Dr Marten's: Underground Classic
> 9 March 2017
Everything we do with CONTRA draws back to our background and interests. For footwear the options are almost limitless but to find something that fit in with our contemporary direction but also remaining authentic. To launch the store we felt there was only brand that really fit with that; Dr Marten's.
A big inspiration on our direction is the style of numerous European subcultures, our spectrum for reference is broad. Over these groups there are a few pieces that seem to be universally appreciated.
Whether it's a photograph by Nick Knight, Matt Hensley shredding in the late '80s, anti-war protestors in the '70s, grunge kids in the '90s (basically every subculture) there's destined to be a pair of Doc's floating around somewhere.
Founded on the back of a German wartime doctor's creation beloved by soldiers' housewives of the time for their comfortable soles, in 1960 the Griggs company licensed this technology and created their first shoe; the 1460 8-Hole Boot.
For years the boot was beloved by the British factory workers and it remained a workwear staple until a bubbling underground movement of Jamaican Ska-loving suburban kids looking for a way to belong. Their uniform would be universally recognised in years to come; button down shirt, skinny denim (often with braces) and Dr Marten's boots. They subverted the fashionable public by reclaiming clothes of the working class and finding companionship with others that shared their passion for clothing, music and style. They were the original Skinheads.
After that the rest is history, Doc's have been on the feet of just about every young subculture, their proven comfort and durability serving mods, rockers, skaters, beatnicks, deadbeats and hippies for decades since, all the while being replicated by fashion designers numerous times.
For us there was no other reasonable choice, we needed some Doc's on the shelves to pay respect to those who came before. This history didn't deserve to be sitting on a wall alongside the next hot trend, Doc's are timeless.
For CONTRA we kept things simple; they had to be black and they had to be the classics so there's 3 choices. For the un-initiated the 1460 (aka 8-Hole Boot) is where it began for Doc's on April 1st 1960, it was the first shoe to come off the factory floor in the UK. The 1461 takes the same sole and puts a 3-Hole Gibson upper on top. This style is more synonymous with the youth of the 80s and 90s, with white socks and a cropped pair of trousers this is a strong look.
The final shoe we have is the 1462 but we refer to them as the "Cop Spec" Gibson. This name comes from their designation as the shoe made under contract for the Queensland Police Department. Moving the signature yellow stitch to a hidden welt and giving them a polished leather construction creates a much more subdued and premium look whilst still retaining the Doc's toughness.