Ok there is no denying that one of the most enduring and iconic brands in footwear history is Dr. Martens. With a lifespan longer than most other footwear in the game, Dr. Martens are a flag of attitude and empowerment.
In 1960, the British brand from Northampton County in the Midlands designed the most durable and comfortable pair of footwear for British workers. Only a year later, the low-cut version of the boot rolled off of the production line under the name 1461 (referring to April 1, 1961). Since its conception, this timeless and rugged silhouette has evolved and adapted through a myriad of cultural movements, becoming an emblem of Docs history with its trusty AirWair sole, heel loop, and trademark yellow stitching. From political protesters and the working-class population in the ‘60s and ‘70s to ‘80s students, musicians, and universities, the 1461 has traversed social and economic boundaries, metamorphosing into an everlasting icon of rebellious spirit, subculture energy, and creative inspiration.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martens 1461, the brand called upon three young artists whose creative and energetic spirits embody true Dr. Martens style, to reinterpret the iconic three eyelet shoe. Whether through customization or as part of their artistic practice, all three talents used the 1461 silhouette as a blank canvas for self-expression.
Berlin-based artist, Janina, revolutionizes and redefines the fashion and art community through her playful hairstyling and eccentric face paint by dislodging it from its usual context. To satiate her creative desires, Janina turns shaved heads into blank canvases for her quirky design ideas. “My hair art stands for fun, creativity, and freedom, which is also embodied in the Dr. Martens ethos. It is the cult shoe of the “working class and the punks” which stands for generations of rebellion and strength, so I was immediately excited to support this project with my practice.”
Anna Rupprecht is another Berlin-based creator whose bright and bold illustrations draw inspiration from uncommon typefaces, screen printings, and Japanese illustrations. Rupprecht is an agent of change, using her unique work to address socio-cultural and political topics whilst breaking down language barriers and empowering other individuals – something Rupprecht and Dr. Martens most definitely have in common.
Bobbie Serrano is an artist from Hamburg who deals with interpersonal connections and societal struggles within his work, identifying as an ‘agent of change’, much like the long-lasting motto of Docs. A memory that sticks with Serrano from his childhood is his failed venture to save up for a pair of Dr. Martens. “Now that I finally have my own pair of Docs, and get to design them too, for me this feels like a complete circle. Moreover, designing this very aesthetic shoe is an honor and a challenge, so I chose my signature ‘birds’ as inspiration for the customization as they are a true representation of myself and the freedom I strive for in my practice.”
Shop the Dr. Martens collection here.