PostClarks Musto

Our successful collaboration with MUSTO, world leaders in sailing apparel, continues this summer. MUSTO’s marine expertise combined with over 190 years of our shoe-making heritage, delivers a concise range of high-specification sailing footwear. Laden with technical innovation to provide unparalleled grip, drainage, stability, underfoot feel and fit – this uncompromising collection is expertly engineered for top levels of performance, and has received extreme testing. Resolutely stylish – as at home in the harbour as it is on deck – the Clarks and MUSTO range of sailing footwear cannot fail to impress.

 

Brand new for SS16, Tri Lite is a super-lightweight performance sailing shoe. Engineered to offer superior comfort and underfoot stability, Tri Lite has strategically positioned, siped Rock rubber pads on the flexible outsole that will give unrivalled grip in wet conditions. Tri Lite utilises Clarks Aqua DX water drainage system – channels concealed inside prevent water from collecting – while the bold, antimicrobial Agion treated upper is quick-drying, and enhances the striking technical look of this agile sailing style.

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PostBlog Loving: Frey de Fleur

Catching a few rays of early spring sunshine, Freya of Frey de Fleur injects a twist of contemporary Parisian street chic to a style from our much-anticipated Clarks Christopher Raeburn collection.

Picked up as a Vogue preview for SS16, the collaboration fuses Raeburn’s urban utilitarian aesthetic with classic Clarks simplicity. Freya’s cute jacquard dress talks texture and works a chevron stripe, while her Raeburn Jungle Trek boot adds sports-luxe edge in delicious vanilla. It’s all about the detail in this everyday look – and Freya nails it.

BUY - Jungle Trek, White combi

SHOP - Clarks Christopher Raeburn

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PostClarks Does Kitchen Confidential with Tom Oldroyd

Pop into Oldroyd – London chef Tom Oldroyd’s eponymous restaurant – on a random Tuesday afternoon and you’ll find a hive of activity. Staff banter as they swing through, bookings for the evening’s service are being confirmed over the phone (all good), while Tom demonstrates how to make Malfatti, the little gnocchi-style dumplings he’s expertly fashioning in the kitchen.

We caught up with him over a cup of tea to chat about his passion for cooking, the stellar journey from a Guildford childhood via Venice and Soho to his own Islington joint – and why calm and comfort are essential for a chef.

Tell us a bit about your ‘chef’s journey’? I sort of, fell in love with restaurants when I was about eight years old. Our family friend used to take us to a posh hotel for New Year’s eve and it was silver service. I was very, very young and I just remember thinking, “Wow”.

I left school – maybe a bit prematurely – and went straight into working front-of-house in a hotel. Then I went travelling for a year and fell in love with food and the cooking of food. When I came back I decided to go to university, and I started cooking in the training restaurant there. I thought, right, if I’m going to open my own place I want to know how the kitchen works, so I’m going to become a chef and move to London. I got a job at Alistair Little on Frith Street in Soho – which is now Hoppers – and I worked there for 3 years, with Juliet Peston – a fantastic chef. I worked my way up through the kitchen, initially doing prep – a bit of peeling this and chopping that – and then I was making the bread and desserts. Soon I was running the sections, and towards the end I was the Head Chef. I was 21.

"I was always quite confident with it, but there’s always a bit of you that thinks, “I’m not fully trained to do it”. I wasn’t a trained chef, so no-one ever showed me the classic ways of doing things. But I was so excited by it that I just carried on going. I just went for it. "

While I was working at Alastair Little a couple of guys who used to eat there a lot got in touch, as they wanted to open a restaurant. That was Russell Norman and Richard Beatty of Polpo. I jumped at the chance – and it was a great experience. We went and did research in Venice and then we opened Polpo, a little Italian place on Beak Street. I was Head Chef and wrote the menus. 

Over five years we opened nine restaurants – including another Polpo in Covent Garden, Spuntino, which is like an American diner, and Mishkin’s, a Jewish deli. It certainly kept me on my toes!

