Senior enters VANS Custom Culture contest


Lydia Woodley

William Melgar (right) pictured next to his shoe design (left). He based his shoe design off of things he loves, the beach and pandas.

Lydia Woodley, Ads Manager

Starting out in 1966, VANS originally created footwear for skateboarders, but has become one of the largest and most popular shoe companies in the world. They have reinvented the footwear market and are now giving others the chance to do the same with their Custom Culture contest.  

Senior William Brice Melgar-Mejia entered the contest to design a pair of VANS. He has the chance to be a finalist and design a shoe with expert VANS designers. The first-place winner will win $25,000 and have their shoe manufactured. The school has been rallying behind him and voting for his design to show their support. 

For the Custom Culture contest, contestants had to draw an original design on a piece of paper with Quick Response, or QR codes and upload the design to the contest’s website. Voting began on Oct. 1 and runs until Oct. 13. Anyone can vote once a day, on as many devices as available until the deadline. The Custom Culture website says an expert panel of VANS’ employees will judge the designs based on “creativity, originality, its alignment with the spirit of the VANS brand, and the popularity of designs in the public vote.” 

Melgar took his time to make a design that reflects himself and is up to his expectations. After many different designs that did not meet his standards, he found one that suited him.  

The toe of the shoe resembles a panda, his favorite animal, with the words off the wall in the panda. His signature, WB, is on the side for William Brice, and a beach design is on the heel. He chose his design based on what inspired him saying, “I’ve lived near the beach for my entire life and I would never trade it for anything else.”  

Melgar did not expect the widespread support that came in the following days after he entered the contest. When Mrs. Terlizzi, one oMelgar’s teachers and biggest supporter, saw his design she was so impressed by his creativity that she insisted on helping spread the word and get people to vote. Terlizzi comments, “William is too humble to ask me to vote, I found out through someone else.” 

Melgar plans on attending Wor-Wic Community College for two years and then transferring to Salisbury University and wants to study to become a dentist. Though drawing may not be a part of his career path, it is still important to him. He says, “Drawing is one of my hobbies that just lets me relax and allows me to express myself without following a rule book.”  

To find and vote for his design go to His username is William_Panda.