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 Men’s Fashion Week in June.
“Clarks is something that’s so intrinsic to British culture and obviously Jamaican culture because it’s huge in Jamaica because of the Commonwealth. There’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,” Rose told the outlet.
The footwear brand approached Rose last year, and she subsequently visited Clarks’ headquarters in Somerset, where she learned more about the label’s 200-year-long history. Exploring the imprint’s archives, Rose revamped classic Clarks silhouettes, including the loafer, the Oxford shoe and the sandal, with her recognizable design codes and a “major focus on comfort.”
According to WWD‘s report, Rose has taken Clarks’ penchant for stylized comfort one step further, plumping her collaborative designs with extra-padded insoles and feather downs for a pillow-like feel — a design process that Clarks had not explored prior. The color story, meanwhile, is quintessentially Rose, with black, oxblood and snakeskin options.
“There has to be something familiar about it so you can get the riff,” she said. “We’ve actually tried to keep it more classic.”
Tara McRae, Clarks’ chief marketing and digital officer, detailed the brand’s excitement surrounding Rose’s appointment. “Martine 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,” she said.
Following their runway debut in June, Rose’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 — so stay tuned for further updates on Rose’s stint as the brand’s first guest creative director.
In more fashion news, Pharrell’s debut Louis Vuitton collection will open Paris Men’s Fashion Week.