May 29, 2020
Strawberry Mansion High School took home the grand prize in the Vans Custom Culture competition for designing a shoe that pays homage to the "215."
The Philadelphia-lovin' shoes won the top prize in the physical shoe design category, besting the submissions of about 500 other schools. The North Philly school will receive $50,000 to fund its arts program.
As part of the contest, students were instructed to design a pair of sneakers using two concepts – "local flavor" and "off the wall." Vans then decided the top 50 entries before asking the public to select the winners.
The winning shoes were designed by five Strawberry Mansion students who certainly didn't hold the "local flavor." Their shoe design incorporated the Liberty Bell, Rocky, cheesesteaks, water ice, hoagies and the city's famous "LOVE" sculpture.
The competition includes entries from public and private high schools in the United States. It seeks to “inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets," according to Vans.
The shoe company amended the rules in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Vans expanded the contest to include a digital design category, because some schools couldn't complete a physical design due to stay-at-home orders. Instead of awarding its typical $75,000, the company handed $50,000 to both the physical and digital design winners.
George Washington High School students in San Francisco won the grand prize for digital shoe design. Four runner-ups included schools in Louisiana, Ohio, Idaho and New York. They each receive $10,000.