Introducing the second collaboration between Converse and Shinsuke Takizawa’s Japanese streetwear brand, NEIGHBORHOOD.
As one of the original brands known for kick-starting the counter culture Ura-harajuku movement, neighborhood became known for skilfully reinterpreting elements from different cultures. These saw light in the form of motorcycles, military, outdoor and traditional themes.
For this specific brief we teamed up with VC London, a collective of like-minded individuals that support, empower and encourage others to do what they love.
Started in a back street workshop in East London in 2015 by three friends – Gemma Harrison, Maite Storni & Namin Cho, who were struggling to find other women to ride with, VC London was born from a DIY grassroots approach to helping other women to start riding with a shoutout on a small Instagram account.
Shinsuke has looked towards the culture surrounding motorcyclists. Drawing on the connections between Biking culture and influences from the military, Neighborhood have infused this style with two iconic converse silhouettes, the Jack Purcell and Moto Chuck 70.
With these hints towards biking culture, the Chuck 70 features a leather and canvas upper with leather moto pull over straps with text detailing ‘SHIFT’. The Jack Purcell features a rubber molded heel cap with Japanese embroidery translating to ‘Teiko’, meaning resistance.
Alongside the footwear is an apparel collection featuring of T-shirts, sweatpants, hoody and a coach jacket.
Now available online with select items available in-store. For further information on in-store stock availability please call 020 7287 8094.
SHOP the Converse x NBHD Collection NOW over at the Footpatrol Webstore.
Thank you to VC London for allowing us into their workshop, and to Gemma & Namin for the Hospitality.
Footpatrol: For those who are not familiar please could you introduce yourself and VC London?
VC London: We’re Gemma Harrison and Namin Cho 2 of the 3 founders of VC London along with Mai Storni. VC London is a collective of like minded people into motorcycles and action sports that provide spaces and events for others to try out new stuff.
FP: When did you get into riding bikes? Was it something you have been passionate about from a young age?
VC London: We actually both got into riding bikes at a later stage in life by most peoples standards. I started to ride at 26 after my husband gave me a hand me down 125cc bike and Namin was 25. It started off as just an easy cheap way to get around the city and get some kicks with our friends.
What made you decide to create VC London?
VC London: There wasn’t ever really a decision to start VC to be honest (especially not as it exists today). We we’re just three friends hanging out and having a good time and messing around with bikes in 2014. We struggled to find other women that were into bikes so we went on to offer free riding lessons in a crappy east London car park through a small social media account and it all grew pretty organically from there.
FP: Apart from being a group of friends who love riding bikes, what else do you get up to at VC?
VC London: Alongside our lessons we run events, camps, talks, workshops that provide a space and a platform for people in different action sports and adventure and those that want to try them out.
The biggest event that we present is our Camp VC event in Wales in August where this year we had over 500 people come learn to ride, skate, ride dirt and road, climb, and party with us for the weekend.
FP: We see it with sneakers and fashion all the time people customize their items. Seeing that you build most of your bikes how important is the custom element within your scene?
VC London: The custom element of bikes is all pretty much a form of self expression. Messing around with our bikes has been a way for us to be creative without caring too much about the outcome and learn new skills when we didn’t really feel like we were getting that in our former jobs. We always joke that our bikes are like our personalities. Gemma’s 1966 Triumph bobber is British, loud and a bit lairy , Namins Bobber is dark, with weird details and quirks and Mai’s chopper has a pearlescent paint job that we call the unicorn bike. Ha ha.
FP: How important is the community/family aspect of VC to you?
VC London: The community and family aspect of VC is everything! In fact the strength of our entire organisation is a testament to the individuals and the community that are a part of it, whether thats the team who we run our events with to the people who attend and support our events. They’re all part of the family and without them VC doesn’t exist.
FP: We are here with Neighbourhood and Converse today with a motorcycle heavy collection. How does fashion tie in with VC?
VC London: Myself and Namin come from a fashion background having both been luxury designers for many years so I suppose VC was always going to have some of that interweaved our identity but then motorcycles and style have always gone hand in hand. I guess we don’t look like your stereotypical motorcycle rider all leathered up etc but thats whats exciting about the new influx of people coming to motorcycles. There aren’t any rules to the way you can look when you ride anymore. For us the best stuff in motorcycling is the stuff going on in Japan. You’ve got girls ripping it up on Harley shovel head choppers in hoodies, puffa jackets and Dickies. Now they’re rad.
FP: How do you feel representing and empowering females in what is perceived as a very male dominated world?
VC London: To be honest we don’t really feel like we represent just women. We just represent people having a good time, getting out and doing what you love and sharing it with others. Anyone can get down with that.
FP: Your platform has grown so massively from riding road bikes, to dirt bikes and everything else with two wheels in-between. Whats next?
VC London: We’re just gonna carry on the way we always have, by revolving everything around having a good time with our mates, trying out new stuff, riding and anyone can come join us. It’s been the way VC has grown so organically over the last 5 years and it’ll always stay that way.
FP: What would you say to someone who has never ridden a bike before but wants to get into it?
VC London: Just do it. There is nothing holding you back! That and do your research about how to learn to ride, getting the right training and what bike you want to start with. Starting on something small and working your way up once you gain confidence and experience worked for us.
FP: Where can people find VC and how can they get involved?
VC London: If you want to be a part of what we do you already are. There’s no gang or club to join. Just come along to one of our meet ups, events or shoot us a message.