Vans Launches 8th Annual Custom Culture Design Competition

Vans Launches 8th Annual Custom Culture Design Competition

Check out the innovative looks from some of  the 50 semifinalists from high schools across the country.

Writer: Thomas J. Ryan

In partnership with Journeys, LCAD (Laguna College of Art + Design) and Americans for the Arts, Blick Art Materials, Vans opened up public voting for its 8th annual Custom Culture Design Competition

The public is being encouraged to vote for their favorite designs among the 50 semi-finalists from high schools across the country through May 10 at The voting will determine the five finalists who will then compete to win $50,000 for their high school art program.

Inspiration and creativity is the foundation of Custom Culture and continues Vans’ ethos of enabling creative expression,” said Megan Klempa, Vans Custom Culture program manager. “The concepts behind these designs are a testament to the innovative mindset of the hundreds of students that participate in the program. Custom Culture gives these young creatives a platform to showcase their talent nationwide, while calling attention to the much needed funding for arts education.”

The five finalists will have the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles on an all-expenses paid trip, where their designs will be judged by a panel of notable judges. The judges haven’t been announced yet. Last year’s judges included YouTube personality Maddi Bragg, Vans professional surfer Dylan Graves and top chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo behind Los Angeles restaurants Animal, Jon & Vinny’s and Son of a Gun, as well as special musical guest Echosmith,

Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire youth creativity through art and design, while calling attention to the country’s diminishing art programs due to tight education budgets. This year, 3,000 schools across the nation registered to compete. As part of the competition, each participating school created four custom designs on blank Vans shoes to embody the Vans “Off The Wall” lifestyle: action sports, music, art and local flavor. From there, Vans employees and an internal judging panel selected the top 50 schools. Now, it is up to the public to help determine the top five finalists (listed by region below).

New for 2017, Vans Custom Culture will also welcome a winner of the ‘Technology in Design’ award. To honor Vans deep roots in custom design, competing schools were asked to design a pattern utilizing the Vans Customs platform. This component will be judged separately from the overall submission, granting the winning school $5,000 towards its art program and shoes featuring the school’s customized print.

The winner will be announced on Friday, May 5 on and their pattern will be available online at Vans Customs designs.

Check out the innovative looks from some of  the 50 semi-finalists.