Charlene Holy Bear says she made the beaded Vans tennis shoes on a last-minute trip to the Gathering of Nations.
Standing Rock Sioux Artist Charlene Holy Bear has found herself thrust into the national spotlight. Her beautifully beaded Vans slip-on tennis shoes are now being featured in VOGUE magazine.
In the article Holy Bear told VOGUE that she made the beaded Vans tennis shoes four years ago as a last-minute consideration when going to the Gathering of Nation’s Powwow in Albuquerque.
The beaded Vans tennis shoes were an immediate hit and went viral as the readers shared the article.
Holy Bear told VOGUE she hadn’t had any time that year to prepare regalia for her family but wanted her 4-year-old son Justus to look cool wearing the slip-ons. “He had a new pair of slip-on Vans and I suddenly had an idea, looking at the checkerboard design,” said Holy Bear.
The process took Holy Bear three days. As a result of the exposure at the powwow, Holy Bear now has a long line of customers wanting their own pair.
“Those Vans really reminded me of traditional moccasins… I braided my son’s hair, put on those shoes and he was the coolest little guy at the powwow. People were stopping us to take photos, he made such a splash.”
The photos of Holy Bear’s shoes made their way to social media. Amanda Miller, the communications director at PayPal contacted Holy Bear for a pair of the beaded Vans, even the Vans tennis shoe company sent the artist an entire pallet of sneakers to work on.
Holy Bear has been an artist her entire life, she crafted traditional dolls at five-years-old and won a second place ribbon at Santa Fe Indian Market. She studied fine art in college at the University of New Mexico.
You can check out Charlene Holy Bear’s website (there are also beautiful beaded earrings and jewelry in addition to the beaded Vans) here –