PostCYBER WEEKEND – OUR BLACK FRIDAY DEALS!

 CYBER WEEKEND AT CLARKS IS HERE!

We’re offering 20% off ALL Adults Footwear and Bags from Thursday 24th – Monday 28th November, to give you optimum time to make your decision and grab a deal at clarks.co.uk. And for the first time this offer even includes the bestselling Clarks Originals products, so it’s an offer not to be missed.  

Enter BMERRY16 at the checkout to receive the discount on your purchases all weekend!

 And why not check out the Editor's picks for Cyber Weekend?

 

The Desert Boot

Without a doubt one of the longest reigning and most iconic silhouette that Clarks have ever produced, known the world over. An understated design that has come to be pairable with any type of style or outfit. A classic Black or Sand Suede is ideal for both men and women, or maybe a premium Taupe or Dark Tan which are new for this season, wearable with virtually anything.

 

The Gore-Tex® Trigenic Flex

A world first. Gore-Tex® and waterproof trainers on the Clarks Trigenic Flex three-part sole unit. The all-black colourway look particularly on trend at the moment and are wearable with anything, in any weather, it’s a no brainer…

 

VIEW - ALL Footwear

VIEW - ALL Accessories

 

 

**This promotion entitles you to 20% off any full price Adults footwear, including Clarks Originals, as well as handbags, purses and wallets, in store or online at www.clarks.co.uk. No cash alternative is available and this promotional code/voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code, but can be used with a valid free next day delivery code. This offer excludes Kids. This offer is available for Home Delivery, Collect from Store and Collect+. When ordering online you must enter the promotional code ‘BMERRY16’ at the checkout. To claim your discount in store simply quote our promotional code ‘BMERRY16’, show the cashier your 20% off email on your mobile phone or by printing this page. This offer starts on Thursday 24th November 2016 and ends on Monday 28th November 2016 at midnight. This offer is not redeemable at factory stores, discount outlets, Wholesale retailers or any other Clarks store outside UK. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

 

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PostCYBER WEEK – WEDNESDAY’S DEALS – 20% off Adults Shoes

Enter BGONE at the checkout to receive 20% off Adults shoes!*

 

Is there such a thing as too many pairs of shoes? Not in our opinion. Brogues, heels, trainers, casual and formal for men and women, all available with 20% off today. Ideal for wanting to stock up on gifts for the festive period or just to treat yourself.

Clarks shoes 20% off banner
 
 
 
*This promotion entitles you to 20% off any full price Adults shoes in store or online at www.clarks.co.uk. No cash alternative is available and this promotional code/voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code, but can be used with a valid free next day delivery code. This offer excludes Kids, Clarks Originals, Adults Boots and Adults Sandals. This offer is available for Home Delivery, Collect from Store and Collect+. When ordering online you must enter the promotional code ‘BGONE’ at the checkout. To claim your discount in store simply quote our promotional code ‘BGONE’, show the cashier your 20% off email on your mobile phone or by printing this page. This offer is valid on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 and ends at midnight. This offer is not redeemable at factory stores, discount outlets, Wholesale retailers or any other Clarks store outside UK. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.
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PostCYBER WEEK – TUESDAY’S DEAL – 20% OFF GIFTS

Enter BNOW at the checkout to receive 20% off all Slippers and Bags today!

 

With lots of presents, delicious food and festive décor to buy, we know it’s an expensive time of year. But before the main event, we’ve got a few daily deals that may help in ticking a few things off someone’s wish list. Maybe the perfect arm accessory? We’re offering 20% off bags for today only.

And what about slippers? Back in 1825, the Clarks story started with the slipper, the Petersburg, and just for today, we’re also giving you 20% off all Adults slippers.

 

 

 

 
 
*This promotion entitles you to 20% off any full price Adults slippers or handbags, including purses and wallets, in store or online at www.clarks.co.uk. No cash alternative is available and this promotional code/voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code, but can be used with a valid free next day delivery code. This offer excludes Kids. This offer is available for Home Delivery, Collect from Store and Collect+. When ordering online you must enter the promotional code ‘BNOW’ at the checkout. To claim your discount in store simply quote our promotional code ‘BNOW’, show the cashier your 20% off email on your mobile phone or by printing this page. This offer is valid on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 ending at midnight. This offer is not redeemable at factory stores, discount outlets, Wholesale retailers or any other Clarks store outside UK. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.
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PostCYBER WEEK – MONDAY’S DEAL – 20% OFF ADULTS BOOTS

Enter BHERE at the checkout to receive 20% off all Adults boots today!

Clarks put an unimaginable amount of love and consideration in to every pair of boots they design and make. Clarks boots really are a true testament to our expert shoe-making craftsmanship and attention to detail. A culmination of 190 years of passion and expertise in shoe-making.

So if you’re a little late to the party when it comes to buying your new pair of winter boots this season, the time is now.

We’re offering 20% off all boots* for TODAY ONLY, so get looking at what’s on offer. Just in time for the festive season -  choose from Chelsea to Biker, to knee high and high heeled, fit-for-purpose Gore-Tex® and winter walking, there’s pretty much something for everyone. Have a look the blog’s Boot Diary or the website’s Top Ten Boots for Women or Top Ten Boots for Men to help make an informed decision.

 

 

* This promotion entitles you to 20% off any full Adults boots in store or online at www.clarks.co.uk. No cash alternative is available and this promotional code/voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code, but can be used with a valid free next day delivery code. This offer excludes Kids and Clarks Originals. This offer is available for Home Delivery, Collect from Store and Collect+. When ordering online you must enter the promotional code ‘BHERE’ at the checkout. To claim your discount in store simply quote our promotional code ‘BHERE’, show the cashier your 20% off email on your mobile phone or by printing this page. This offer is valid on Monday 21st November 2016 and ends at midnight. This offer is not redeemable at factory stores, discount outlets, Wholesale retailers or any other Clarks store outside UK. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.  

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PostWEATHER. BEATEN – WOMEN’S

Women's waterproof boots that deliver the perfect balance of function and form this winter. Clarks have worked to deliver a range of boots that have been specially crafted to protect you from the cold and wet, whilst helping to create a perfect winter look.

A highlight in the collection is Tri Aspen, a perfect winter-sport-luxe-style combination...

 

This luxurious warm-lined, pull-on boot has a quilted upper that makes this boot stylish and contemporary as well as cosy.  There’s a beautiful combination of technical and natural fabrics that reflects the key looks of the season. A Rock rubber outsole ensures grip for optimal outdoor usage.  Cleating, grip and toe protection have been cleverly built into this outsole which has the sports inspired signature Trigenic sole geometry.  A leather tab makes for easy on/off as well as adding subtle craft detailing.

 

 

 

These winter boots blur the boundaries between performance and lifestyle. Outdoor sneaker boots fuse comfort with modern constructions by combining lightweight sports style soles with the protection technology.  Fur and sheepskin lining soften the profiles and give them a luxurious and cosy feel.

 

SHOP - Tri Aspen GTX

SHOP - Womens Gore-Tex ® Boots

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PostWeather. Beaten.

Mens waterproof boots that deliver high quality function as well as form this winter. Sealed seams, Gore-Tex®, warmlinings and heavy duty outsoles are combined to combat the elements.

 

This winter, Clarks delivers a range of boots specially crafted to protect you from the cold and wet whilst ensuring style.

For men the Johto Rise GTX® is a strong sportswear-influenced style that gives a modern urban edge to the classic Explorer boot.  Premium waterproof nubucks are combined with Italian winter fabrics and progressing fastening systems for something that is stylish and functional.  Details are added in highlight colours.  The sole has an archive inspired razor tooth edge and the heel is crafted with a layered veneer detail combined with a durable EVA sole and underfoot Ortholite comfort.

