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Clarks and New York: Soles of the City

Clarks and New York: Soles of the City

Clarks Originals celebrates its connection to New York City with the release of a short film titled, “Clarks and New York - Soles of the City,” which explores the rich and meaningful relationship between the brand’s iconic Wallabee and the cultural fabric of New York over the past fifty years.

The short, directed by Set Free Richardson, features first-person accounts from cultural icons such as April Walker, Ronnie Fieg, Futura, Dave East, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, as they describe their introduction to the Wallabee and how the classic Clarks style became synonymous with hip hop in its most formative era.

Tracing the emergence of the brand’s relevance to its popularization among Jamaican immigrants arriving in the US during the late 70s and early 80s, the film goes on to illustrate the deep-rooted connection between the sneaker-alternative and the formation of new communities defined by resilience and forged identity. First introduced in 1967, the Wallabee has an enduring legacy and ties to many different sub-cultures and countercultures throughout its history.

“I love where it’s going. Fashion-wise it’s definitely never going to die, it’s always going to be a premier shoe to wear on any occasion. It’ll always be the most comfortable shoe” - Smoke DZA

The first people I remember seeing wearing wallies was the jamaicans and old skool cats from my hood.

The first people I remember seeing wearing wallies was the jamaicans and old skool cats from my hood.

While hip hop established itself as more than just an underground phenomenon, the Wallabee became the uniform for artists like Run DMC, Slick Rick and KRS1 who wanted to stay true to the genre’s Caribbean diaspora roots. The 90s saw an explosion for the style in New York and on the hip hop scene, largely thanks to the adoption by Staten Island’s Wu Tang Clan.

“To us, culture and community have always been at the center of the Clarks brand,” says Clarks’ Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer Tara McRae. “We’re proud to be celebrating the rich history the Wallabee shares with the iconic city and across music, fashion, and art.”

Full Cast Listing

Ghostface Killah / Raekwon / John Seymour / Ronnie Fieg / Futura / Smoke Dza / April Walker / Styles P / Dave East / Statik Selektah / Danie Sierra / Bahr