clarks gets a re-boot
Clarks celebrates 65 years of the Desert Boot with custom styles by UK artists.
A wardrobe staple for discerning mod kids since the early 1960s, Clarks Desert Boots actually date back all the way back to 1949 while Nathan Clark was stationed in Burma as a member of the Royal Army Service Corps. He noticed his fellow officers wearing simple, crepe-soled boots handmade in a market in Cairo. Upon his return to civilian life and to the family shoe business in Somerset, England, he recreated the boots using tan suede, a nod to the color of desert sand. At the time, suede footwear was considered gauche and the boot’s design too simple (read: cheap) so it was snubbed by the rest of the Clarks. But when Nathan unveiled the shoe at a Chicago Shoe Fair in 1949, Americans fell in love with it, deeming the desert boot stylish and revolutionary. It was an immediate hit.
To celebrate the 65th birthday of the Desert Boot, this year, Clarks teamed up with 14 artists and designers for a project called ‘Clarks: Rebooted’. Each artist put his or her own spin on the classic model– from Amy Stephens’ geometric cut-outs to Lee Broom’s mod-rocker hybrid. Starting last March, new styles dropped monthly in limited numbers and now, many are still available (and on sale for $199). A portion of the profits go to the HALO Trust, a humanitarian organization that works to clear landmines and explosives from war-torn countries to make the land safe and habitable.
From the film To Sir With Love (1967)
A scene from Quadrophenia (1979) and the Small Faces (circa 1965/66)