 

 

Featured across the whole Clarks winter collection is Gore-Tex ® technology that ensures shoes are fit for purpose. Waterproof and breathable, keeping feet at an optimum temperature no matter what the conditions are...

 

SHOP - Johto Rise GTX

SHOP - Mens Gore-Tex® Boots

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PostGore-Tex trainers – the waterproof Trigenic

Waterproof, Gore-Tex trainers from Clarks Originals. Introducing the Trigenic Dry – the original silhouette re-imagined for the purposes of winter.

A waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex® lining, water-repellent suede uppers offer protection from outdoor elements and newly designed Vibram® outsole delivers improved traction, for stability underfoot. All while retaining the 3-part decoupled look of the original Trigenic Flex. Available in classic and versatile black and dark grey.

SHOP - Trigenic Flex

SHOP - All Gore-Tex®

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PostA winter boot breakthrough – The world’s first waterproof Desert Boot

Introducing the world’s first waterproof Desert Boot - a true innovation in the world of winter boots for men and women.

 

It's the 1st November, so take the essential steps to winter-proof your wardrobe, starting with waterproof, Gore-Tex enforced Desert Boots. And with free next day delivery on all Gore-Tex styles on the Clarks UK website, what better excuse do you need to order some of these today? Use code BGTX16 at the checkout.

 

Clarks-Originals-Desert-Boot-Goretex

 

Clarks’ most iconic style re-imagined and re-engineered to provide as much function as it does form. 100% waterproof protection and climate control, whilst retaining its unmistakable silhouette.

The traditional crepe sole is subtly transformed in to a slip-resistant rubber sole that has the look of crepe rubber, but is much more suitable for wetter conditions.

Suede uppers from renowned English tannery Charles F Stead, which has been protected with a hydrophobic treatment to help resist watermarks.

 

 

SHOP - Desert Boots

SHOP - Clarks Originals

SHOP - All Gore-Tex Styles

 

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PostClarks Originals X BEAMS Collaboration

Tokyo heritage brand, BEAMS have collaborated with Clarks Originals to re-release the iconic Desert Trek Hi. In two colourways, the Clarks classic sand suede, as well as a BEAMS ink inspired, navy suede.

BEAMS-Clarks-Originals-Collaboration-Desert-Trek-Sand
BEAMS-Clarks-Originals-Collaboration-Desert-Trek-Navy

Starting as a small store in the Harajuku district in Tokyo, BEAMS has grown into a significant retail brand in Japan. To celebrate their fortieth anniversary, the two brands have come together for the resurrection of the iconic Desert Trek Hi.

Keeping the style's original profile, it comes complete, of course, with the signature trek man on the back of the heel, embossed in to tan leather. Not to mention the specially designed leather fobs, unique to this style, to mark the forty year celebration.

BEAMS-Clarks-Originals-Desert-Trek-Hi-on-foot
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PostMen’s Boots: The Clarks Originals Winter Pack

Authentic, winterised interpretations of the brand’s most famous icons with a street-appropriate look. The Winter Pack, the third product package to drop for AW16 from Clarks Originals...

In a pared back palette of wintery dark grey. An extra-long knap ‘hairy’ suede upper is combined with 100% sheep wool linings. Available in the Desert Boot, Wallabee boot and Trigenic profile.

mens-winter-boots-wallabee
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PostWomen’s boots: The Clarks Originals Winter Pack

Pioneering authenticity for women's winter boots, with the latest Clarks Originals product package to drop for AW16...

Back with their third product package of the season, Clarks Originals introduce The Winter Pack for women. A truly winterised interpretation of the brand's three iconic silhouettes - the Desert Boot, the Trigenic and the Wallabee.

 The suede has once again been sourced from UK-based tannery, Charles F Stead, in a premium black.

Uppers are complimented by a 100% sheep wool front and ankle collar, creating an authentic yet seasonally practical look - warm and fit for winter...

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PostCLARKS ORIGINALS X END. DESERT COAL ‘BLACK DIAMOND’

 

Specialists in luxury men’s style and premium streetwear from all over the world, END. has worked with the Clarks Originals designers to create ‘Black Diamond’...

 

 

A chukka boot, inspired by the industry that helped shape the North East of England, home to the retailer’s flagship store.  

Crafted from coal black leather and suede supplied by Charles F. Stead - the Leeds tannery that has been supplying Clarks Originals for more than six decades - Black Diamond utilises both sides of this premium double-faced bovine leather.  The upper of this unique collaborative style has been made using a Clarks Desert Boot last and is combined with a Desert Trek wedge sole. Three eyelets, veg tan fobs silver stitch detailing and a woven heel loop are among the finishing touches.

 Clarks Originals' work with END. is the latest in a line of successful collaborators. To view more of the work that Clarks Originals do with other like-minded brands, visit their website clarksoriginals.com.

To view stockists of Black Diamond click here

 To visit END. Clothing's website, endclothing.com/gb/

 

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PostTHE BOOT DIARY – WEEK THREE

Date: 14th October

 

Chukka Boots

Although it is not 100% known, the name Chukka, is said to be derived from the seven and a half minute period of play in a Polo match – a Chukka or Chukker – historically meaning ‘circle’ or ‘turn’. Originating in India and popular amongst the British Army unit’s off-duty Polo players, the boots made their way to America around 1924 on the feet of the Duke of Windsor, who’d previously visited India and partaken in games of Polo.

The Duke wore the shoes regularly when back in the States, encouraging the style to eventually become a staple item in a man’s wardrobe.

A classic Chukka Boot comes to just above the ankle, is plain toed and is fastened with two laces and two or three sets of eyelets. Usually made from just a single piece of calfskin suede leather with thin leather soles.

Introducing Chilver Hi...

It's also believed that the Chukka Boot is what began to spark Nathan Clark’s original inspiration for the Desert Boot, too. Which has a similar shape and construction, but has that unmistakable crepe sole to set it apart. Still as popular and highly regarded now, as it was then.

 The styles have kept up with the times too; now available in many different colours and materials, from high street to very top-end retailers. Two timeless boot profiles that show no sign of diminishing, worn perfectly as both casual and dress boots.

 

VIEW - Chilver Hi GTX

SHOP - Mens Boots

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PostSIMPLE. IT’S COMPLICATED.

 

Othea Ruby – a perfect embodiment of the love and consideration that Clarks give to their shoes. This boot has been shaped to perfection, a true testament to Clarks’ expert shoe-making craftsmanship and attention to detail. It takes a lot to be this beautifully simple...

With an ankle hugging top, a sleek back curve and an elegantly curved block heel, which provides comfort as well as the illusion of height. Sophisticated leather stacking on the heel appears alongside a stitched, high-sheen rand that contrasts with the casual upper leather in a rich brown, that have been hand burnished and will age beautifully. A super thick, almost wooly, elastic panel at the side ensures that it is taut enough to perfectly hug the foot, whilst a suede sock adds extra cosiness.

 
 

 

The full Clarks range of women’s winter boots is the culmination of 190 years passion and expertise in shoe-making. All of the season’s most desired silhouettes are executed with ultimate skill, every stitch in every design has a purpose...

 

VIEW - Othea Ruby

SHOP - Womens boots

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PostFOR REAL.

It takes a lot to be this beautifully simple. Although it might not look like it, this ultimate Men’s boot, Korick Rise, is actually made from an impressive ninety seven component parts. Premium pull-up leathers, a stitchdown construction and heavy duty outsoles are all kept looking perfectly simple, for a true expression of authenticity. Gore-Tex® lining ensures the boots are perfectly weatherproofed, waterproofed and climate controlled.

