For five decades Dr Martens famous 1460 boot has been worn by the ordinary workers for whom it was designed but also by rebels and non-conformists of all stripes. It was adopted first by the skinheads, later by other sub-cultures and was often worn by musicians for its authentic, working-class appeal. The brand and music have been closely associated for fifty years so to celebrate their anniversary Dr Martens has enlisted ten contemporary bands and ten film directors to help celebrate the landmark. The result is a collection of music and videos that reflects the broad range of groups who have adopted and customised Dr Martens over the last 50 years. All of the videos will be available to view on the brand's site as of the 1st April 2010 but for now, I just want to concentrate on the product. As promised in yesterday's factory porn post I can now share information of the latest product releases. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary Dr Martens are launching a commemorative limited edition footwear collection and I was afforded a sneak preview during my trip to their Wollaston factory.
Celebrating fifty golden years of Dr Martens. The limited edition iconic eight eye 1460 boot and the classic three eye 1461 shoe.
The commemorative and limited collection consists of two styles, the iconic eight eye 1460 boot and the classic three eye 1461 shoe, both of which are presented in Black and Cherry Red colours – those synonymous with the brand. The leather used is a rich premium Polished Pebble that will feature exclusively on this range. Each style will be restricted to limited runs of 1,460 pairs per colour for the boots and 1,461 pairs per colour for the shoes globally. However, despite being extremely limited and handcrafted at their Wallaston factory in Northampton the price points are pretty darn accessible at at £110 for the 1460 and £100 for 1461.
Despite it being their birthday, Dr Martens are going to be extremely busy on the 1st April, as the date also sees the launch of their Worn 1460 collection. The iconic boot is treated with an eight step 'Worn' process to give its wearer a head start to the breaking in ritual. The boots retain the features of the original 8-eye style but have the appearance of being lived in and loved for years. The Worn 1460 boots are made in a faithful way to the specifications of Dr Martens originals but are subsequently rolled, creased, flexed, brushed, distressed, polished, sand-blasted and roughed up to create aged classics with an authentic feel. Personally, I love nothing more than breaking in a pair of new boots (that's the real fun part, right?) but for the lazy amongst you this treatment should be of interest and I can testify that the result is quite beautiful.
Now, I have been prattling on about the iconic styles for some time now but there is so much more to this brand than the classics we all know and love. I felt like a fat kid in a sweet shop as I discovered new styles and I'm excited to share them with you. For some of the models (see immediately above and below) I don't have too much information to share with you aside from the fact that I like them! The coloured sole products (above and below) are an evolution from a collection they did previously called Primary where they are all red, all blue. This range is called 'Modern Classics' and I love the bold colourways used. These will certainly get your feet noticed.
In recent years, Dr Martens have been making a proactive effort to expand their brand offering. Since taking over at the creative helm, Andrew Bunney and the lovely Tommy have really helped the brand move forward, with new make ups and styles and arguably most importantly through a number of high profile collaborations. Through collaboration with a number of well selected bands including the likes of Raf Simons, Jean Paul Gaultier, Uniform Experiment and numerous art based projects the brand offering has evolved in to new styles and collections. The below range seems a natural progression from the recent collaborative work with street wear legends Stussy.
The Prism collection has supple suede uppers with tonal stitch and welt colours. Based on Dr Martens' classic 3-eye shoe, Chukka and Monkey boot, this collection has a fresh feel to it. The range uses three materials, suede, leather (smooth, medium sheen) & leather (high-polish). The desert boot is Manton, the monkey boot is Philip.
As well as making obvious strides forward it is great to see the brand keeping its core values. The Vintage collection sums this point best. The collection is handcrafted in the original Wollaston factory, by cobblers using the original construction techniques that were developed in the 1960's.
The product, made on the original '59' last, features narrower horizontal tread bars, criss-crossed coring bars, a darker sole, a storm welt bound together on the lateral side, small indentations left on the welt by the original stitching machine, no top collar binding and runs into the eye stay above the top eyelet. This is where it all began and it is refreshing to see it still going strong after all of these years. For AW10, Dr Martens adds a certain amount of bold colour and design to its 'Made in England' arm. These are Dr Martens but not as we know them. I hope this post demonstrates one of the key feelings I was left with after my tour of their Wollaston base. In short it is this... that despite turning fifty and the fact that it is deservedly proud of its past, this is a brand that is keen to move forward and I, for one, look forward to its future.