One of the world’s most off-the-wall brands is stepping in to help one of Austin's cherished cultural districts.
Nonprofit Red River Cultural District has teamed up with shoemaker Vans to create branded sneakers and help raise funds for the charitable organization. Through its Foot the Bill initiative, which strives to help small businesses and creative communities through customized shoes, Vans is rolling out its limited-edition Red River Cultural District-branded shoes.
Designed in the Vans Era skate-shoe style, the shoes were created with input from the cultural district’s 40 member businesses, with the design reflecting the gritty, live music vibe of the Red River Cultural District. Emblazoned with a “Defend Red River” logo pattern, the sneaks were intentionally created with leather and canvas materials to provide “show-tested durability,” perfect for slogging from venue to venue.
“The all black color scheme is a nod to those who work at our district’s venues, and we added a touch of red and gold to match our brand colors,” district reps note of the design inspiration on the Vans website.
Of course, there’s not much cause to slog to any music venues in pandemic times, a concern that led the iconic entertainment district to take steps on the Vans project. All proceeds from the sale of the shoes ($90) and a co-branded T-shirt ($30) will go to the district’s Banding Together ATX emergency relief fund, which provides grants to Austinites affected by COVID-19 and the economic shutdowns, particularly those working in the music, service, hospitality, and creative sectors.
Since its creation following the 2020 cancelation of SXSW —one of district's biggest moneymakers — Banding Together ATX has awarded more than 2,700 individual grants, totaling $155,000, to displaced workers in the Austin area.
“We believe that music is the heart and soul of our city,” district reps say, “and our organization is committed to its preservation for the benefit of all, both now and long into the future.”