You’ve never heard of Kuala Pilah. The peaceful village is tucked out of the way in the middle of the Malaysia. But you may start seeing the faces and scenes of traditional life in the village as seen through the eyes of one of its young artists, providing the colorful inspiration for Vans Surf’s latest apparel collection, the Kide Collaboration, which drops today.
“When I am riding my bike, I always love observing the small town and village where I grew up,” says the collab’s namesake artist, Malaysian graphic designer Kide Baharudin. “I like to imagine how the place looked back in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. I try to find the story through my parents’ childhood. I illustrate this in my paintings. I think that was my inspiration.”
Vans was certainly inspired by Baharudin’s work, elevating the talented young painter after he won the Vans Asia Custom Culture contest in 2017 and illustrated the House of Vans Asia Tour poster. He’s been part of the family since.
And the artist is in good company when it comes to footwear trends. Walk down any street in the developed world and you get a sense of the influence of Vans, transcending the boardsports and music worlds in the past five years to arrive on a much broader cross-section of feet: from mall kids to 40-something accountants looking to accent their athleisure wear.
“The word ‘culture’ really caught my eye and inspired me to enter the competition,” Kide says, “I got excited about painting Malaysian history, culture and lifestyle onto the Vans Authentic shoe, so that skaters could learn about our culture.”
The result is a colorful and bold summer collection consisting of a Vans Slip-On crafted with water-based inks and glues on a white/marshmallow colorway with collapsible kick-down heel and UltraCush sockliner for updated comfort.
“My first Vans shoe was the Old Skool,” he adds. “In college, I loved collecting and reading Juxtapoz magazine. I saw most of the artists in the magazine painting and creating art in their Vans. It influenced my style while working in my studio, too.”
Vans also adds an Authentic SF and Slide-On with similar Kide artwork to the new line. They’re matched with a ready-to-party camp button-down of 100 percent Rayon, a 17-inch, four-way stretch tri-blend boardshort, plus a simple 16.5-liter backpack and a pair of hip hats.
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