British-Jamaican menswear designer Martine Rose, founder of her eponymous label, has been announced as Clarks‘ first-ever guest creative director. The collaboration draws upon the inherent connection between Rose’s heritage and the widespread appeal of Clarks in Jamaica, resulting in a compelling fusion of fashion and cultural resonance.
“Clarks is something that’s so intrinsic to British culture and obviously Jamaican culture because it’s huge in Jamaica because of the Commonwealth,” Rose said in an exchange with WWD. “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 debut collection will include three silhouettes: a Clarks loafer, oxford shoe and sandal. Leaning into the brand’s focus on comfort, Rose describes the shoes as looking and feeling like pillows with extra padding added in the insoles made from feather down, a material Clarks hasn’t worked with before.
Commenting on the color story for the first collection, Rose said, “There has to be something familiar about it so you can get the riff. We’ve actually tried to keep it more classic, so it’s very simple, there’s a black, oxblood and snakeskin.”
Prior to Clarks, Rose has collaborated with Nike, Stüssy and Tommy Jeans, among others. Martine Rose was reportedly considered as one of the potential candidates for the role of creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear. However, the position was ultimately secured by Pharrell Williams.
Rose will debut her Clarks designs during Martine Rose’s London Men’s Fashion Week presentation in June. The shoes will launch at retail in March 2023.