In today’s fast-moving world, you either withstand the test of time, or fade listlessly away as a fad. Here is a name that has remained faithful to its customers, as well as serving a fresh generation of eager hipsters and style-seekers.
I first read about Dr. Martens from the YA book series Gossip Girl, where the prequel novel titled It Had To Be You brought my attention towards one of the characters. Vanessa Abrams, depicted as the bold, artistic rebel, stood out from her prim Upper-East Sider peers with a shaved head and of course, her trusty Dr. Martens boots. Her dare-to-be-different persona fits in perfectly with the identity of the brand, as well as the sub-culture that ultimately catapulted it to cult status.
Dr. Martens had its humble beginnings in the form of one Klaus Märtens, a German doctor who injured his leg in a skiing accident. He fashioned for himself a pair of boots that would hasten his recovery, and thus marked the start of the Martens name. The brand found itself a hit amongst housewives as well as the likes of policemen, factory workers to name a few, for its no-frills, sturdy design worked great for their respective jobs. Then in the ’70s, the punks and skinheads embraced the leather boots – and so the cultural shift of Dr. Martens began.
Malaysia opened its very first Dr. Martens store at The Gardens Mall, recently, no doubt a godsend for the fans who had until now, commuted to Singapore – the closest source for all things DM. The new store is a nod to its British roots, maintaining a consistent interior that matches the global identity of the brand.
As I was taken on a quick tour of the store as well as the many products on display, I spotted the crème de la crème, the 1460 boot. Arguably the most recognisable Dr. Martens of the lot, it is no surprise to learn that it is a steadfast favourite among Malaysians today. Together with its other variants – the 1461 and the Policeman, they remain hot commodities amongst the fashionable crowd. Needless to say, Dr. Martens made a splash among festival-goers at Urbanscapes last month, doing their bit as stylish footwear and fending off the mud.
Explained to us by Elayne Tan, brand manager, the signature traits of every Dr. Martens would have to be its yellow stitching and air-padded soles, otherwise known as Airwair. Cleverly devised by Dr. Märtens, the Airwair technology provides ample cushioning for your feet as you rough it out. Also, note the embroidered tag on its classic range!
Dr. Martens offers a wide selection of sizes for Malaysians, ranging from size 3 to 11. The store also aims to stock the full collection every season, with availability depending on its Singaporean counterpart. However, they do carry every colour per design. Currently, The Gardens Mall store stocks the Spring/Summer 2012 and Autumn/Winter 2012 collections, including the M.I.E. range, short for Made in England. Crafted by hand in its factory in Cobbs Lane, London, the seasonal collection had shimmer and polished arcadia designs to name a few.
Functionality is evident in every Dr. Martens, as the iconic 1460 made its way from the muddy terrain to parties and outings as an adventurous style statement. We are well aware of our country’s harsh climate, so care instructions for your precious Dr. Martens is a necessity. Leather of course, requires a regular polish to prevent drying and cracking. For the suede ones, a suede-repellant spray is ideal for protecting your shoes from the sun and rain.
Here are a few of our picks that had us digging for our wallets.
The Dr. Martens wares carry a price range of RM400 to RM500 a pair, while the M.I.E collection is priced at RM800 to RM1,500 respectively. A little out of the usual budget for some, but if you are willing to splurge for some quality and practical footwear of the uber-stylish – Dr. Martens is your go-to place. Also, there is talk about bringing back the Dr. Martens kids range, which was discontinued a while back. Miniature Docs for your tots? It’s certainly becoming a reality.
The store is open seven days a week, from 10AM to 10PM. For further information, the store may be contacted at 03-2282 2263. Dr. Martens is located at Lot T-227, 3rd Floor, The Gardens Mall. For more information, follow the brand’s Malaysian page on Facebook, or the official Twitter.