The inspiration for the style came from the original 'Americana work boot', in distressed Tobacco leather, with highlight colours to add interesting yet discreet detail. Not only stylish and easily worn with many different looks, but genuinely fit for purpose, wearable throughout the whole of winter to keep feet warm and dry - all evolving from a hand-carved wooden last.

 VIEW - Korick Rise

SHOP - ALL Mens Boots

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PostINTRODUCING: Clarks X Christopher Raeburn – Season Two

 

Introducing the AW16 collection of the Clarks and Christopher Raeburn collaboration. Following on from the success of the first collaboration in SS16, this collection is centred around the theme of Mongolia – one of the last truly wild places on earth, a land where the quest to combat the elements has inspired a unique culture of handwork and re-using materials.

Combining craftsmanship, pioneering spirit and passion for detail, we see this Mongolian spirit and inspiration pulled through to each member of the range.

 

For Women

 

The Shiliin Ava is a key style for AW16 taking inspiration the Mongolian Mukluk boot, originally made to withstand savagely cold temperatures. Contrasting materials demonstrate Clarks x Christopher Raeburn’s response to the challenges of winter as well as showcasing an intricate and eye-catching design.

The boot consists of three distinctive layers, with a rubber sole rand, a complimenting leather front and a soft grey felt back. Shiliin Ava is laced with durable brown cord through D-rings and lined with a warm ornamental quilt.

 

 

 

The Shiliin Ali also has a three-part construction, this time featuring a characteristic strap made from herringbone webbing; a signature detail of Christopher Raeburn’s AW16 apparel.

Both styles also feature a reversible insock. One side is a warm wool felt, perfect for cold weather, while the other side is a comfortable leather, ideal for warmer days. The inspiration came from the functional insocks found inside military Mukluck boots, which could be removed and dried by the fire.

 

 

 

For Men

 

The Trigenic Scale’s design inspired by Mongolian leather armour, features include a winterised interpretation of Clarks’ unique Trigenic sole and a removable Italian wool inner bootee bonded to lycra for a stretch fit. Plus a hand-assembled and stitched upper made from elk skin, sourced from sustainable herds.

 Christopher Raeburn says: “I’ve been really encouraged by the way the collaboration with Clarks is developing; the dynamic in the design process has allowed us to produce a range of footwear that brings a genuinely new aesthetic, a unique blend of materials and a healthy balance of functionality”

 Launched in early 2016 at London Collections Men and London Fashion Week, the collection is now available internationally. Click here to view the rest of the collection.

 

 

 
 
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PostTHE BOOT DIARY – WEEK TWO

Date: 05th October 

 

Premium Leather Boots 

 It's always the right time to invest in the best quality boots. If you're looking for something to last you even longer than you'd ever need them to and to withstand, well, just about anything, then you've come to the right place.

To fit that brief we've given Melanie An GTX a spin. A simple, versatile design. Strong, premium leather and with waterproof Gore-tex® technology, ensures that those home - office - bar days, come cold, rain or shine, are completely covered...

 

Browse a wider edit of this season's best quality womens boots and mens boots on the Clarks website. 

 

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PostIntroducing The Boot Diary

 

If you’re sat looking at the date and thinking, ‘How is it October tomorrow?’, you certainly aren’t alone. I swear it was only last week we were writing about festivals…

This time of year divides us: those who cling on to every last inch of the summer, denying that winter will ever come back. And those who fill their social media feeds with ‘Hello Autumn’ posts, while declaring their love for woolly jumpers, dark nights and open fires…

If you’re the latter then you obviously can’t wait to start shopping for winter boots. And even if you’re a slave to the summer, it’s inevitable that you’ll need some winter warmers eventually. So why not start here? Clarks’ 190 years of passion and expertise in shoemaking really shines through when it comes to their boots. Their craftsmanship and attention to detail never fails to create each and every pair just as special as the very first. From the unique hand-carved wooden last that begins every boot, to the most premium materials, fastenings and detailing.

Each week throughout autumn and in to winter, the Clarks Editors will be pulling out their recommendations of the autumn range’s best styles – from casual, transeasonal styles to winterised Gore-Tex and beyond. Keep up to date with The Boot Diary for new season picks, to embrace whatever winter brings your way…

 

SHOP - Womens Boots

SHOP - Mens Boots

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PostClarks Originals: The Women’s Autumn Pack

Styles for Women also make up part of the Clarks Originals Autumn Pack collection. Not just the iconic silhouettes, including the Desert Boot and the Trigenic, but the Women’s wedge Wallabee also joins the line-up, along with the more recent Phenia Desert and brand new profiles Athea Terra and Phenia Strand. Available in rich colours such as Dark Tan, Bronze, Nut and Khaki - shades inspired by Somerset in the Autumn.

Athea Terra

 

 

Desert Boot

 

 

 

 

Autumn Pack Look book

 

 

VIEW - Clarks Originals

Visit clarksoriginals.com

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PostAW16: Clarks X The V & A

 

Clarks’ long reigning history in footwear design and manufacture stands up above many other brands across the world. Our original design ethos and sense of style, is what continues to attract collaborators including some of the most highly regarded names in the business. The V & A, the world’s leading museum of Art and Design, are back for their third product collaboration with Clarks. This time, the range takes its design inspiration from the 1970s. Combining influences from archive designs, with fashion influencing films of the time, such as ‘The Sting’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’- combining the movies’ Art Nouveau and Art Deco stylings with a kaleidoscope of colours.

The range is made out of four designs, all available in many different colours. Two heeled and two flat styles make up the range, silhouettes that reference the era’s fashionable loafers and t-bars. The inner lining of all the styles has been expertly selected by the V&A, a print designed by English artist and designer, Claud Lovat Fraser. Originating in the 1920s, Lovat Fraser’s original print was re-issued in the ‘70s to capture the decade’s zeitgeist.

The Women’s range, led by stacked heel style, Cass Day, is an example of faultless fusion of both Clarks and V&A DNA. Inspired by the Clarks Originals Wallabee profile with its moccasin construction, nature form last and butt seam.

 View the rest of The V&A styles on the Clarks Website.

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PostClarks Originals: The Men’s Autumn Pack

 

The second product package of the season from Clarks Originals, the Autumn pack, sees the three iconic silhouettes - the Desert Boot, Wallabee and the Trigenic Flex, be enriched with the colours of Autumn leafs. Deep nut browns, forest greens, bronze and copper leathers and suedes, that have all been made in the UK by the Charles F Stead tannery.

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PostSeptember Work Wear Picks

It’s hard to believe we’re talking back to work, back to school, and all those things that September brings already, isn’t it? Before we’ve even had a chance to wear in our Summer sandals we’re talking Boots, Brogues and Courts for Autumn in the office. If you’ve been lucky enough to have a long Summer holiday, September may feel like a bit of a shock to you - early morning alarms, darker nights, and, talk inevitably turns to the next big milestones: Halloween, Bonfire Night, and of course, Christmas.

Luckily we’re not quite there yet. Focusing on the months in between for now, let’s turn our attention to something a little more fun to think about, an Autumn/Winter Wardrobe. Rich colours, thick jumpers, multi-layering, boots – it’s the highlight of many women’s clothing calendars. But why should updating your Winter wardrobe stop at casual wear? September is also the time to invest in some go-to office footwear staples, too – from dressed up days to casual Friday favourites, desk to bar bests, the Blog has an edit of the key styles to look for this season, to keep your working days feeling as good as your weekends. And who knows, new footwear essentials might just help to keep those back to work blues away…

 

 

Dressed up days

Barley May, Dinah Pixie and Barley Rose – designed with the key trends of the season in mind, 70s influences run through these styles that are ideal for the office. Mid-height heels in rich, Autumnal colours, Cushion Soft and Cushion Plus technology in all three, makes them perfect for all day, every day style and wearability.

