Born in 1964, SeaVees is the original way to go casual. With a groundbreaking advertising campaign throughout the 1960s, SeaVees pioneered the transformation of the sneaker from gym shoe to casual shoe. For any social affair, one could show up in SeaVees; a comfortable sneaker with the sophistication of a dressier shoe.
SEAVEES ADVERTISEMENTS, 1964-1967, PLAYBOY MAGAZINE. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLASSFARE.
Today SeaVees honors its 1960s origin by continually making modern amendments to classic design, resulting in a timeless sneaker of exceptional quality.
STEVEN TILLER, SEAVEES CEO & DESIGNER. PHOTO BY MARIANNA JAMADI FOR HEMISPHERES MAGAZINE.
Go behind the brand as captured by our friends at Huckberry.
Steven Tiller brings over 25 years of brand building success to SeaVees. His vision has influenced the creative direction of many of the top names in the footwear industry. Today, the native of Norman, OK is pursuing his lifelong California dream with his family in Santa Barbara, CA. Read Steven’s story of how a chance encounter in a Tokyo thrift store led to the rebirth of a forgotten American original.
THE SEAVEES LEGEND
As told by Steven Tiller
Lost. In a sea of uncertainty. Was it 2005 or 2006? Can’t be sure. You see, I'd lost my compass. Been adrift for awhile. And if I’d only known exactly how to change my course, I would’ve done something. But I didn’t. And so it went... Then we found each other. As two destined souls always do.
Swept away by an undertow of strangers on the streets of Tokyo, I wandered. Far from home. Losing myself in foreign sights, sounds, tastes. And characters. One of whom invited me into a dusty old surplus shop. It was all vintage Americana, filled with well worn clothes. Scratched vinyl, Beach Boys and Dylan. Faded photographs, Marilyn and McQueen. And I felt nostalgic. For a time I’d never known.
In a glass case, there they were. Waiting. “These please,” I said, pointing to the salt-washed mystery. The old man smiled, handing me the first pair of SeaVees I’d ever seen. And they spoke to me: the sky blue herringbone sole, the license plate logo – somehow familiar but slightly, beautifully, off center. In the name was the seduction of the Sea. Then, a large distinctive wishbone V. "A treasure," I whispered under bated breath. I began to yearn. For a passage I’d never had the courage to take.
And so I submerged on my journey. Back in time. Through a deep dive of archives, journals, magazines. And discovered a birth - in 1964 - of a BF Goodrich brand that pioneered the coastal casual lifestyle. That defined California in its golden age. In the guise of a shoe. Then seven years later was abandoned, without a trace. And lay dormant, buried for nearly 40 years. Waiting for a dreamer. Waiting for someone like me.
Anchored back in Boston, I kissed the girl I love. Hugged our kids. And shocked our families, our friends. Bid farewell to life as we knew it. We sold our home and our car. Mostly everything. Except our pictures and my dog-eared Kerouac paperbacks. And headed West. To California. To set up shop in a Santa Barbara studio. With open windows and the cool breeze of the Pacific blue. To live between mountains and sea. The way I’d always dreamed to be. To breathe new life into something old. Something authentic. Something long lost but rediscovered.
Found. A 1960s California dream. SeaVees.