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Sunday, August 05, 2007

If it wasn’t for Madonna and Pope John Paul II…..

Timberland is apparently facing a $100m (US) shortfall in sales as fashion trends slip toward slimline shoes and trainers such as Vans and Crocs. In a bid to recapture market share Timberland went back to the drawing board and now have a cunning plan to complete. Watch this space. The company was established by a Boston-based apprentice stitcher, Nathan Swartz and came about as a reaction to the success of Dr Martens Boots. At the height of Timberland's success in the mid-1990s, the company were embarrassed their footwear were foot fare for hip-hop and rap artists and always wanted to be footwear champion of the working class rather than pander to fashion. Looks like that is all going to change, but wait ……perhaps not all is lost. Dr Martens boots are now making a fashion comeback, as retro style prevails. French fashion house Chloe, English designer Gareth Pugh and Tokyo's Yohji Yamamoto all used Dr Martens in recent runway shows. Yamamoto has also made a Dr Martens line for retros who want their picture in both the style and news pages while protesting at the APEC riots. Back in the dim past when only Skins wore Docs, the idea they would make an appearance on a cat walk was unthinkable. Madonna and Pope Paul II put paid to that with their clear endorsement that ’the four wheel drive, boot look’ was both fashionable and functional footwear. Classy workman’s boots, Australasian-made Blundstone enjoyed a brief fashion surge at the same time but sadly the Tasmanian and New Zealand factories are closing with production is moving to Thailand and India. This is of course not the end of ‘Blunnies,’ just, they are no longer “Made in Australasia.”

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