 

 

Formal Flats

Androgynous styling continues to rule in to this Autumn. Glick Darby, Taylor Spring and Griffin Mabel are ideal footwear accompaniments to a man-tailored office look. Simple style, that will effortlessly take you through to post-work drinks, dinner and even the weekend…

 

 

Casual Friday

That go-to pair of Boots is an essential to look out for every time Autumn strolls back around. Everyone needs that, go with anything, wear anywhere pair. Taylor Shine and Phenia Desert are just two suggestions ideal for that all-rounder requirement. Dress up, dress down, team with jeans, skirts, leggings, cullotes, tailored pants, tights, dresses, you name it. Similarly with Balmer Bella, the same rules apply. A go-to shoe with a small heel for an effortless nod to a smart or casual office look.

 

SHOP - All Women's Heels, Women's Boots, Women's Shoes

 

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PostTRIGENIC EVOLUTION

 

Building on the successful inception of the Trigenic Flex in 2015, Clarks Originals come back with a fresh update to the Trigenic profile. The original low-rise sneaker is transformed in to a mid-height, hybrid boot for Autumn.

Staying true to the unique Trigenic Flex technology, this product also has the iconic three-piece sole underfoot. Designed to the anatomy of the foot, the sole bends naturally where the foot bends, allowing it to move as if it were bare.

The Trigenic Flow adopts the original Trigenic’s Moccasin upper, as well as the decoupled Vibram sole unit. Its veg tan leather in-sole naturally molds to the shape of the foot throughout time and wear, for a real personalised fit and feeling.

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PostWhatever the weather winners – ideal styles come rain or shine

 

August. A month to look forward to. A month that usually sticks in your mind as one that’s gloriously warm, bringing with it everything wonderful that we associate with the British Summer.

But also a month that can be somewhat unpredictable when it comes to weather. Glorious wall to wall sunshine one day. Wet, windy and positively miserable the next.

Then, of course, some days when you get intermittent bursts of both. We've all experienced leaving the house in open-toe sandals, to only two hours later be greeted by the wildest rain storm this side of the Caribbean.

Plans helplessly teeter on whether or not the sun will shine. And, undeniably, the weather will always have the final say on your choice of outfit.

Choosing the right clothes and shoes when the weather’s like this is really hard - even if it’s pouring with rain it’s still warm, usually too warm for heavy coats and winter boots. In the last few years we’ve seen warm yet unpredictable weather stretch all the way in to October, which, undeniably, makes for three tough months of rather precarious dressing. You can’t predict if you’re going to get it right every day, 9 times out of 10 you don’t, but you can proof yourself for every eventuality of weather. 

Here to help with that, is our Blog's pick of whatever the weather winners. Styles to see you through the changing seasons, come rain or shine...

 

 

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PostClarks Originals X LE FIX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Never strangers to partnering with a like-minded brand, Clarks Originals have collaborated with Copenhagen-based LE FIX. Known for their love of art, their creative freedom and unmistakably Scandinavian style, they’ve re-imagined the iconic Clarks Desert Boot, and the latest innovation, the Trigenic Flex, channeling their individual style, through our classic silhouettes.

 

A LE FIX makeover sees the Desert Boot re-imagined in a forest green with vibrant red detailing. The Trigenic Flex emerges in a combination of petrol suede and full-grain navy leather, again with the LE FIX signature red detailing.

 

 

 

To view current stockists of these products, click here

To visit the LE FIX website, click here

 

 

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PostConnie Constance for Clarks Originals

 

 

To celebrate the creative spirit that inspired crafted innovation, Trigenic Flex, Clarks Originals have collaborated with one of music’s freshest new talents – the singer, songwriter and sonic landscape artist, Connie Constance. In a series of short films co-conceived, choreographed and sound-tracked by Connie, the young Londoner wears Trigenic Flex in black nubuck.

As unique as Connie’s vision, features of Trigenic Flex include a foot- shaped fit delivered by an asymmetric profile, deconstructed uppers and a revolutionary, de-coupled, three part Vibram® sole that flexes with the foot’s natural movement.

 

Shop Trigenic Flex Black Nubuck

Follow Connie on Instagram: @itsconniesworld

 

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PostIcons: Trigenic Flex

 

In the six and a half decades since Nathan Clark first wrote home about his idea for the Clarks Desert Boot, over ten million pairs have been sold in over 100 countries.

The latest Clarks Originals icon to make its debut is Trigenic Flex. Asymmetric, ergonomic and idiosyncratic, its unique design merges past with present to deliver a future classic.

 

 Explore Trigenic Flex

SHOP Clarks Originals 

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PostIcons: The Wallabee

The first step in crafting Clarks Originals is choosing the materials. From leathers and suedes to soles made from crepe or state-of-the-art Vibram, every component is hand-picked.

The Clarks Desert Boot, the Wallabee®, the Trigenic Flex. Their distinctive silhouettes set them apart. So too do the finishing touches that combine craftsmanship and innovation in equal measure. 

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PostThe Women’s Graphic Pack

Imagine putting the fob of a Wallabee down on to a piece of paper and tracing around the outside. Then imagine the shape that you’re left with on the page when you lift the fob up. A collection of straight, curved and perforated lines. And this is exactly what inspired the Clarks Originals In house design team to create the pattern for the Women’s AW16 Graphic Pack...

 

Applied to our three iconic silhouettes on black suede, we’re greeted with a unique and striking, but subtle application of design, instantly recognisable as a Clarks Original.

 

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PostClarks Originals AW16 Introduce: The Men’s Graphic Pack

First in a line of product packages being released throughout Autumn, we present to you, The Men's Graphic Pack.

Inspired by paint splatters found on art college floors, in a mixture of grey, blue and red, this design delivers a style with striking, original detail. Mens shoes available in the three icons: the Desert Boot, Trigenic Flex and the Wallabee.

Known for their originality as a brand, Clarks Originals continue to take design inspiration from the most abstract places, ensuring to maintain their, nearing 191 years, of convention defying footwear. 

 

 VIEW Clarks Originals Graphic Pack styles

 
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PostWelcome to the Future

The Athleisure movement is showing no proof of slowing down this season. So we’re ready to enter Autumn with a truly innovative product range that ticks all the boxes...

 

Think, the most impressive combination of form and function, shoes that deliver so much more than just a layer between you and the ground.

Shoes that don’t just look incredible, but shoes that actually enhance you - improving the way your feet move when you walk, as well as increasing gait stability naturally.

This is down to the unique Clarks Originals Trigenic sole. A footwear design and technology found nowhere else on the planet but here. Remember these from last Summer? Well our new styles have borrowed the Trigenic Flex sole DNA – constructed in to three flexible pieces instead of one solid one. The grooves in the sole are placed exactly where the feet naturally bend the most, flexing to the same degree as the foot, providing the ideal level of support where they need it.

Two styles storm in to the lead for us this season. At the height of the Clarks Sports-inspired range, you’ll find Triken Active for Men and Tri Abby for Women.

Triken Active

The most up to date, technical fabrics give the style a real athleisture feel. Mixed leather and mesh material uppers make the product lightweight, breathable and, conveniently, an effortless match for any sort of outfit.

EVA soles are light but durable. And offer cushioning for comfort and support, when and where it’s most needed.

 

 

 

 

Tri Abby

Offers a modern take on the classic court shoe. So even with its athletic style it still ensures femininity. Leathers are smooth, premium, but above all lightweight and flexible. Snake skin texture on the toe and laser etched detailing on the sides offers a beautifully subtle lift of detail to the style.

 

 

In true Clarks manner, these new styles has been made with the most impeccable attention to detail, expert craftsmanship and pioneering innovation. Welcome to the future...

