On Tuesday, British shoemaker Clarks named Martine Rose its first-ever guest creative director, according to WWD. In the newly-established role, the U.K. designer has designed three pairs of shoes, each of which will debut on her namesake runway during London Menâ€™s Fashion Week in June.
â€œClarks is something thatâ€™s so intrinsic to British culture and obviously Jamaican culture because itâ€™s huge in Jamaica because of the Commonwealth. Thereâ€™s a couple of British brands that are really big in Jamaica because Britishness is a sign of quality and you take it out of context it takes on a life of its own, like a myth,â€ Rose told the outlet.
The footwear brand approached Rose last year, and she subsequently visited Clarksâ€™ headquarters in Somerset, where she learned more about the labelâ€™s 200-year-long history. Exploring the imprintâ€™s archives, Rose revamped classic Clarks silhouettes, including the loafer, the Oxford shoe and the sandal, with her recognizable design codes and a â€œmajor focus on comfort.â€
According toÂ WWDâ€˜s report, Rose has taken Clarksâ€™ penchant for stylized comfort one step further, plumping her collaborative designs with extra-padded insoles and feather downs for a pillow-like feel â€” a design process that Clarks had not explored prior. The color story, meanwhile, is quintessentially Rose, with black, oxblood and snakeskin options.
â€œThere has to be something familiar about it so you can get the riff,â€ she said. â€œWeâ€™ve actually tried to keep it more classic.â€
Tara McRae, Clarksâ€™ chief marketing and digital officer, detailed the brandâ€™s excitement surrounding Roseâ€™s appointment. â€œMartine was top of our list of guest creative directors to partner with, due to her unconventional approach to design and development and her British-Jamaican background, both of which are core to our brand,â€ she said.
Following their runway debut in June, Roseâ€™s inaugural designs for Clarks will go on sale in March of next year. The designer hinted at a second collaboration that is reportedly in development for the summer â€” so stay tuned for further updates on Roseâ€™s stint as the brandâ€™s first guest creative director.
In more fashion news, Pharrellâ€™s debut Louis Vuitton collection will open Paris Menâ€™s Fashion Week.