Imagine going to a Vans store and rubbing elbows with not only Vans designers, but also a seasoned graffiti artist and designer, one of our favorite females, M.I.S.S. Claw Money herself! This wasn’t just an ordinary shopping trip, because this event celebrated the Vans x Claw Money capsule collection, a collaboration so fresh it was just released earlier this month. No VIP cards were needed at the door, because Vans opened their doors to the public allowing industry folks, art fans, and fashion fiends to mingle with the movers and shakers of Claw Money’s long awaited partnership with the long-running shoe company.
The event took place in Long Beach, in the summer, and all I could think about was the kickback song by the Dove Shack, “Summertime in the LBC.” That song was perfect for the kickback event that revolved around some kick-ass kicks. As you can tell from the coverage of the Vans x Stüssy Girls event, Vans knows how to kick it. These back to back parties prove that Vans is serious about their girls line. M.I.S.S. BLB came back for this event, and I had the pleasure of coming along.
BLB and I cruised the coast of the LBC and pulled up to the Vans store in a cute Mazda 5 mini-van/SUV/hatchback. This shop is located in beachy Belmont, the perfect California background for NY-based Claw Money. Palm trees stretched out to the sky, and beach babes in bikini tops coasted on cruiser bikes. Before you even enter the shop, you can tell that Claw Money was there. Her notorious claws surrounded the front display window, but the everyday passerby might not even recognize it because the claws were camouflaged with leopard spots, the pattern for the Vans line. Claw Money marks her territory, and while she’s known for the big and bold ups, this time she balances out her fierce style with a more subtle approach. But we all know it wouldn’t be authentically Claw without her signature all in your face, so Vans transformed the shop into an art gallery. After the entrance, the first display of the shoes greeted you with bold Claw canvas on top. Another wall graced larger pieces, along with a photos from the style shoot and a custom skateboard. The flat screen behind the register looped clips from New York, showing the shoes in action on the streets and subway of the city. Look closely and you’ll even see Claw’s kitty cat.
But the highlight, of course, were the pieces from the collection: the Hadley hi-top, the Aleeda low-top, a tank top, and two different socks. Yes, socks! You know you’re money when you have your own socks out! The shoes both are constructed of a textured fiber, with a green-to-yellow gradient animal camo Claw print, and come with a gold Claw charm and an extra pair of sea foam green laces. The Aleeda has a subtle trim of the print and an embroidered Claw on the tongue, while the Hadley has a more in-your-face approach with the print all over the sides. The designs don’t stop at the shoes, because the box had a glossy print with Claw Money’s bio on the side. The tissue paper even donned the print!
Liz and I both decided we liked the hi-top more, because you can see more of Claw of course! The print extended to the backside of the tank top, yet another subtle move in design. From the front, the tunic-length tank looks like any other black tank, except with a gray claw the bottom hem. But from the back, it’s a colorful burst of the Claw print, with watercolor-washed tones of coral and tropical turquoises. An asymmetrical stitch finishes off the back of the tank, a simple detail that once again marries the bold yet subtle design. Many ladies were already wearing the tanks, making me want to wear one too. Maria must have read my mind, because she provided us with our own. Thanks for the tanks Maria!
The first 50 folks received a black piecebook. Sick! So thankful we arrived early enough to get one. The hard black cover featured the embossed logos of both Claw Money and Vans. It was another subtle design, but once you open the book, Claw hits you hard with a wildstyle piece. Following that are hundreds of blank pages, waiting to be bombed. Claw personally signed the books for people, making this the perfect giveaway! She wasn’t the only one hittin’ up the books, because pro-skateboarder Geoff Rowley stopped by to show some love, too. The sketchbook also served as a clever and fitting event guest book, and you know that M.I.S.S. was the first to hit it up! Just like Claw, we like to represent!