 

 

Check back to Clarks.co.uk next week for the official concept launch and further product information. 

 

 BUY - Triken Active

BUY - Tri Abby

 

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Post2016 Awards – including Drapers Consumer choice of the year

During the Drapers Footwear awards evening on 30th June, Clarks proudly picked up the Consumers Choice of the Year award. The award with a difference, voted for solely by the consumer. 

Keely Stocker, editor at Drapers, said: “These awards are a must attend event for any fashion retailers and brands working in fashion footwear to celebrate the best of the footwear industry. Whether you sell shoes, boots, sandals, trainers, flip-flops, wellies, court shoes, brogues, stilettos, comfort shoes, slippers, ankle boots, shoe polish or insoles, The Drapers Footwear Awards are a chance to celebrate and reward the best of the best. Winners should be so proud of their achievements, standing out in a highly competitive crowd.”

 

'Clarks is the UK's best Footwear Retailer':

Earlier this year, Clarks was also presented with one of Verdict Retail's 2016 Customer Satisfaction Awards for Best Footwear Retailer of the year. Global research director at Verdict Retail, Maureen Hinton explains: "What these retailers have in common is a powerful determination to get the rules of retail right and deliver for customers.These awards are awarded by the shoppers, not the industry, which makes the recognition far more valuable for all award winners."

 

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PostWomen’s Casuals: July Favourites

Come rain or shine, the return of July means Summer Holidays. It’s a varied old time when the weather’s concerned, and whatever you get up to, no two days are the same. Holiday or not, Kids or no Kids, work or relaxation, sporting or spectating, we’ll all be up to something. That’s why we’ve chosen our favourite casual picks for July, to see you through, whatever the weather, whatever the activity.

 

 

Tri Abby

 As Ath-leisure proves its longevity and popularity, our casual, everyday range continues to be heavily influenced by this trend. Tri Abby leads the way, borrowing the Sports inspired look from the ever popular Trigenic Flex. Adopting its light and flexible construction, it's also cushioned for superior comfort. The shape of the shoe also encourages natural movement. Ideal for on the go plans that don’t stop coming…

 

 Glove Echo

Never doubting the beauty and versatility of the plain white pump, this one really does go with anything. Crisp white leather complements a tan heel loop on the back that adds a subtle uniqueness to the style. Also available in black, tan and playful metallic silver.

 

 Coll Amoure

Part of our Autumn Pre-Collection, this slip-on cupsole adds a jazz to any outfit. Spotty print on a snakeskin leather, with a soft flash of pink around the ankle that adds some femininity. Cushion Plus technology means endless comfort, perfect for weekend day trips.

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PostMen’s Casuals: July Favourites

Come rain or shine, the return of July means Summer Holidays. It’s a varied old time when the weather’s concerned, and whatever you get up to, no two days are the same. Holiday or not, Kids or no Kids, work or relaxation, sporting or spectating, we’ll all be up to something. That’s why we’ve chosen our favourite casual picks for July to see you through, whatever the weather, whatever the activity.

 

 

Triken Active

As Ath-leisure proves its longevity and popularity, our casual, everyday range continues to be heavily influenced by this trend. Built like the Trigenic Flex, this product delivers optimum comfort, while technical, breathable upper material and a lightweight EVA sole enhances natural foot movement. Ideal for long, busy days.

 

 

 

 

Trigenic Flex

The epitome of form and function, the latest in a long line of Clarks icons. The Trigenic Flex was engineered to support natural foot movement with a sole that’s been crafted in to three pieces, to support the foot where it moves and bends. Not only does it deliver this hidden benefit, it has a super sleek aesthetic. With its side profile catching eye of street wear enthusiasts all over the globe. The go-to for all day wearing with an up to date edge.

 

 

 

 

Desert Boot

The timeless classic, the go anywhere and do anything. From the deserts of Cairo to the main stage at Glastonbury Festival, this one has done it all. No matter where you’re heading or what you’re supposed to be doing, the Clarks Originals Desert Boot would never let you down. Its simple design will compliment your own individual style. Dressed up or down it’s a winner, every time.

Discover more Desert Boot style history here.

 

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PostFrom Tonnes to Timeless: The Capsule Wardrobe

Migrating attitudes towards buying are becoming less about having everything, and more about investing in timeless pieces that carry you through the years, any season or trend. Versatile, easy to wear and always relevant.

Often imitated but never bettered, the Clarks Originals Desert Boot is as relevant now as it always has been. Effortless, seasonless style, recognised the world over. 

 

 

As versatile as they come, this classic profile has represented individuality for the last 65 years. Through major cultural movements, where style and music have gone hand in hand.  From the British mods, to the Jamaican Rude-boys, Rock and Roll greats past and present - the Desert Boot has served them all. A capsule wardrobe great.

 

BUY - Clarks Originals Desert Boots

 Visit clarksoriginals.com

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PostStepping back: A busy year for Clarks Originals

 

In anticipation for a season of fresh collaborations, the blog takes a look back at what Clarks Originals have been up to this past year...

 

STUSSY

Storming it with some real acclaimed partnerships recently, Originals can boast a catalogue of well received product collabs throughout 2015 and in to 2016. Kicking things off with Stussy. Founded in the late 80’s, Stussy have redefined the look and ideology of casual wear, with a brand as renowned and recognised today as it was then. Stussy clothing, like the Wallabee itself, has been adopted by skaters as part of a world-recognised streetwear wardrobe.

 

 At the end of 2015, two new Wallabee shoes were born, to mark nearly 50 years of the Wallabee, and 35 years of Stussy. In a true Navy and a Harvest Gold, the suede was made in England by Charles F Stead, an Ostrich leather collar and gold tipped laces, complete with Clarks Originals X Stussy co-branding on the fob and interior of the shoe:

 

 

 6876

 Founded in 1995 by influential designer Kenneth Mackenzie, 6876 is an internationally acclaimed and highly sought after label known for its functional and modern approach to menswear.

They created a four-piece range, two Desert Boots and two Desert Treks, one leather and one suede of each. Coloured in the most sophisticated shades - premium grey and navy suede, and black and brown leather, made using only the highest standards of craftsmanship. 

To accompany this collaboration, they created a video entitled Dérive, that honours the shoes that have been loyally referenced by 6876 since its inception 20 years ago. Kenneth Mackenzie said,

 “The basis of the film was a rejection of what seems like an epidemic of laboured youth cultural references and signifiers within the creative and fashion industries. The dérive is the first step toward an urban praxis, a stroll through the city to understand the ‘psychogeographical articulation of the modern city’1... A simple way to reclaim the urban environment. The result, a film created within the 20th year of 6876 and the 65th year of the Desert Boot with a collaborative partner Clarks Originals, and a series of shoe styles that were loyally worn at the outset of this journey. In honour of this it felt necessary to create a stripped back, contemplative Year Zero aesthetic.”

 

 

 THE ATMOS TAKEOVER

On the 12th February 2016, Atmos – one of the world’s biggest sneaker boutiques in Tokyo, was taken over by Clarks Originals, unveiling their newest innovation, the Trigenic Flex.

The style dominated window displays and poster sites throughout the city. While the Atmos building was wrapped with Trigenic Flex graphics on every side, standing out from one end of the famous Shibuya shopping district to the other. Inside, sneaker enthusiasts, musicians, artists and entertainers congregated to celebrate the coming together of Clarks Originals and Atmos. 

 

 

 

 

 

GOODHOOD

"Interesting, but totally easy to wear"

Started in 2007, Goodhood is an award winning multi brand retailer selling over 200 brands across menswear, womenswear, lifestyle and cosmetics. Championing a vision of effortless life style and redefining the idea of luxury living, their curational buying ensures every product has a story and relevance to their ethos.

