To the untrained eye, the item that is expertly crafted, but simple in appearance, can be deceptive. It will invariably be held up next to a product of comparable simplicity, but poorer design, and be declared the same.
Anthony Bourdain discussed a similar phenomenon in the restaurant industry regarding the common complaints that high end cuisine was often “simple,” meaning that there was a lack of apparent tricks or gimmicks that would easily justify the price and reputation. He compared this to an organized crime protection racket, in that the truly masterful chefs knew that extraneous alterations and/or additions were wholly unnecessary, and that the customer was paying a premium to not have their meal ruined intentionally.
The same principle applies to fashion design. One brand that knows this, instinctively, is Japan’s WTAPS. WTAPS utilizes the slogan “placing things where they should be,” which is, essentially, a cryptic way of saying that designing and producing simple things, correctly, comes with its own inherent demand. It is this line of thinking that has allowed WTAPS founder Tetsu Nishiyama to flourish, first in Japan’s demanding, discerning fashion scene, and then globally, over the course of his career.
WTAPS have often focused on classic looks, military and preppy casual wear aesthetics have been great successes for the brand, and their latest collaboration with Vans continues in this vein.
The OG Style 36 LX features completely monochrome, from tongue to sole, colorways and exquisitely soft, high end suede uppers. The Era LX sports a white canvas upper, and a solid colored gum sole in red, blue, or green. To describe these shoes physically hardly begins to do them justice; deceptive simplicity strikes again. The upside to this is, when a shoe is as simple, elegant, and universally applicable across all styles, its appeal is self evident.
If a size is not listed, it is sold out.