In bygone days of fellmongers, wool staples and malodorous public tanneries, brothers Cyrus and James Clark embarked on a shoe-making odyssey that would lift the Clark name well beyond its modest 19th century Somerset origins. Today, Clarks represents over 15,000 employees, a revenue of over £1bn and a worldwide market presence. Yet a recent rebrand of its current flagship shoe, known as Nature, aims to redefine the brand’s footing by pioneering craftsmanship as its key feature.
In a new campaign film produced by animation and production studio, BlindPig, sister company of Absolute Post, Clarks’ Nature begins a journey of transformation, blooming from its longstanding incarnation across the shoe’s 30-year history into a dynamic, slender new shape. Its outsole refreshed with a mahogany tinge, the upper mesh intricately balances a woven fabric with a leather overlay, a style seen rarely across the wider Clarks range.
The film showcases the vast technological changes undertaken to produce Nature’s new design, something BlindPig creative director, Ric Comline, believes is “sometimes overlooked.” Comline continues, “Clarks has been at the forefront of technological discoveries, 3D printing for 20 years now and pioneering trends such as the air-filled rubber sole, it was important for the new film to reflect this. The creative team at Clarks had a strong vision of what they wanted to achieve, so as creative collaborators, our job was to take that idea and translate it into a fully-formed concept and something visually captivating.”
Although Nature’s new form sheds light on Clarks’ future developments as a forward-thinking shoe manufacturer, the retailer’s innovation has often capitalised on the company’s British tradition. Characterised by trademark designs such as the Desert Boot, designed in the 1950s by Nathan Clark, the great-grandson of co-founder James Clark, and modelled after a popular unlined suede boot produced in Cairo bazaars, Clarks’ range of Originals revel in the heritage of wartime aesthetics.
The remodelling of Clarks’ Nature marks a step in the direction of modernity, yet as BlindPig’s campaign film conveys, the importance of the journey to achieve redefinition highlights creativity as an ongoing staple of the Clarks brand story.