A perfect match for Originals, who, as a brand, boasts a long and interesting heritage in the footwear market. Goodhood have taken one of the most famous Clarks Originals profiles, the Wallabee, to create two new designs. Goodhood co-founder, Jo Sindle, grew up wearing Wallabees through the British Acid House era and it was a shoe he loved. They focused on staying true to the original in their design, but wanting to update it with sympathetic details that were inspired from music videos of that era. 

 

Visit the Clarks Originals website to find out more. 

 

BUY - The Original Desert Boot

BUY - Trigenic Flex

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PostLost in Music – The Clarks Festival Edit

 

It’s hard to deny that through the power of social media, the rise of the popular weekend city-festival, hand in hand with the increasingly savvy attendee, has meant that festival fashion is as apparent, exposed and crucial as ever, with a huge amount of festival-revellers now admitting that the days of taking just the “I don’t mind if this gets ruined” members of the wardrobe are certainly over. Key looks, outfits and costumes are organised and agonised over weeks in advance, with just about everyone wanting to get the look just right. The festival has been transformed in to a main-stage of style know-how. Fields of glittery, sequin-filled faces, beautifully clashing with colourfully indiscrete outfit combinations - shiny uniqueness, a playground for ultimate iridescent freedom…

And currently we’re seeing Somerset gear up to host the biggest festival in the world, and Clarks, being based a just a mere eight miles from the Glastonbury Festival site, finds it almost impossible to not be influenced by the festival in one way or another. Along with the beautifully unique and magical personality of Somerset, helping to define Clarks’ brand spirit and personality – embracing those unexplainable feelings of joy and freedom, what it is to be you and being unconditionally comfortable with that.

So whether you’re counting down the days until Glastonbury or holding out until Bestival - whether it's the type of festival that plays no music at all, whether the weather is good or bad, all festival-goers will know only too well, you always need that perfect pair of good weather shoes on hand as well as your old faithful wellies. And there’s no need to compromise on style, or indeed comfort, when it comes to the perfect festival shoes – we all know just how crucial it is to tick both boxes.

If it’s to start your packing, or simply just to channel the trend, we’ve pulled together an edit of festival-ready footwear to see you through the whole summer...

The Women's Edit:

1. Coll Island - Fuschia                               

2. Hexton Glitz - Ice  Blue                     

3. Desert Kiltie -  Black                 

 4. Ledella Trail - Grenadine

 

5. Zelby Zest - Metallic                           

6. Cabaret  Scene - Tan                     

7. Desert Boot - Light Blue                

8. Marina Ramble - Mushroom

 

Buckles, studs and tassel details = instant edgy, festival detail staples. Flats in zesty shades, clashing-colour prints and glittery metallics, with chunky profiles and dual density cushioning - ideal for dusk-to-dawn dancing. Browse the full Cabaret collection for more festival footwear inspiration.

And all hail the Classic Desert Boot - spotted on famous feet nearly every summer. Easy to wear, versatile and unique, nails classic festival style every single time.

 

The Men's Edit:

1. Brinton Craft - Tobacco                       

2. Gosling Step - Multi colour               

3. Wallabee - Leaf                                   

4. Desert Boot - Brown

 

 5. Trigenic Flex - Teal                               

 6. Pennard Strap - Tan                                       

7. Gosling Walk - Grey

 

The most authentic Originals profiles couldn't be more ideal for festival season. The Desert Boot and the Wallabee both have a long-standing reputation, deemed as relevant now as the day they were designed for. Demonstrating casual yet impeccable style know-how, they're perfect for all types of festival. Plus they only get better with age, so they'll thank you for how much you'll end up walking in them...

Elsewhere look to thick stitch-down detailing, tobacco-tan leathers, loud, multi-colour canvas, cup soles and slip-ons for laid back, easy wearing.

 

So get the look, dance all night and love every minute. Celebrate freedom, enjoy the things you love. Feel good and look good doing them. Get lost in music, and embrace some Somerset magic...

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PostSomewhere In-between: Introducing the AW16 Pre-Collection

 

Although something still relatively new to Clarks as a brand, the concept of a ‘Pre-collection’ actually has a long, interesting history in the world of fashion.

Also known as a ‘Resort’ or ‘Cruise’ collection, the concept of the pre-collection was something that began in America. A line usually produced by high-end designers, in-between the expected twice-yearly spring and autumn collections.

 

After recognising this gap in the market, the ‘trans-seasonal’ wardrobe was born. The demand for beautiful, exclusive pieces, perfect for luxurious holidays to tropical climates were in high demand by the designer's richest clients. Jetting off to corners of the world that required a suitcase full of summer clothes, when the stores at home were filled with fur and winter boots - hence the coining of the name, ‘Resort’ collection.

These pieces would also usually be designed using shapes, colours, detailing and prints set to be big in the coming season. This uniqueness and exclusivity gained the designs a lot of attention and demand among the masses, resulting in other brands creating cheaper, replica pieces to stand up to newly derived demand – thus, a trend is born.

 

The idea of borrowing trends from a future season to wear now began to catch on amongst clothing designers and retailers. Clarks, maintaining their trail-blazing spirit, have just launched their third pre-collection line since AW15. This season’s boasts a selection of perfect summer silhouettes – wedding heels, holiday sandals, flats for warm office days as well as casual weekend run-arounds – ideal for now, but with enough style longitude to step you seamlessly in to autumn, and more importantly, your winter sun holiday.

 

The pre-collection range is always designed with a future season twist, adopting key colours and prints set to be big. Ideal for those wanting to keep ahead of the curve this season and in to the next. Just start counting those compliments - don't say we didn't warn you...

 

SHOP - Pre-Collection and New Arrivals

 

 
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PostPrint it: Gemma Kay Waggett

The story behind our brightest Spring Summer collection yet!

Designers at Clarks are always on the hunt, in any shape or form, for new ideas and inspiration. When attending a graduate show in 2014, one of the Clarks team spied the work of this particular designer. Introducing Gemma Kay Waggett, a 29 year old Textile Design Graduate and Colour and Material Print Designer from Stroud, Gloucestershire.

 

Moving to London when she was 18, Gemma attended prestigious London Art College, Central Saint Martins, as well as The Royal College of Art, where she completed both a BA and MA in Textile Design. Alongside this Gemma boasts an impressive list of previous employers, such as Damien Hirst, Giffords Circus and Selvedge Magazine.

Clarks brought Gemma to their HQ in Street, Somerset, where she was handed the task of designing a series of materials for a collection in the SS16 Women’s range. Interestingly she began her process by looking for inspiration around Clarks HQ, specifically seeking out unique, interesting shapes and patterns to help form her own ideas. It was important to Gemma that her work told a story about Clarks, and had a real significance to the brand. To develop the print for the sandal collection, Gemma took the individual pieces of a deconstructed Desert Boot, the Clarks brand’s most famous icon, to create a beautifully striking, colour block graphic, that has an abstract feel when applied to the shoes.

We caught up with Gemma to find out more about her design process and experience of working with Clarks – with just a little bit of time left over to find out some more about her, too!

 

So, Gemma, after being given the task of designing prints for Clarks, where did you start for inspiration?

I like to think that my eyes are always open. The main door at Clarks’ reception was one of the first things that I noticed when I came to Street, and it stuck with me as I started to think about the design. I’m just a collector of information - images, objects or snippets of material that may work their way into a design at some point.

Do you use any specific techniques to create your designs?

I work both by hand and digitally to explore and develop my designs. For the SS16 collection my designs have been screen printed, digitally printed, bonded, laser etched and laser cut - I care a lot about the careful execution of techniques. As well as refined material choices and colour selections.