When I first met Claw, she greeted me with the warmest hug. This woman has got as much love for M.I.S.S. as we have for her. She looked so chill in some flip flops, a white ribbed tank, and the craziest jean overalls ever! Claw was bleached all over her overalls, making us want to know when that collection was coming out. She told us that she used a bleach pen and spent a lonnnnngggg time hand-drawing on the overalls and washing them after each section, which is why it was the only pair! We really hope to see this in the future.
She gave me a nod for my top, a Claw Money Psycho Mongrel Squad tee. But as far as my shoes…I wasn’t wearing Vans! How does a Cali girl not own Vans? A girl who loves the Vans song!?!?! I’m frontin’ every time I knock that song. I mean, the shopped was packed with stuff I wanted to cop stuff off the walls…and the racks. I made a mental note to come back the next day so I can shop in peace. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere was fly but I was in the mood for partying. DJ Hoff was spinning some gold on the turntables, and mini squash taquitos fried to a golden crisp were passed around. Those were my favorite hors d’oeuvres because squash is oh so posh! The rest of the food was just as delightful, from the miniest sliders you’ve ever seen to fried green tomato sandwiches and even chorizo in a blanket. Delicious!
When I had the chance to chat with Claw, she spit some jewels to me about why this partnership with Vans is one that she’s been wanting to do for a long time coming. She appreciates how Vans takes care of the girls, and in turn, Claw Money is taking care of Vans by giving the collection an urban edge. She wanted to make a line that fuses the New York city turf with California punk and surf. The collaboration is bi-coastal, she is from NY and Vans originated in Cali, so she wanted a shoe for girls anywhere, to go anywhere, whether it’s downtown by cab and train, or to the beach by bike and board. She hopes that this will be the beginning of more Vans collaborations to come, and after seeing how fly this collection is, we know that Vans will continue to bless the girls with something fresh.
I had the opportunity to meet other designers, from the Vans side of the collab, like Rian Pozzebon and Erica Young. Everyone had smiles, stories, and more hugs to share, truly making this event feel kickback. After the party, the after party was a family style dinner at the 555 East Steakhouse. I wore my new tank, but backwards, because I was wearing all black I wanted a pop of color from the front. Over dinner we shared stories of vintage shoe shopping, and the Claw Money crew expressed how their New York office is obsessed with tans. I hope you all go back to NY with a fresh Cali tan! Afterwards, Claw and the crew packed into our “van” to head back to the hotel (sorry, but I have to hit you with yet another California song), the posh Avia Hotel located by the aquarium. It was good night and goodbye from there. I had the most fabulous time with everyone, and the only regret I have is not having Claw hit up in my book! What was I thinking!?!?
I followed through on my shopping trip back to the Vans shop, and I was delighted that the employees, Angelino and Whitley, remembered me from the night before. The front window still had the Claw marks, but the inside was back to retail mode. The Claw canvasses were off the walls, but on the wall you can find both of the Claw Money x Vans shoes. I took this as a chance to try them on. I could tell why these silhouettes were used for her collection, because they were both comfortable enough to use in an all day mission. Angelino mentioned to me that he wish the shoes came in his size because he was loving them too. From there, I walked down the cutest street of beach homes, and took Claw Money to the beach so I can work on my tan.
Since Claw mentioned how this bi-coastal line can go anywhere, I just had to take it to the beach. It was Long Beach after all, and it only seemed fitting to rock this fit on the sand. Because I needed to work off the dinner from the night before, I decided to go on a run. I didn’t wear the shoes, but I did rock the tank top, frontwards, and the white socks. I know, socks don’t quite belong on the beach, but to be honest, they were comfortable and I know I had the flyest socks on the shore! The lightweight top felt perfect blowing in the sea breeze while I ran down the beach, and I realized that is part of what being a California Girl is all about. Only now, I’ve got a little bit of New York flavor to mix it up.
Thank you Vans for showing M.I.S.S. some love, and thank you Claw Money for mixing it up, from the East Coast to the West Side.
Check out the Vans x Claw Money site to see more photos from the event.
*The tank top and blackbook are a gift from VANS.
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