Vans X Where Love Is Illegal




EMEA Market


Consumer insights, customer journey planning, retail & experience strategy, brand campaigns & activations, phygital integration, prototyping, manufacturing & installation


Landing in retail stores across EMEA in June 2022, Vans’ Pride campaign is a lesson in using a global brand platform for purpose. Bringing its collaboration with the Where Love Is Illegal Fellowship Program - a Witness Change project that seeks to use LGBTQI+ stories of discrimination and survival to connect people, open minds and change policies - we created a series of interactive spaces where consumers can connect with the Vans brand through involvement with this important cultural movement.


Dedicated campaign spaces in key cities including London, Milan, Berlin, Madrid and Paris seek to build connections with consumers in-store with a bold omnichannel approach that combines education, self-expression and hard-hitting stories of survival. The campaign spans window activations, digital content, interactive consumer experiences, merchandising and a bespoke gallery space for winners of the Where Love Is Illegal Fellowship Program.

Vans handed the space to the community to encourage self-expression and creativity. Interactive activations ran across Europe with flagships in London and Milan. While Covent Garden became the home to gallery space showcasing the brand's work with the Witness Change project, 'Where Love Is Illegal'.

Community interactions

In selected stores, Vans has given space to the community where visitors authentically build upon the original design by making their mark in a ‘love-lock-bridge’ inspired interaction. Using the provided tags, consumers are invited to leave a love note for a stranger, paying forward messages of love, positivity and self-expression. Completed messages are hung in the activation space for future visitors to explore, encouraging people to embrace self-expression and creativity - a key pillar of the Vans brand. Elsewhere in the campaign space, mirror walls covered in graffiti-style messages of self-expression from previous shoppers provide a distinctive selfie opp as strangers are encouraged to be ‘together as ourselves’.

Vans X Where Love Is Illegal

The campaign pièce de résistance is located at the Vans boutique store in Covent Garden where in addition to the retail space, we transformed the entire ground floor into a gallery space showcasing the brand’s work with Witness Change Project, Where Love Is Illegal Fellowship Program. An important cultural movement that aligns with Vans’ ethos of self-expression. Following a global competition where LGBTQI+ identifying photographers were invited to create visual projects telling the untold stories of the LGBTQI+ community, the winners of the Fellowship Program collaborated with Vans to showcase their work to the brand’s global audience in-store and online. Taking the form of a gallery exhibit, the work combines empathetic portraits with raw and hard-hitting stories of discrimination and survival straight from the mouths of the photography subjects.

Omnichannel messaging around the space encourages people to follow ‘Where Love Is Illegal’ on Instagram to read the stories in more detail, share their own story and support the voices that need to be heard. Doubling as an event space, the basement is home to a series of panel talks and workshops from Fellowship Program Winners and National Geographic Photographer Robin Hammond where people can discover more about the project and embrace their own creativity.