 

Did you have a good experience of the design process while working with Clarks?

It’s been great to work with and learn from the footwear designers as well as the colour and trends team at Clarks. An invaluable insight into the industry and the production of shoes!

 

How did it make you feel when you saw your shoes in store for the first time?

It was so fun to see them nicely stacked up and merchandised in the windows. It made me feel super proud. I think it’s great that Clarks are working with emerging designers like me, and are investing in developing original patterns and colour palettes that are ownable and exclusive!

How will you personally be styling your shoes this summer?

I mostly dress head to toe in navy and denim. So I’ll be wearing the sandals with painted toenails and denim dresses, Dungarees and jeans all summer long. I think they could also look good with block colour socks, too!

Bold, daring and undeniably desirable, Gemma’s collection will be sure to catch your eye. Available in store and online from 16th May. Find out more about Gemma Kay Waggett on her website: gemmakaywaggett.com

 

BUY - Romantic Moon

SHOP - Sandals

 

8+

PostClarks Unicef

Clarks began in 1825 as a family alliance between two brothers, so we get the power of working in partnership.

Since 2008 Clarks UK has joined with UNICEF, the world’s leading organisation for children and child rights, to help fund educational projects through our shoe donation campaign, ShoeShare. There are ShoeShare drop-off points in more than 500 Clarks stores nationwide plus Clarks HQ, and any unwanted shoes collected are sold on to third parties with minimum wastage – up to 99% are re-used. All the money raised by Clarks UK goes to UNICEF education projects around the world to improve facilities, train teachers, help children go to school, and ensure girls and boys are offered the same opportunities. One example scheme is UNICEF’s School in a Box kit – a lockable box that contains essential supplies and transforms anywhere into an educational space with enough resources to teach 40 children.

Clarks Director of European Merchandising, Philip Jackson, became Clarks UNICEF ambassador two years ago to ‘own’ the relationship and act as advocate for UNICEF’s work in more than 190 countries which aims to help every child reach their full potential. He believes the partnership between Clarks and UNICEF is a ‘natural fit’ due to a shared focus on children’s welfare plus a global outlook and longstanding credibility. “It’s really important that we make a long-term investment – we work together with UNICEF to create a framework for education projects that are genuinely useful and create long-term development and benefits”.

Philip’s ambitious targets for the partnership included a ShoeShare campaign re-brand at the end of 2014, and for Clarks to break through the £1m barrier for fundraising – an amazing objective that has recently been achieved.

Opening up his journal, Philip shares his experiences on a November 2015 trip to The Gambia to see the work of UNICEF on the ground.

Sunday 15 November A funny day, full of apprehension before the trip. Did normal family things – swimming lessons, maths homework – and in the afternoon, played with the kids outside. After tea, I said my goodbyes and set off for Gatwick. After a slow journey I arrived ready for an early night and an early start – the adventure begins!

Monday 16 November After a fitful sleep full of normal hotel noise and anticipation the alarm finally went off at 4.30am. Quick shower then dressed, packed, and a short walk to the terminal.

After check-in there wasn’t much time before we were called to the gate for our flight to The Gambia which turned out to be packed! A mixture of locals returning home, holiday makers and a few randoms like us. One of the crew spotted me writing an email about UNICEF so we had a good discussion about the work and the country. Apparently the crew bring out suitcases of spare clothes for the locals and bags of sweets for the kids.

Banjul International Airport is a very small airport!! But very friendly and all the bags arrived and came out quickly. We were met by two UNICEF Gambia representatives and split into two white UN vans. It was a bit like being on the TV, especially when we had to pass through a Government checkpoint apparently introduced after the failed coup attempt in 2014.

After arriving at the hotel for a welcome drink and an opportunity to chat to the three other business representatives, we were taken over to UN House through tight security, which included surrendering our passports into the office of UN Gambia. We met Sally and Sarah who have fully organised everything for us. We had the opportunity to listen and ask questions which we did and then had a security briefing. The Gambia is classified by the UN as level 2 (UK/US is level 1, Syria is level 6).

Dinner was at Ngala Lodge, a hotel on the sea. It was all going really well until we were invaded by a swarm of white moths, literally thousands of them. We had to give up and leave – apparently it happens once a year about this time.

Tuesday 17 November The start of two days in the field. After a short delay of 30 mins – quickly learning Gambian style is a bit slow – we set off on a 4 hour journey to the country. The road was finished in the past couple of years so it's in really good condition. We stopped after about 2.5 hours to stretch our legs, buy some peanuts and have a look around. It was busy on the main crossroads to Senegal. Very interesting to see. We spoke to a 17 year old who has left school with basically nothing to do and just wants to go to England to try and make a life for himself – a clear reminder of why education and providing people with opportunities is so important.

After the short break, we set off again for the Central River region where the most deprived area was our stopover point for the night. Our first port of call was a community in the village of Mamourfana, to see 4+2 in action. The welcome from the community was amazing and to say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement. We all introduced ourselves, and members of the village explained what 4+2 was and how it had helped the community. They then had a little sing song for us which was fantastic. 

The 4+2 campaign focuses on promoting key household behaviours to prevent child illness. It is aimed at encouraging communities to practise handwashing with soap and running water, use of insecticide treated nets, exclusive breastfeeding and household water treatment. There are many causes of illness and death among children under 5, however poor personal hygiene, malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and limited practice of exclusive breastfeeding are among the leading causes in The Gambia.

After lunch we went to see a school – it’s amazing to see the kids so happy but they have so little. Even the well for water didn’t work anymore so the kids only had water from a standpipe but it was switched off at 5pm. I found this visit particularly moving – I think partly because I have kids of my own – but also because education really is what is needed, but it’s such a long term investment. UNICEF has been able to provide guidance on who the school needed to speak to to get the well fixed and prevent further damage.

After the school we went to a village that has eradicated open defecation. Gambia wants to be the first African country to eradicate it by 2017 and they are really close to doing so. The villagers were so thrilled to see us and so excited about telling us why it was such an improvement to their lives. This village was really poor, all substance farming and no money at all – but they were so proud of helping themselves.

Following an hour’s drive to the URR (Upper River Region) for a visit to hear about a programme called Toscar – all about women’s rights and female genital mutilation (FGM) – we made it to our final stop by dark. Dinner was in the local town. We ate in what can only be described as a shack, but the couscous was great and there was football – England vs France on the TV – all very surreal! 

Wednesday 18 November We were staying in a place called Basse which is right at the top of the country. Our first point of call was Basse hospital. There were some shocking sights – poor, poor children. This year is a bad year as last year’s harvest was poor (maybe food for 50% of the year, the normal average is 75%). Although quite a lot of the acute malnutrition comes from children contracting disease due to them playing in the same place that animals defecate. This gives them diarrhoea which causes them to lose all their nutrients and they don’t recover, hence ending up in hospital. UNICEF’s role is to provide the formula for recovery (+75/+100) and a recovery bar. They also work on the protocols and monitoring to ensure there are staff who work in the hospital that are basically trained. The hospital was the worst thing I have seen in my life – the conditions were horrendous.

After a couple more stops we visited a regional health centre where we spoke to the regional health controller. They have done such a great job with the CHN (Community Health Nurse) fraternity – we saw a CHN at our very first visit. UNICEF supports the CHN and especially the policy and practices they follow. At the health centre we also saw the immunisation store – immunisation is a big success story in Gambia, as the rates for immunisations are really high and it is seen as a positive thing to do. One problem they have encountered is that birth registration is low, so when people come for immunisation there is no record of birth. To overcome this they are simply putting together the two registration processes into one – sounds simple, but it’s a mammoth exercise to achieve it.

