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It’s a Friday night in Washington, D.C., and Anderson .Paak has a show to play at the Something in the Water Festival in just a few short hours — his first festival appearance in years that also marks the beginning of a packed summer schedule.
“This is going to be such a good kickoff, because we’re going to do this one, and then we go on tour with the Chili Peppers right after this,” says .Paak, over the phone. “We’re going to give them such a great show, and we’re just so hyped to be back outside again and shake the cobwebs off. And I’m happy to be playing with my band again and going through this crazy set that we have. And yeah, man, just hit the stage with my new Vans on.”
.Paak’s on-stage footwear choice makes sense. This week, the eight-time Grammy winner launches his third collection of apparel and accessories with Vans, called the Vanderson line, which fans can now find online and on store shelves after a restock (if it doesn’t sell out again).
.Paak has worked with Vans on previous collections in the past, but with the pandemic, his Vanderson line took years to create. During the design process, Zoom calls eventually turned into weekly in-person meetings, where .Paak and the Vans team would work on the superstar’s third collection together in Malibu — a process that .Paak compares to working on an album.
“We were all there, every day, outside sipping spicy margaritas and just going over different samples,” .Paak recalls. “I would be bringing through references of what I was talking about, the idea that I wanted to do, and they would just figure out, ‘How can we make this our way, and how can we do something different?’ Nobody was ever scared of the ideas.”
Those ideas include a range of timeless pieces with Seventies appeal, like retro-style Vans designed with throwback patterns you won’t find in other collaborations. .Paak didn’t stop at the shoes either — there’s also plenty of apparel with a vintage feel, from tie-dye graphic tees in “bleached sand” tones, to a bucket hat covered in a paisley print. And if the collection makes you want to rewatch the “Leave the Door Open” video, that’s no coincidence.
“A lot of this was inspired by my last project with Silk Sonic,” .Paak says. “A lot of it was inspired by the things that we were wearing for that project and even inspired by my children, because we have stuff for kids as well.”
When it came time to launch the Vans collection, .Paak directed the new campaign and got a chance to work with his family in the process. “It was just really an awesome experience to be able to work with my family that close, to work with my son that close, and really seeing how amazing he is as an actor and to have the treatment that I wrote come to life,” he says.
After launching the new Vanderson collection, .Paak and the Free Nationals will join part of the European leg of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ world tour, including select dates in London and Glasgow. Later this summer, .Paak will head back to Vegas with Bruno Mars for another round of the duo’s residency An Evening With Silk Sonic.
“I would have never thought I’d be 36 years old with a residency with one of the biggest stars in the world,” .Paak says. “It’s just like, back in my day, that was reserved for people maybe towards the end of their career, but things have changed so much in Vegas. And the show that we put together, I’m just so proud of.
“Every night I’m getting to do different things and it’s different from my show, and I know it’s different from his show as well,” .Paak continues. “And we’re getting to show our chemistry that we have offstage and we’re displaying it on stage. The show has so much humor and so much dancing, playing, and a lot of singing, and it’s just awesome to see people’s reaction every night.”