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Clarks uses WhatsApp to narrate the story of the Clarks Desert Boot

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Shoe retailer Clarks Originals is using the WhatsApp platform for a digital project that will bring the story of the Clarks Desert Boot to life for today’s fans.


‘From Rats to Rudeboys’ will provide a window into the experiences of three key personalities from subculture movements which adopted Desert Boots as unofficial mascots. Through a series of WhatsApp messages to the Desert Boot lovers of today, these people will send images, playlists, videos and messages which take users back to the cultural moments when Desert Boots were on their feet and rebellion was in the air.


Launching today, users will begin their From Rats to Rudeboys journey by being prompted to add a new contact number to their WhatsApp via teaser films on social media. The campaign will be introduced through the story of Nathan Clark:


Nathan Clark, The Original Desert Boot pioneer

On duty with the British army in Burma, Nathan Clark is a million miles from the tiny village of Street where his family’s shoe business is based. But when he comes across a deceptively simple suede and crepe boot which his fellow officers discovered in the bazaars of Cairo, he’s convinced it has the potential to be an icon. Back in England, his family is not so sure. Nathan’s is a tale of innovation and persistence. After being introduced to Clark’s story, users will meet Steve, Bruno and Stitch:


Steve Barrow, The Mods

In an era when modernist culture was flourishing in the UK, Steve would find himself at the heart of it. He was The Mod. He would go on to inspire the youth of his generation to embrace new music, and through his finely tailored tweed suits and the Clarks Desert Boots on his feet, to embrace fashion.


Bruno Barbey, The Enraged

In May 1968 Bruno Barbey, Paris resident and Magnum photographer found himself at the centre of a national uprising. Over the course of those few days he would go on to capture a series of photographs that would define a nation’s restlessness and encapsulate the spirit of rebellious youth, where protesting students wore Clarks Desert Boots on their feet.


Stitch, The Rudeboys

Stitch, reggae icon and head of a group of “rudeboys” called the Spanglers who were at the heart of reggae’s birth in 70s Kingston. At a time when status was king, every rudeboy in town had to own a pair of Clarks, interesting given that foreign imports were banned? The man left for England with a suitcase full of records, and returned with a suitcase full of Clark.

Published on Monday 30 March by Veebs Sabharwal

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