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Doc Martens (R. Griggs & Co.)

fashion dm’s boot adopted

Dr. Klaus Maertens of Munich, Germany, who created an air-cushioned, soled boot from a truck tire in 1945 after breaking his foot skiing, could never have imagined the fashion statement his boots would one day make. Dr. Herbert Funck, an engineer, helped Maertens perfect his boot in 1947 for commercial production in Germany. The hard-wearing utility boot with a Goodyear welted sole, which resists oil, fat, acid, petrol, and alkali, was transformed in 1960 into Doc Martens (or DM’s) through a licensing agreement with R. Griggs & Co. of England.

Since its inception, the company has gone through many incarnations. The symbolic association of Doc Martins began in the late 1960s when they were adopted by an early British skinhead group and became known as the “bovver boot.” As part of the skinhead uniform, DM’s became associated with aggressive urban males who advocated crushing the establishment. For over a decade DM’s were associated exclusively with violence and extreme bigotry; they were considered a “boxing glove for the feet.”

In the 1980s, Doc Martens were born again and became a universal fashion accessory. DM’s became popular with college students, both male and female, and were adopted as part of the traditional jeans and t-shirt uniform. New Wave musicians, such as Cyndi Lauper, popularized the pairing of DM’s with lacy skirts, providing a contrast between feminine and masculine symbols, a fashion that was disseminated through MTV. The once tough Doc Martens were now being made in floral and polka-dot patterns or with lace inserts in trendy, fashion colors. Simultaneously, Doc Martens while still being worn by skinheads and were also being adopted by gays and lesbians as symbols of strength to blur gender distinctions. The 1990s brought one more rebirth to Doc Martens when they became associated with the Grunge music movement in Seattle.

Doc Martens, once available only at English punk stores such as Red or Dead, are available at Kinney and Nordstrom. In addition to manufacturing 150 footwear styles in 3,000 versions for men, women, and children, Griggs manufactures a product line which includes sportswear such as jeans, t-shirts, leather jackets, and dresses. Once considered extremist or reactionary, Doc Martens have entered the collective consciousness, becoming the Levis of boots, paving the way for other utility boot manufacturers such as Skechers, Timberland, RedBack, and Simple to enter the fashion arena.

Doctor - Different Kinds ofs, Family Practices, Emergencys, Surgeons, Many Different Specialties, Behind-the-Sceness [next] [back] Dobzhansky, Theodosius

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