Posts within ‘Beyond the Bootmakers: Guest Bloggers’

No Naff: Max Pearmain on Timberland

We’ve invited some of the most influential stylists, menswear designers and editors to share their thoughts about our brand here on the Bootmakers Blog.  Below, editor / stylist Max Pearmain tells us why he’s a fan.

I’m a big fan of Timberland because the brand has a core product that has a genuine street-led respect and foundation. The original designs are inspiring and actually quite aspirational in an alternative un-orthadox sense; i.e. they have a luxury streetwear element to them without feeling naff or too elitist.

Max Pearmain is the Menswear Editor of POP and is the Editor and Creative Director of Arena Homme +. He has worked with London designers including Martine Rose and Christopher Raeburn, and is a well-respected menswear stylist in his own right.

Beauty in the Eye of the Bootholder: David Hellqvist

We’ve invited some of the most influential stylists, menswear designers and editors to guest-write for us here on the Bootmakers Blog. Here’s David Hellqvist, Online Editor at PORT Magazine sharing his thoughts about the history and inspiration that came with his pair of Timberland Abington Work Boots.

Inspiration is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not exactly how the old saying goes, but it is equally true. Especially in all creative fields and when there’s a journalist (me) involved, interpreting and translating what we see, trying to reference pieces and themes, putting them in a context that I and others will understand. Hopefully.

That’s what happened when I first got my Timberland Abington 6″ Work Boots. In my eyes, the olive suede boots – 6013R if you want the proper colour code – were inspired by US army boots. It was something about how the suede mixed with the British Millerain canvas on the ankles that made me think of the USMC boots, worn by Marines all over the world. Clearly, the Abington appeared to a be a rarified version; the luxe Charles F. Stead suede, the white Vibram soles and subtle piping details made it obvious that this was a boot made for Hackney, not Hanoi.

Initially it was this connection that attracted me to the boots; all quality sportswear have elements of military utility details incorporated at one point. Why? The level of functionality and craftsmanship involved in producing military RAT gear (Rugged All Terrain) is superior. Take away all of the nasty and depressing downsides that comes with the military per definition, and you are left with one of the best sources of sartorial inspiration ever.

But. Having done a bit of research into the Abington 6″ Work Boot I soon realised that its humble beginnings was not a desert battlefield, but a mill in New England. The boot was modeled on the kind of protection gear workers “wore during their long, demanding shifts.” And that was it, my dream of wearing US Marine Crops boots shattered. But then it hit me; after army-influenced equipment, what’s the next best thing? What other category of professionals need and use hardened boots and state of the art protection gear? Workers, the people who gave us workwear!

The history and heritage of these workers go way back; mill towns and factory villages began developing in the Northeastern corner of the US from early to mid 19th century. Centered around New England, the factories manufactured steel products like saws, ploughs, cutlery, axes and guns, but textiles were also a big part of the production line.

It was the men who worked these factories who inspired my boots. And their need of footwear and clothing that kept them safe and dry is as an important source of inspiration today as any army gear, and rightfully so. There’s something noble about going back in time, looking at what honest blue collar artisans wore, and how that can be translated into a 21st century wardrobe. Having read about the factories, I’m fine with wearing New England mill-inspired boots. I can always pick up a pair of Delta Force boots next time around.

Kit Neale Talks Attitude, Style and Ray Petri

We’ve invited some of the most influential stylists, menswear designers and editors to guest-write for us here on the Bootmakers Blog. Below, London menswear designer Kit Neale explains his introduction to fashion, his obsession with Ray Petri and how the infamous 80s stylist influenced – and still influences – his work.

I was about thirteen when I first took notice of fashion. I was forced to relocate with my family from South-East London to a small naval town called Gosport on the south coast of England. Suddenly I felt like some kind alien in this town. It was a culture shock and I desperately sought to try and express myself through clothes.

There is an image I remember stumbling across in one of the few good magazines I had access to; on reflection this was probably i-D Magazine. The picture was of a man wearing a green MA1 flying jacket. He wore pristine Levi’s and Timberland boots, in what I later came to understand was a carefully groomed ‘Buffalo’ look. I tried and probably dramatically failed to emulate his style – I just never had the attitude.

The man in the image was Ray Petri – my ‘fashion hero’. Petri was a notorious stylist in the eighties who pioneered a group of visionaries under the Buffalo collective – I have been obsessed ever since. The images he creates are always prominent references to my work. For me, Ray Petri’s unflinchingly tough style epitomises something far beyond fashion. He captures an identity and soul through the way in which each garment is worn. I persist to achieve this one day through my own work.

I guess for Ray Petri the Timberland boot was essential in completing the classic Buffalo look. It is a style icon in its own right that transcends its own popularity as a design. I will never comprehensively understand how Ray Petri achieved such an enigmatic look as hard I may try.

Kit Neale's fashion hero Ray Petri. Photo from the book Buffalo: Ray Petri, published by PowerHouse books.