There’s one problem with this Dr. Martins x Nanamica collaboration and it’s not Nanamica. From Comme des Garçons to the Nepenthes family, brands too frequently lean on Dr. Martins to create a (relatively) affordable gateway into their worlds. The thing is (perhaps unsurprisingly) they all end up looking like DMs.
I bought two pairs of the recent Dr. Martins x Engineered Garments offering: one olive pair with an asymmetrical lacing system, the other in ‘milkshake’ with a Velcro strap over the laces. I don’t wear them much. I’m an idiot, but doubtless it’s the snob in me. Whatever you do to them, DMs can’t help but look like DMs. And that look, that cushiony, round-toed familiarity, it’s just loaded with poverty-stricken studenty resonance; snakebite and black, The Cure, student discos, sweetcorn on toast. I should probably try and ditch my ancient prejudices. Because looking at these shoes objectively, maybe, perhaps, possibly, they’re just a little bit cool.
For a start they’ve got a zigzag sole unit. You rarely see a DM zigzag sole outside Camden Market’s miserable turmoil of sarongs, beads and ironic Boyz II Men t-shirts. So maybe it’s time the DM zigzag sole was reappropriated, embraced and reimagined by the more considered end of the clothing spectrum.
There’s a Camberwell silhouette going on here too, providing a nice lip around the toe, again distancing this things from the more familiar DM style. White stitching around the welt, white laces, that’s about the shape of things.
As I say, I kind of like them. If they didn’t have the Nanamica co-sign would I be interested? Probably not. But as I’ve illustrated already, I’m a tedious snob. A vassal to un-common brands. The fact that I am able to self-identify in this way doesn’t make it any more wretched.