Quintessential, timeless, and classic are the words that come to mind when one describes the Clarks Originals Desert Boot. Factor in seven decades of longevity, the list of superlatives that describes the dress casual boots stretches longer as Clarks Originals celebrates the anniversary of the iconic footwear.
At a delicate moment in time where everything hangs on a thread, the legacy of the Desert Boot reigns peerless given its continued relevance in a man’s wardrobe through the years. Rough suede ankle-high uppers once designed to keep out the sand and gravel now protect the feet of modern gentlemen from the elements as he pounds through concrete jungles, while natural crepe soles provide unparalleled comfort.
The inspiration came from an unlikely source – off-duty army officers – yet, the design mimics that of a rugged boot from Cairo’s Old Bazaar.
Till this day, every pair is made according to the exact dimensions designed by Nathan Clark. The Clarks Originals Desert Boot is distinctly original, fuelled by authenticity and creativity.
GENTLE BONES — Artiste, Songwriter, and Producer
Introduce yourself in 10 words. Making music that touched me when I was a kid. Describe the identity you have forged for yourself. I want to be on a closer level to the people I look up to. I strive to be the best in everything I do, be it as a singer, songwriter or performer on stage. Define a trailblazer. A person who is willing to venture into the unknown in anything he does, to find gaps and fill them even if no one is willing to.
What is the most memorable experience of your career so far? Writing music and performing in various countries to different crowds. Every live performance means a lot to me – making music in the studio is already so fun, but presenting to people is a culmination of my efforts. What is the toughest part then? Staying focused on the right moments for different aspects of my career, such as writing or performing music. Straddling the ups and downs in the music industry is an art form in itself.
Name a trailblazer whom you look up to. Matt Healy from the band The 1975. I feel he is one of the few men who pushed forward a new generation of music that represents the people. What do you hope to portray when people look at your trailblazing approaches to your career? My approach is discovering more of the unknown, to be able to inspire kids and show them different possibilities to approach life.
Clarks Originals is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Desert Boot. What do you like most about it? It is classic. It looks rugged but still manages to look formal, that is not something easy to achieve. I have been a fan of the brand for a long time. The Clarks Originals slogan is “We stand apart. Then. Now. Always.” How do you want to be remembered? For my music and for people to have had my music define a memory of their past, even if it is just for five minutes. What do you live for at present? I live for my family and those close to me as well as making more music.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind? To be remembered for my music like I said and have people’s past emotions tied to one of my songs. That is all I ask.
Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots; ISSEY MIYAKE MEN Cotton shirt, cotton T-shirt, cotton pants.
ALYPH — Artiste and Producer
Introduce yourself in 10 words. I always want to be ahead in everything I do. Describe the identity you have forged for yourself. I feel I have forged something that might be easy to follow, but in reality, pretty difficult to achieve. Define a trailblazer. Someone original, who everyone wants to be involved with, but he’s ahead of everybody else.
What is the most memorable experience of your career so far? Single-handedly reinventing the palette of the Malay music industry for my generation and generations to come. What is the toughest part then? Not to dilute my thoughts, ideas, and principles to make sure I am still the person with the same motivation when I first started doing this.
Name a trailblazer whom you look up to. Jay-Z. He once said, “You must never listen to somebody else’s advice because their way might not work for you.” That resonated deeply with me; that is why I look up to him. What do you hope to portray when people look at your trailblazing approaches to your career? I hope they do not follow exactly what I am doing but instead understand what I am trying to do – to expand the possibilities that are within the industry. They can try something different to push the industry boundaries further.
Clarks Originals is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Desert Boot. What do you like most about it? About these Desert Boots? I think they make you feel like you mean what you say when you say it. The Clarks Originals slogan is “We stand apart. Then. Now. Always.” How do you want to be remembered? As someone who made a great impact on music locally and regionally, at and during a time in humanity. What do you live for at present? I live for my family.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind? A bunch of dope music and children.
Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots; Sandro Cotton jacket, cotton shirt, jeans; Alyph’s own diamante necklace.
AXEL BRIZZY — Artiste and Songwriter
Introduce yourself in 10 words. Someone who strives to be the best version of himself. Describe the identity you have forged for yourself. An artiste that is versatile and is able to do different styles and genres of music. Define a trailblazer. Someone who would take every opportunity in front of him; he makes the best of what he does and excels at every single one of them.
What is the most memorable experience of your career so far? My performance during Shine Festival 2017 – I performed on the mainstage just before the headlining act to a sea of people. It was a great experience for me as a new artiste to showcase what I was doing. What is the toughest part then? Differentiating the real people from the fake ones and being able to keep myself in check, not getting over my head and losing focus.
Name a trailblazer whom you look up to. Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover). That man is multi-talented – he is an artiste, actor, and he even wrote his own TV series, for which he won a Golden Globe. What do you hope to portray when people look at your trailblazing approaches to your career? I want to inspire the younger generation; I can only get older every day, so I hope people look at me as an example of someone who is able to make things happen even though nothing was in my favour.
Clarks Originals is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Desert Boot. What do you like most about it? It is a versatile pair of footwear for the wardrobe; it matches with any outfit possible. Not to mention, it is light and comfortable as well. Clarks Originals slogan is “We stand apart. Then. Now. Always.” How do you want to be remembered? It is what the slogan says, I want to stand apart from the crowd doing things that are original and not the norm. What do you live for at present? My family. I hope to make my music that would be able to support them.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind? I want to be the best version of myself, to make the best of every opportunity – I want to leave no stone unturned and kick down every door.
Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots; MCM Worldwide Leather jacket, cotton pants; COS Wool sweater.
Photography Jeff Chang
Styling Manfred Lu
Grooming & Hair For Alyph Larry Yeo using Pat McGrath Makeup & Ouai Haircare
For Axel Brizzy & Gentle Bones Rina Sim using NARS & Kevin Murphy
This story first appeared in the April ’20 issue of Men’s Folio Singapore.
The Clarks desert boot campaign featuring Alexander Skarsgaard can be viewed here.