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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

BST Hyde Park Black Sabbath

Last week’s British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park was like a masterclass in metal with Black Sabbath (yes, Ozzy Osbourne!) headlining, plus a complete set of epic bands who brought a wave of thundering musical nostalgia to everyone there, including myself.

The weather worked in our favour bringing undisturbed sunshine throughout, but black was still the uniform of the day. With my festival essentials in tow – sunnies, Vans, a flannel for the evening, and endless Jack & Coke, it was a case of catching all the headliners, mainly on the Royal Oak stage.

BST Hyde Park

Soundgarden’s set was pretty spesh. They opened with a message to the crowd they were going to play their 1994 album, Superunknown track by track from start to finish, and that they only did this two other times and that this would probably be their last. While this meant, they weren’t going to play anything off their later albums (“Pretty Noose“), we were still treated to 60 minutes of 90’s rock nostalgia, one of epic proportions.

BST Hyde Park Soundgarden

I admit, back then, I hated “Black Hole Sun“. I’m from the States so I’m allowed to say this. I hated Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction too; it was too much, all around, it dominated the airwaves and the music channels. Only now, ten years later can I truly appreciate Kim’s masterful guitar riffs, and Chris’ raspy yet ravishing vocals. Heard live, I absolutely loved “Black Hole Sun”. And I fell even harder in love with “The Day I Tried to Live” – my all time favourite Soundgarden track.

I was most excited to see Faith No More. Dressed in black robes and white collars, Mike Patton spewed lines from “The Exorcist” in between songs – as you do. Their set left a smile on my face. Midlife Crisis“, “We Care Alot“, “Easy“, “Epic” and so. much. more. A part of me wishes I was just getting into this band, discovering them and waiting for their next record, I feel the same about Underoath. There’s something about being in a time when a band is charting and everything they release is new and excites you!

As day turned to night, darkness started to cover Hyde Park, helped by the day’s ultimate headliner, Black Sabbath. Ozzy looked amazing and was in top form. They opened their set with “War Pigs” to an appreciative crowd. A random fact I learned during Black Sabbath’s set: it only takes up to ten seconds to lose one’s shoe in a mosh pit. During the set, I had to find my partner’s missing Vans in the darkness of the field, somehow I found it and the headbanging resumed.

In the end, we were tired, our legs were tired, we were wet from the rain that did eventually come later in the evening but we were only 30 minutes from home and it being a Friday, we still had a whole weekend to look forward to!

Images source: Blogger’s own

Out of the certain few pieces in my closet that only make sense during Summer, such as, my jersey maxi dresses, backless tshirts, jelly sandals, I tend to be most excited about one particular item, the cah-lassic cotton bandana. Simply for its retro goodness and tough luxe aesthetic, paired with my favourite off duty hairstyle, this is the look that highlights my Summer!

Retro bandana hairstyles

Keeping the rest of your outfit simple, you’d be surprised to know it’s easier to style than you think. I like to match my lipstick to the colour of the bandana I’m wearing (especially red!), but then everything else is kept minimal and modern. Think plain tees, classic camis and skinny jeans – cat flick eyeliner is optional, but they are fun!

WEEKENDER – Clash with leopard, and trust it really works!

Off Duty Style Inspiration

Clockwise from leftTopshop Burnout Joggers £32, Warehouse Bra Top Twin Set £28, Topshop Lipstick in Tease £8, Mansur Gavriel Leather Bucket Bag £395, Kate Spade Draw The Line Idiom Bangle $32, Rosa De La Cruz Brown Diamond Star Stud Earring (Single) £335, Vans Era 2 Tone Leopard Trainers £55

DAYTIME – Channel a retro vibe with a button through mini dress and cute flourishes.

Retro Outfit Inspiration

Clockwise from top left: Laura Mercier Lip Glace In Daiquiri £19.50Carven Floral Embellished Dress £590Models Own Sticky Fingers Bow Set £5ASOS Little Rock Pointed Flats £22Charlotte Olympia Kitty Perspex Clutch £695

GOING OUT – Skin tight denim and stellar, spiked heels make a strong evening statement.

Off Duty Style

Clockwise from top leftKenzo Tiger Charm Bracelet £120T by Alexander Wang Classic Jersey Tank £65, Warehouse Superfit Skinny Jeans £48Kurt Geiger Bailey Court Shoes £99, OCC Lip Tar in Queen £11.50, River Island Hannah Bar Ear Cuff £5

There are a fair few ways to tie a bandana headscarf, but I like to have the customary knotted “bunny ear” ends. Starting at one corner of the square, fold your way to the opposite diagonal corner (so that you get a headband on its stretchiest grain, the bias). I tend to fold an inch and a half wide but it all depends on how wide you want your headband to be. Alternatively, you can always twist from one corner to the opposite end for a textured style.

Rihanna Agyness Deyn Bandana Hairsyle

Images source: Pinterest

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

& Other Stories

Last week, & Other Stories announced their trainers collection would now include the American lifestyle brand, Vans. Having the high street retailer stock their classic, waffle sole trainers, albeit a carefully curated edit, truly means my beloved choice of footwear for the past decade has well and truly crossed over to the fashion masses.

Anyone who’s picked up a fashion magazine in the last six months would already know trainers are hot for Spring, especially a design well known within sub genre circles, the slip on trainer, made famous by this skate/surf brand. I guess I saw it coming when Liberty released a capsule collection of their iconic prints in a number of Vans’ iconic shoes.

Vans X LibertyLeft to Right: Vans Sk8-Hi Ianthe Print High Tops £65, Vans Era Speckle Print Trainers £60, Vans Sk8-Hi Ditsy High Tops £62

My love of Vans dates back to when I was a teenager, and I’m proud to say I have purchased the same classic, checkered black & white slip ons three times in my life. I started skateboarding rather late, but now that I do, I can see why Vans are and have always been the choice for skaters. The thickness of the sole and rubber grip make for a solid ride, perfect for rolling over any bumpy patches you’d get in parts of Shoreditch. But of course, you don’t need to take up skateboarding to enjoy this style.

Vans On A Skateboard

Vans Checkered TrainersVans Checkered Slip Ons £47

I personally think if you’re into slip on trainers, you should really get a pair of Vans as they are the true originals, are made of enduring quality and come in endless designs of their own! However, this being a fashion blog, I should really mention the slip on trainers that are currently making waves in the glossies and changing how we style easy, weekend wear.

Maybe the designers are onto something – leather, embellishment and pony skin? Whether it’s a slap to skate culture or a flattering homage, these slip on trainers are designed to put a spectacular spring in your step.

Slip On Trainers 1

Clockwise from top left: Whistles Lena Slip On £135, Saint Laurent Studded Leather Slip Ons £480Saint Laurent Printed Slip Ons £268, Miu Miu Suede Slip On Trainers £325

Slip On Trainers

Clockwise from top left: Givenchy Floral Printed Skate Shoes £395, Givenchy Contrast Lace Skate Shoes £455, Kurt Geiger Lorenzo Trainers £95

Slip On Trainers

Images Source: Intro image – & Other Stories, Skateboard image – Blogger’s Own, Street Style images – Pinterest