I ended up having about 100 chefs working with me, and it became time to step back a little bit, hone it in and do my own thing. That was always the plan. We’d opened Polpo Notting Hill and we’d written the book, the Polpo cookbook. By that point, I’d done my bit.

So tell us about Oldroyd. The restaurant has been described as “One of the best new openings of the year“, and “The neighbourhood restaurant we all wish we had” – does it feel like that to you? It does. After Polpo I took a year out to decide what to do. There was that pressure to do something different. But what I realised was different was what people weren’t doing – I think the classic restaurant was missing slightly.

So, in July 2015 we opened Oldroyd on Upper Street, Islington. I love Soho – that was my playground – but this restaurant works better here because we have a lot of residents. We get a good mix of locals and people who travel to us as a destination – we’re quite close to the City, so we get city folk rocking up in a black cab!

It was quite instinctual to develop my own style. I’d always cooked Italian food, loved Italian food, that’s what I’d always done – but swaying slightly to French, and slightly to Spanish, was easy. It was the food I liked eating.

And is it still about the food for you? Yes, it’s the most important thing. What do they say, ‘You go for the food but you go back for the service’? Which is kind of true – the look of the place is really important, and the feel, and the service is really important. But the food is number one.

When we met your fiancée Meryl (presenter & entrepreneur, Meryl Fernandes) she mentioned that you wanted to create the kind of place you’d like to eat in? Yes. When we first met, I think one of our first conversations was about restaurant lighting! She’s been hugely involved – she was the one who made it happen. It was all our own money going into Oldroyd, so we wanted it to be ours, to put our look and stamp on it. 

We both wanted blue for the interior. And we love plants and we love wood, and I knew I wanted the banquettes around. Meryl put it together – she had the look set in her head, and I trust her absolutely.

We did it on quite a tight budget. It took about two, three months to get it open. All the parents and friends, everyone had a paintbrush. I got tennis elbow from painting this room! My Mum upholstered the chairs, and me and my Dad put the kitchen in. I drew it all out and measured it and measured it again. It was satisfying when it was done, but stressful!

The light fittings (from Flos, designed by Michael Anastassiades) – I think they were the first thing we ordered and they turned up on the day of opening. So everything was ready to go but we had no lights!? We stocked up on candles just in case, but the lights turned up and the customers were coming in as the electrician was finishing them off. 

So do you collaborate on menus with your team? Oh absolutely. We all chip in. I love designing and building kitchens, and I love designing menus. So those two together for me, it’s great. You’re always learning – I’m still learning now, all the time. The chef here teaches me stuff and hopefully I teach him stuff. When I first started out I didn’t have time to eat, I was just cooking all the time, but I visit a lot of restaurants and eat out a lot now.

And do you source locally? Our suppliers help write the menu too, because we’ll give them a call, they’ll call us weekly, and we’ll test what’s good. We use British everything as much as possible – there’s a lot of really interesting British charcuterie that’s happening, so we use all British charcuterie, and all British cheeses because I think they’re great. I cook now about three times a week so I can keep in touch with how the kitchen’s working and how the restaurant’s working, and who’s eating what, why and when.

How do you describe your kitchen style? We have a very relaxed atmosphere – well it has to be, it’s all open! There can’t be any screaming and shouting. I think it reflects in the food. I think you can taste whether something’s been cooked with confidence or not, or what a chef’s mindset is while they’re cooking – if they’re nervous, or tense, or angry.

I don’t think there’s really a place for sweary shouting, I’ve never worked like that. A kitchen has to be a really disciplined place – it’s quite dangerous, there are knives, there’s hot oil – there’s no messing around. We’re a good little team, there are about 15 of us. We had our first staff party a few weeks ago with a bit of karaoke – great fun. We’re a bit of a family here.

And what about your everyday style? What’s important to you? You’ve chosen a pair of Chilver Hi GTX from our SS16 men’s collection? What is it you like about them? Comfort’s important – I’m on my feet a lot. I could be in the kitchen, I could be running around town, I could be running up the road to buy lightbulbs! So, comfortable shoes, all of it is quite comfortable generally. Actually I wear my jeans in the kitchen, and just a T-shirt and an apron. Anything quick, easy and casual.

