Jay and his daughter Avery James. photo: Jeff Potocar Today we are featuring our friend Jay Potocar. Mr. Potocar is greatly respected for his contributions behind the scenes at the legendary Van Doren Rubber Company (Vans). I first met Jay a few years back when I had the opportunity to design a shoe for Vans. Working with Jay and his team was a 25 year dream that manifested itself last Fall. I started as a consumer of the brand, a 10 year team rider and till this day we at the office still wear the functionable and fashionable waffle soles regularly. From the core skateboarder to the polished fashion guy - Vans has a pair of sneakers that represents your lifestyle.
Jay has spearheaded the launch of numerous notable campaigns for the brand. Here is a little insight into his creative world:
1. What is your official role and duties for Vans? Jay Potocar. Senior Product Development Manager. I make stuff.
2. Describe the design and thought process behind the birth of a shoe. The process starts with a product brief that's handed off to Design where concepts are sketched against. A tech pack is created then delivered to Development where we begin the sampling process. After multiple rounds of samples, the final confirmation spec is issued to the factory and Production starts. From Brief to Build, it's an 18 month cycle.
The thought process varies based on what problems we are trying to solve. The process is there to flush out the most viable product option.
3. Everyone wants to do a collaboration/specailty/one-of-a-kind/limited/fancy schmancy shoe with you, how do you choose? If it's Max Schaaf or Yo Gabba Gabba! or Dennis Hopper, they reflect our pure expression of creativity. Through that, we maintain brand and product integrity. There are so many different reasons we choose to work with an outside design source and though there are a myriad of people and brands we have partnered with in the past I think they all make sense for Vans and who we are.
4. Part of progressing athletic shoes is you need to bring new technology to the market. Vans roots are embedded in generations who wear the classics, how do you balance progression and culture? Please explain a little. Through Product Design and Development, our goal is to produce footwear that is innovative both stylistically and functionally. We just built the world's first vulcanized cupsole, the "Wafflecup". It grips and feels like our Classics, but is a supportive and durable modern cupsole. The best of both worlds. Seriously, no one has ever vulcanized a cupsole before and it's rad. Progression is forgotten if it doesn't solve a real problem and Vans progresses by building what functions better for skateboarding and through that we connect our generations of skateboarders - from Alva to Cardiel to Rowley to this next generation of skaters like Elijah Berle. That kid rules.
5. "Style is Everything" is our motto, who do you think has style? the Gonz.
Thank you Jay for your contributions and dedication to the sneaker culture. *Jay proudly uses our pomade to look top-notch.
Grant's Golden Brand Pomade the premiere water-based pomade made in the good old USA