What Do You Stand For?

Photography and assistance Mitchell Webb and Liv Rose, in collaboration with Dr. Martens


#StandForSomething

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Shoes Dr. Martens Dante Wooly Bully, trousers REISS

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I admit, this question proved difficult to answer initially, and produced a slightly (OK, mostly) ego-led answer with the intention of sounding cool, laid back but still philosophical (because isn’t that what the kids are doing now?!) (I can’t keep up). However, digging deeper, I eventually realised I stand for individuality and self-expression without criticism. Ultimately, I believe values are paramount to our ethics, so it’s a pleasant surprise when you become intensely more aware of a brand with admirable strong values (who you always kind of knew had them but never really knew until now, you know?). Recently, I set-off on a journey of discovery into the values of Dr. Martens and what they stand for. I uncovered that their core principle is a history of rebellious self-expression, mapping their way through the twists and turns of youth culture, which only afforded to my pleasure in getting up close and personal with the brand. Each shoe, hand-made from start to finish, is built with exquisite quality, craftsmanship and authenticity. This process I witnessed only went on to increase my love for the brand, their staff also have an unfaltering loyalty – some working there for over 40 years, following in the footsteps of their grandparents and parents alike – who create an open and enjoyable environment (one you’d never thought was behind multi-million pound company). See a brief breakdown here…


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Jacket ASOS, t-shirt COS


To uncover the origination of these values, you must go back to the beginning. A true icon was born from tradition and authenticity in 1901 with the Griggs family, well known for making quality boots in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. In 1945, innovation was tossed into the mix, in the form of Dr. Klaus Maertens in a post-war Munich. Take a broken foot, combined with the creativity to create a unique air-cushioned sole to aid his recovery, and you have the prototype shoe Klaus produced to an old university friend and mechanical engineer, Dr. Herbert Funk.

Back in England, the Griggs business was now being run by a third-generation family member, who happened to come across an advert for the innovative air-cushioned sole in a shoe trade magazine. After making a few key changes, including an altered heel, a bulbous but simple upper, a distinctive yellow welt stitch, a two tone grooved sole edge and a unique sole pattern, an exclusive license was acquired. The boots were branded as ‘Airwair’ and came adorned with a heel loop featuring the brand name and the slogan in Bill Grigg’s own hand writing, “With Bouncing Soles”. Taking its name from date of its inception, April 1st, 1960, the eight-holed 1460 Dr. Martens boot had arrived. One of the most outstanding traits of the Dr. Martens brand is it’s ability to constantly and fearlessly evolve with society, which ultimately owes to it’s longevity and continued relevance in the fashion industry. By taking a closer look at their history, you can experience their capacity for change, and therefore adoption, by a huge number of subcultures in Britains society…


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Photography courtesy of Dr. Martens and Exposure London

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