I love a boot – I wore a pair of boots for quite a while, every day, and put a hole in the bottom – I wore them out basically! That’s quite me if I find something I like. I like this boot, it’s a clean look. I don’t particularly like fussy stitching or anything – however I do love a brogue. But I thought, why not a boot? I like the Chilver Hi, it’s clean, smooth, not too much detail.

"I love a boot – I wore a pair of boots for quite a while, every day, and put a hole in the bottom! I like the Chilver Hi GTX, it’s clean, smooth, not too much detail."

So what are your plans for the future? More restaurants? Absolutely at some point, but we’re not thinking about it at the moment. We’re seven months old here, I think we’re up and running now – and we’re having a great time! I’ve been really, really pleased – we’ve had great reviews and local feedback, plus we’ve got a great team and we’re building great menus. At some point we’ll definitely look at something else. But we’re not in a rush.

I have always been quite focused with everything – I worked constantly growing up. And I enjoyed it. I wanted to learn as much as possible, so if I wasn’t working I’d be reading. Or on my day off I’d be watching Food Network all day, or shopping – I just surrounded myself with food. Thinking back to that posh hotel with our family friends – it was like a theatre, I loved the show of it all. I fell in love with it then. And I still feel that way now. My life took a path and I feel very lucky to do what I love doing every day.  

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PostBlog Loving: Being Erica

Metallic is having a moment – recent celebrity bridesmaids Lizzie and Georgia May Jagger both chose a delicate silver laced pump for their mother’s wedding, while silver shimmered down the runway for designer brands Gucci, Givenchy and Prada as they looked ahead to SS16.

Blogger Erica - of Being Erica – finds our silver metallic leather T-bar Taylor Palm a natural choice to add momentum to a monochrome outfit. Flattering and a touch retro fused with futuristic, Taylor Palm ticks key style boxes. 

Erica’s right – a T-bar does make the leg seem longer, emphasised by the slender cut and almond shaped toe. Easy to wear, this flat creates impact and elevates your everyday look.

Make like Erica and run a silver streak through your transitional spring wardrobe - gorgeous pink locks optional...

BUY - Taylor Palm, Silver leather

SHOP - Womens Flat Shoes

 

 
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PostKai & Sunny – Whirlwind of Time

Artists, collaborators and Clarks Originals obsessives Kai & Sunny recently opened their latest exhibition Whirlwind of Time at the StolenSpace Gallery, London. Past collaborations for the pair include prints for Nike and Alexander McQueen, while one of their first commissions was for the cover of the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

Mitchell has written an exclusive short story for a Limited Edition artwork in the exhibition, and the packed opening night attracted a visit from Levi Maestro, in town for a few days to film the installation for his online show, Maestro Knows.

We caught up with Kai to chat through the artists’ process, projects and inspiration.

Tell us a bit about both your backgrounds? You met at art school – what made you work together as a partnership?

When we graduated from Epsom School Of Art I went to work for Mo' Wax Records designing record covers under Ben Drury and Sunny went off to work as a print designer at the clothing brand Maharishi. A few years later in 2003 we reconnected and decided to start working together. We started a fashion label called Call Of The Wild and had a small studio on Hoxton Square.

It was all very step by step, but when we were approached to create the cover for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell things started to change and other commissions came in. The label was doing well at that point and things just seemed to go from strength to strength. There was no real master plan, things just happened and the timing was right.

Talk us through your work. It's nature-inspired yet highly graphic and geometric. Where do you find your inspiration?

Our inspiration mainly comes from nature but having a graphic background it makes sense to us to abstract and make our work geometric. We both grew up in the country (Kai is a Somerset boy) so maybe this is why we gravitate towards nature. However our work isn't necessarily about nature, but we use it as our foundation and to connect. Our work deals with subjects based on time.

Our images somehow balance the serene with the intense or the fragile with the stable. All landscapes excite us. We often look at water for inspiration and this feeds back into the passage of time theme.

How does your working process actually work? Do you work on pieces together or individually?

