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Covering 30,000 sq feet under Waterloo’s tunnels, House of Vans is a skate – BMX – art – music – visual – event space which has at long last opened its doors today to a much anticipated London crowd. The House is divided into five tunnels each with a different event space. From the screening room in Tunnel 2 to the gig space of Tunnel 3, the House of Vans vibrates with energy, but it’s Tunnel 4 that has the very impressive pool-style skate park, complete with viewing hub and tv screens to catch all the skate/BMX talent.

As it’s the opening weekend, there’s a series of screenings, workshops and gigs over the next couple of days, and I rushed over this afternoon on Day 1 to find it happily lived up to every bit of its hype.

Skateboarding legends Tony Alva and Christian Hosoi were spotted, casually chatting in the adjacent cafe and later, Vans founder, Steve Van Doren himself – in a Hawaiian shirt and Vans slip ons of course. I gifted myself to a few freebies that were on hand, and then queued up for a visit to the pop up workshops in the Vans Labs – all while beats echoed through the tunnels from the resident DJ.

DJ Barely Legal

I got to try my hand at screen printing in Vans Lab #1, courtesy of Lovenskate. I printed my own very cool London edition House of Vans tshirt!

House of Vans tshirt printing

Afterwards, I queued up again for a bespoke House of Vans manicure from Wah Nails in Vans Lab #4. I chose the classic logo and 20 minutes later walked out with the cutest nail art design! I’m seriously impressed with the precision on the lettering – can’t stop looking at my nails.

House of Vans Wah Nails

Of course I can’t finish a blog article about Vans without sharing my wishlist for Autumn/Winter. As one can’t have too many Vans trainers – some I skate in, some I wear on dress down days – I have had to limit one pair per payslip though, however the wait is worth it.

Vans Trainers

Clockwise from top left: Vans Leopard Hello Kitty Authentic Trainers £50, Vans Sk8 Hi Hot Pink Leather Trainers £45, Vans Della Slip Ons £50, Vans Zig Zag Slip Ons £50, Vans Cosmic Galaxy Slip Ons £50

If you haven’t already, get yourself down to the House of Vans! For more information, visit houseofvanslondon.com.

Images source: Blogger’s own

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A few weeks ago, I reflected on how the fashion industry had taken a shine to skate culture and the recent surge in designer slip-on style trainers, originally made popular by skate/surf/lifestyle brand, Vans and their die-hard fans. From trainers and slogan tees to backpacks and beanies, I was naive to think fashion’s crush on all things skate would stop there.

Cue the latest development to come out of this season’s love of skate culture, as Selfridges opened their doors this week to an 18,500 square foot pop-up indoor skatepark. Sponsored by HTC One, the old Selfridges hotel has been transformed into a replica skatepark complete with rails, banks, half pipes and benches for boarders to indulge in all its contrived glory. It’s a good amount of terrain with clever retail-themed props for skateboarders to grind, ollie and flip to their heart’s content as the skatepark is completely free.

HTC-One-Skatepark-at-Selfridges-2

inside-the-htc-one-skatepark-at-selfridges-4

In addition, as part of the six-week long campaign, Board Games (27 March – 19 April) will see Selfridges stock a collection of world exclusive skate decks and skate art by designers which include Peter Pilotto, Stella McCartney, Erdem and Phillip Lim, along with skateboard accessories and Go-Pro cameras. Slam City Skate have also taken up residence and is on hand to get decks set up with trucks and wheels for those who want to take their new designer boards for a roll.

Designer Skateboards at Selfridges

Fashionistas and regular Selfridges customers will most likely see these designer boards as works of collectable art or a pop culture novelty, while skateboarders and skate enthusiasts might see this as a confusing commercial ploy. There’s no doubt that there are some covet-worthy prints on hand, but these decks don’t live up to the likes of tried and tested skateboard brands such as Toy Machine, Girl and Zero. I also personally fail to see the correlation between a brand like Diesel and skateboarding.

While I spend most of my time on a longboard, skateboarding’s answer for when you want to travel distances and simply prefer to cruise, I’m rather on the fence to this big budget attraction. I adore fashion and all its surprises, but not at the expense of losing the essence of what skateboarding is, something that is a lifestyle for many.

Having spoken to a few friends who are longtime skaters, and visiting the skatepark myself, I have to admit it’s a great space designed to support this culture, which I guess isn’t a too bad thing, I’m just going to look the other way on the designer decks…

HTC One Skatepark

Images source (Skatepark photography): thedailystreet.co.uk, Instagram Photography: Blogger’s Own