shown the door, Mikey Feb is still hunting a contract from ‘em and Nathan Florence, surfer of the year, is in a sorta limbo land waiting for confirmation of his new offer.
Just before Christmas, five hundred workers were fired as part of the company’s plan to “speed up the turnaround of the company’s Vans division and (parent company VF’s) overall North America business.”
Now, its new CEO Bracken P Darrell, the sixty-year-old former CEO of Logitech, Whirlpool and senior exec at Old Spice, has stepped in to turn the ol’ ship around.
It ain’t gonna be easy.
Parent company VF’s net income has gone down ninety percent in a year and shares are down three-quarter since 2021. If you thought throwing your precious savings into VF shares was gonna make you rich, oowee, it’s been one of the worst buys on the market.
Debt is now almost seven bill US.
So what’s Daz gonna do?
“He visits stores to talk to customers and works in the company cafeteria, where he shares his mobile number with employees. He plans to steer more investment into the brand and is pushing executives to develop new products faster. He is urging Vans employees to recapture the outsider mindset that many current and former employees say has slipped away as the brand has gone more mainstream. As one senior executive has told staff, “bring back the fuck you attitude.”
“Darrell said Vans, which was founded in 1966, had become too reliant on five classic styles that it has sold since its infancy—including the checkerboard slip-ons worn in the movie ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High‘ by Sean Penn.
“Darrell is pushing executives to move faster to churn out new styles that are more in tune with current trends and has examined the designs for every product that Vans plans to introduce over the next three seasons.”
We’ve all been wearing Vans for years, know that it swings in and out of fashion, and that nobody wears anything but Authentics and Old Skools.
You gonna wear a pair of quasi-Nike Vans?
Or a style with foot-to-floor cushioning?
Or they gonna bring back the fabled Vans wool shoe, pushed by execs, refused to be built by designers?