We always work on pieces together and discuss as we go. We've been working together for 13 + years, so have our routine down. 

Some of your commissions have included collaborations with brands such as Nike and Reebok, designers like Alexander McQueen and book cover commissions for David Mitchell. Have you found them satisfying projects to work on? How does it work to bring concepts together?

We really enjoy collaborating and we find interesting results can happen. Most recently for our current show we collaborated with David Mitchell author of Cloud Atlas.This is a longstanding collaboration and one we are very proud of.

Originally we were asked to create his book covers and a few years later we asked David if he would write a short story for one of our art shows in response to the works. Recently we've collaborated with Element Skateboards on four decks with the concept of Wind, Earth, Fire, Water. Sunny and I are both very interested in skateboarding and the theme fits our work.

"I believe when collaborating a lot of trust is involved from both sides to get great results. There's a certain amount of risk so it needs to feel right - there needs to be a fit or a relationship between both parties, and certainly trust and mutual respect."

How do you choose your materials and processes and how have these evolved over time? Is there a distinctive development behind you / that you see going forward – or does it just happen organically?

Our work over the 13 years of working together has changed a lot and we have grown and developed our process during this time. In the earlier days our work was much more graphic and bold shapes but over the years we have refined this. Our work has become much more linear, using single lines to build up layers using ballpoint pens. It's a very methodic and controlled process. Our work has become very detailed however each line has its individual place. It makes you use only what is needed. 

So your new exhibition Whirlwind of Time is at StolenSpace Gallery in London. You've also exhibited in the US – New York, San Francisco and LA – do you have any favourite locations?

We've enjoyed all of our shows and each show has enabled us to work on the next. It teaches you to try new techniques, try new ideas. Having the opportunity to show in LA at Shepard Fairey's gallery was awe-inspiring. We learnt a huge amount from that show and applied that in our New York show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. We couldn't have created our current show at StolenSpace Gallery in London without the previous ones. They are all as important as each other.

Tell us a little bit about Whirlwind of Time – the new work, themes and processes behind it?

Whirlwind Of Time is about the passage of time. The works explore the turning of tides, changing weather and time for reflection. Our pen pieces are built up with hundreds of lines which creates a tension inside each piece. The images are delicate but as a mass of colour and shape they feel powerful. It's a slow methodical process and perhaps that leads into the theme of time somehow.

What about future projects or ideas…? Do you think the same themes of nature, time and reflection will still continue to inspire you?

I believe so. These are areas that inspire us. I feel we are just touching the surface.

 

One final word – yourself and Sunny are massive Clarks Originals fans and have been expertly wearing our Clarks Desert Boot and Desert London styles. What is it about them you love so much?

I've worn the Desert Boot for as long as I remember. I think as a piece of design they are just perfect. Great handcrafted quality combined with simplicity. Form meets function at its best.

 

BUY - Mens Desert Boots

BUY - Desert London

SHOP - Clarks Originals

Photography by Stuart Grimshaw of Pennleigh © Stuart Grimshaw/Pennleigh Ltd. 2016

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PostHardy Amies to Tulik Edge

Our archives are an amazing legacy of shoemaking expertise that still inform what we do. For over 190 years we have pioneered ground-breaking design and innovative technology while celebrating the experts whose skills we depend upon.

Legendary British fashion designer Hardy Amies was best known for his official title as dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II. Amies was also instrumental in pioneering modern British menswear. His contribution to men’s fashion helped define a decade that still shapes how the world understands British style.

Amies was appointed as Design Consultant for Clarks men’s division in 1962, heralding a hugely influential period of design. Archive imagery tells tells a story and plots a clear stylistic course to some of this season’s men's styles.

Contemporary design is constantly evolving to meet new demands. Taking SS16's Tulik Edge – a modern, unlined summer shoe with shades of Amies' signature clean lines and added sports influenced peforations – what we consider as workwear is surely also up for discussion. An unlined, deconstructed suit with traditional pin-striping is certainly smart enough for work, yet with sporty cuffed hems and a drawstring waist, it's relaxed enough to carry on into the night. 

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