I think by the time our visits had finished, we were all really, really tired and were looking forward to getting back for a warm shower. We had a four hour journey to get back, which was pleasant – it’s amazing how quickly you become accustomed to your surroundings. It seemed so normal to see cows, goats and sheep wandering around the place and people walking on the side of the road. 

Thursday 19 November After breakfast we headed over the road to the UN house. Back through the UN security and in to meet the UNICEF team. We had about an hour’s debrief, asking questions, sharing learnings and experiences.

Then we were driven to a hotel about 30 minutes away where we were to have a brunch with the upstream partners of UNICEF – Government ministers and other NGOs. There were seven tables and we were all asked to chair a table and lead the discussion on the chosen topic. For me, it was Education. Some very interesting discussions ranged from meeting the NGO that created the mothers’ clubs and worked with UNICEF to implement them, to a discussion with the head of statistics for the Gambia.

As I write this I’m sitting in row 7D on the flight home, next to a retired vet from Yorkshire who has spent two weeks volunteering at a donkey sanctuary. The time has flown by and it’s been an amazing experience, one that has definitely made me want to drive UNICEF even harder than before. I have met some people who will stay with me forever, and hopefully some people who will remain friends. 

Help Clarks and UNICEF to reach even more children by donating your old or unwanted shoes at your nearest Clarks store.

Learn more about UNICEF at www.unicef.org.uk

Top Image © UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi - Children attend a UNICEF supported school in Malawi (School in a Box)

All Other Images © Clarks/Phillip Jackson 2016

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PostWe Meet Casper Notenboom: Clarks Product Design Intern

Clarks has always nurtured talent and passion for new design, so it’s no surprise when a fresh creative face passes through our door. Casper Notenboom, a Product Design student from the Netherlands recently stopped by for a one-off internship, arranged by his visiting lecturer and former Senior Designer for Clarks Originals, Marijke Bruggink.

Keen to promote industry links with design students and challenge perceptions of Clarks as a brand, Marijke set Casper a brief, then introduced him to the people and resources within Clarks to explore his ideas. “Casper has taken a very experimental route and gets the freedom to experiment here. I trust him with that,” she says. She believes such schemes can provide valuable insight for students from design schools all over the world.

We caught up with Casper for a quick Q&A on his projects and progress so far…

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a 4th year Product Design student studying at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, and I’ll graduate in June 2016. At 31 I’m an older student as I actually worked for nine years. When I was 15 I started work in the metal industry and was specialising in welding in the industrial sector – everything you can imagine that’s made from steel, I did! And when I was 24 I thought, “OK, now I have to go to school.” So, first I did industrial design and I was actually missing the creative part. Though I think the work I did in industrial design gave me confidence.

Were you always creative, even as a child?

Yeah, I was always building things – and I was also always outside looking at things. My mother says for example, in the park all the children wanted to go on the see-saw, but I was always looking at how these things work! She was always laughing about it…

So are there any particular products you’re interested in designing?

At art school you can choose to specialise, for example in accessories or furniture – indoor and outdoor pieces. But I’m doing a specialisation in materials. Because I like to believe I can design everything – not only shoes – I think materials is the best specialisation for me. I’m interested in the design industry as a whole and how products are being produced, so I think it’s important to understand materials in order to be able to design anything. I previously worked with Marijke on an assignment for Clarks where we had to design a shoe and a slipper, and she set up this internship for me because she saw the line between my work and Clarks.

What was your knowledge or perceptions of Clarks before?

I knew the classics like the Desert Boot, you know. And my perception was that the company was not that big. But the first thing I found when I came here was, “Wow, it’s so big!” And there’s a lot of knowledge here. I really like that Clarks has its own database of all its shoes – it’s really created a strong foundation, which comes from its long history I think. And it’s nice to see that it’s changing with time, you know. Some old companies stay with their old thoughts, but I think Clarks is trying to move with the times. And I think they have to, because the shoe business is hard if you don’t change. 

Can you tell us about any ideas or people you’ve worked with so far?

First I had a look around, so I’ve seen how they make the lasts, plus the 3D printing and all the machinery.  In the last-making department I found it very interesting that though the shoes are made by machines the lasts are still handfinished from the old shapes. So, I’ve been thinking about different materials and different ways to make a shoe. I thought maybe I need to look at different ways to make a last, to get ideas? So I made a different style of last. I’ve looked at the vacuum former and created a 3D print and then I’ve made changes to the last. I’ve also done a bit of construction because you have to see how things combine together.

It’s been great to work with Oliver Saunders, a Design Engineer working in the Children’s Product team who creates digital 3D models and 3D prints.* Also Graham Muttram, the Last Modellist, has helped me, and Paul Rees the shoemaker and Workshop Manager will ask, “How’s it going?” and I’ll show him my ideas and he’ll give me feedback.

(*Olly concurs: “Working with Casper is inspiring and fun. Coming from a welding and industrial design background he approaches shoe making in a different way to us, which is refreshing and sparks new ideas!”)

How has all this helped develop your thinking?

I find something interesting and my interest grows – for example in the lasts – it’s something that grows when you’re in a place like this. Next week it could be something else! It’s often the small things you learn that surprise you. It’s really experimental. But what I’ve also learned is the amount of effort it costs to get one shoe into a store. Clarks has let me see how much work it is to get the high quality – it’s really crazy! I always kind of thought, “I have a design,” and “OK, it’s a shoe, I’m gonna make this,” but now I’ve seen how much effort and how many people are working to get it into the store. It’s really surprising. It’s also made me start thinking more about leather and using other materials to make a shoe. I did a project for Clarks before and I went to a rubber factory – it was the biggest in Europe – and I made a shoe without glue using a vacuum former, so it was a real experiment. It was nice to make a shoe without leather but which had the same qualities. And Clarks is open for it, and open to ideas. What I like about Clarks is that you can get a lot of knowledge from its people, and when you’re inside the company they always want to help you.

I might go on to do some more shoe designs when I graduate – I have ideas for a series of products, so there might be a shoe in it!

You also did an internship in China – can you tell us about that?

I chose the internship in China because I wanted to experience the small studio, to see the difference between a small one and a big one like Clarks. It was at the Studio Henny van Nistelrooy in Beijing, and I was there for two months. The designer I worked with created interiors and furniture, but also within an exhibition space. He’d build it all up then see how people reacted when they came into a room, how they responded to the space. The whole experience was amazing, I’m definitely going to go back. I think it’s because it’s not that long in China that they’ve had the chance and money to express themselves, you can feel it – it’s like an energy. There are lots of opportunities. When you look at Chinese art, people are very curious about everything. I think it’s the time for them to get more open – a lot of students would work and cover what they are working on – but I think that’s the old way. You have to share your things. That’s what I think. 

What are your plans for the future once you graduate?

I’m definitely going to start my own business. Myself and a classmate, Lennart Bras, we have the same mind and way of thinking, so we’re going to do it together. We’re also going to graduate together, like a team. I really like working collaboratively, I think it’s the best way. Sharing ideas – it’s the new thing.

Specifically we want to work together with industries. For example we have some ideas for the packaging industry. They are developing such high quality materials, vacuum formed packaging – like blister packs. These can be so strong and hard to open, qualities you could apply to using them for furniture or maybe a small house for developing countries. So we are thinking about working together with some big companies.

I’d like to go to Beijing Design Week, or the Dutch Design Week or Italy. And I see myself maybe in the future, living and working in China…

What I like about Clarks is that you can get a lot of knowledge from its people, and when you’re inside the company they always want to help you. I might go on to do some more shoe designs when I graduate – I have ideas for a series of products, so there might be a shoe in it!

Photography by Stuart Grimshaw of Pennleigh © Stuart Grimshaw/Pennleigh Ltd. 2016 www.pennleigh.com.

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