Dr. Martens’ Genix Nappa Line Takes Sustainability Into Its Own Hands

Hypebeast caught up with Chief Product Officer Adam Meek to discuss the brand’s new eco-friendly collection and its most progressive styles to date.

Footwear 
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Dr. Martens is constantly at the forefront of innovation. Whether breaking in a crisp pair or sourcing one from your local thrift store, your DMs will last a lifetime. Dr. Martens’ renowned styles have become a staple in wardrobes around the world, with each sturdy pair holding the same strong ties to British subcultures and dressing punks and skinheads for over a century.

Dr. Martens’ sturdy construction is made for battered and bruised workmen, delivering its most progressive and sustainable line across the Genix Nappa collection. The inventive offering keeps the environment in mind by utilizing repurposed leather destined for landfills. The supple and durable materials differ from Dr. Martens’ customary brawny build, providing the feeling of being worn for decades. The brand is on a mission to slash its carbon footprint by 2040, stomping towards success with the low-impact Genix Nappa range.

The reclaimed leather collection reimagines robust boots with softer outlines for a relaxed and comfortable ride. By extracting harsh fibers from your well-loved favorites, Dr. Martens issues a sustainable alternative to its thick-cut uppers. Dr. Martens acknowledges an eco-friendly future, redeveloping its footwear for a brighter tomorrow.

Hypebeast caught up with Dr. Martens’ Chief Product Officer, Adam Meek, to discuss the brand’s most progressive moves in its rich history

What makes the Genix Nappa collection so special?

We are excited to bring Genix Nappa to market as we have been able to find a more sustainable
material that doesn’t compromise our renowned durability. This has been a key challenge for us. Some of the lower-impact materials we have tested in the past – such as recycled or plant-based materials – have been less durable, so finding a solution is special.

Genix Nappa is designed to tackle waste leather, reclaiming leather offcuts and re-engineering them into a soft but durable material. We work with our sustainable materials partner who recovers waste leather offcuts, originally destined for landfill, from the wet-blue tanning process.

How different is the material used in the Genix Nappa collection compared to conventional Dr. Martens leather?

It’s important that we don’t compromise on the durability our leather products are so well known for. It is unique as a soft but durable material with a lower environmental impact compared to
conventional leather. When testing the new material, It was essential that we don’t compromise on style, fit, comfort, or durability. The material is new and unique, so we hope to learn a lot from this first launch.

Do you see this line becoming the brand’s most predominant offering going forward?

We will be launching with approximately 5,000 pairs to further assess material performance, limit any wastage, and hear what our wearers think before increasing the product run quantity. This is just the beginning. We will continue to evolve our mix of materials to increase the number of sustainable materials incorporated across all product categories. Our long-term ambition is for 100% of our footwear to be made from sustainable materials by 2040.

Is Dr. Martens on course to be net zero by 2040?

We believe the most responsible thing we can do as a bootmaker is to maximize the longevity of
each pair through the creation of timeless, hardwearing footwear. At the same time, we have a duty to consider the impact our business has on both people and the planet, which we take incredibly seriously. We feel the best thing we can do right now is follow the latest guidance. This is why Dr. Martens has committed to reducing its absolute Greenhouse Gas Emissions aligned with the Science-Based Targets initiative to achieve Net Zero by 2040.

To help us deliver on this ambition, we have developed a clear strategy focusing on three pillars:

Planet, Product, and People. Examples of what we’re working on to keep us on course to becoming Net-Zero by 2040 are wide-ranging, from working closely with our suppliers on environmental standards to sourcing our natural materials from regenerative sources and ensuring all our products have a sustainable end-of-life option. Sustainability is an evolving and ongoing journey, but one that we are proud to have made good progress in. We are closely reporting on the process in our annual reports.

Is your role dedicated to making sure Dr. Martens achieves this milestone?

The whole organization is dedicated to making sure Dr. Martens achieves this milestone, and as the leader of product, it is one of my key priorities. We are learning every day in this space, testing new materials and compounds. One of the values that was passed on from our founders was durability, we want our product to stand up to the rigors of life to be a product you can trust. Therefore, any material we test has to live up to these standards. There is a lot of innovation in this space, we just have to ensure that whatever we do stays true to Dr. Martens’ beliefs and values.

What other ways is the brand innovating to reduce its environmental impact?

We’re making exciting progress in maximizing the life of all the products we create. Sustainability through longevity is a core belief of Dr. Martens, and we are known for designing timeless and durable products.

The Dr. Martens Genix Nappa range is available to shop now via the brand’s website and retail storefronts.

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