>> When I got my tot-tot feet measured aged 4 at the Clarks store in Brent Cross for my first pair of school shoes, little did I know that two decades later I would be swanking it up and styling a lookbook for the very same brand. Child who grew up living above a Chinese takeway does good and all that. This is the sort of stuff I can show my parents and they'd have some point of reference to comment back with approval. "Ah Clarks! Good quality shoes! Last very long!" they would say. Indeed (except my mum still thought it prudent to stockpile on Clarks shoes - on sale of course - to the point where our understairs cupboard resembled a veritable Clarks outlet store at one point).
This is a very different kettle of fish though to the patent t-bars and butterfly-stitched mary janes I had as a child. For a year now, Clarks Sportswear coming out with small capsule collections that combine the company's rich shoemaking heritage with modern sports shoe technologies so that craft and function come together in a subtle way. They started off with mens styles which have been increasingly hotting up on the "bloke" press radar - men who were addicted to their Originals Wallabees and Desert boots could take on the extra bonus features of ankle cushioning, EVA moldings and TPU gaskets (those are fancy words for rubber and stuff). Dudes that like their shoes to be "dope" have been digging Clarks Sportswear, especially when they collaborate with the likes of cult sneaker store atmos.
Naturally the womenswear counterparts were on the cards and so for A/W 13-4, they have launched two styles, the Juno Hi and Lo, pepped up with brightly colour blocked soles to contrast with more muted suede uppers that have a hint of Desert Boot about them. Someone probably took one look at neon pink soles and thought that I'd somehow find synergy with them, and so it is that I ended up styling this small lookbook for them to celebrate the launch of Clarks Sportswear for women. They were right of course. It didn't take a great deal of imagination to cobble together colour jigsaw pieces that would pick out the soleful shoes (TEE-HEE-HEE). The line may be called Clarks Sportswear but it's clear these shoes are made for active day-to-day lives as opposed to hardcore sporting prowess. So I picked out pieces that had hints of "GO" power rather than full-on sportswear. Which meant ots of neoprene (thanks new season ASOS), some handy purple bits from Beyond Retro and some of my own sports-lux pieces. Beth at Storm was to be my hapless victim and Jamie C Gray, the consumate profesh photographer, guided by Liz Hay at Dry creative agency.
Together I think we made colour-pop fun for Clarks Sportswear's first foray into women shoes. Mama and Papa Lau will be ever so proud.
Clarks Sportswear available at selected footwear stores and Office online now.
ASOS neoprene sweater and neoprene skirt, Beyond Retro shirt, Clarks Sportswear Juno lo lace-up
Beyond Retro top, Nike hoodie, COS dress, Clarks Sportswear Juno hi ankle boot
Lucky Chouette jacket, ASOS quilted dress, Louise Gray skirt, Clarks Sportswear Juno hi ankle boot