The Genteel
February 28, 2021


Dr. Martens boots have become a
staple for youth counterculture since
the brand was established in 1960. 

With the revival of the grunge style by notable fashion designers such as dSquared and Titania Inglis as well as retailers such as Topshop, it makes sense that Agyness Deyn, the latest British model to propel herself from the runway to international notability à la nineties waif Kate Moss, has launched a capsule collection in collaboration with Dr. Martens.

Deyn, has long harboured a penchant for the iconic footwear brand and claims to have bought her first pair of Dr. Martens at the age of 13. Whilst discussing the influences for her own range, the model recently told Vogue she was inspired by the stars of the early nineties. "I looked at the sexy boyishness of Juliette Lewis and Winona Ryder," Deyn noted, "and Angela Chase [Claire Danes] from My So-Called Life - she had a nerdy, awkward quality which I like."

Launched this month, Deyn's debut collection for the iconic boot brand includes classic '90s grunge-style pieces such as reversible bomber jackets, floral-print dresses and her own take on the classic Dr. Martens boots.

These days, Deyn's closet seems to be a little brighter than when she was a teen, as the model told Vogue, "I'm wearing less black and more grown-up pieces, like classic, vintage men's pants and shirts." Perhaps that's one of the reasons why the line features punches of colour (such as a bold, red knitted varsity cardigan) among otherwise neutral staples. Even though classic tailoring and added doses of colour may be part of her evolving style, Deyn refuses to trade in her signature Docs, "No matter how my style's evolved they've always been a staple," she tells Vogue, "I wear them with everything - they get better with age." 

I'm very hard to pin down. I'm not the bird that would adapt well to having their wings clipped.

Designed by German doctor, Klaus Maertens, the original boot was inspired by his need for comfortable footwear in the wake of a skiing accident. In 1960, the doctor teamed up with an English shoemaking family and on April 1st of that year, the first pair of Dr. Martens 1460s (named after their release date), hit the ground.

Since that time, the boots have become a staple for various social groups and styles including skinheads, mods, punks and grunge, yet in recent years the brand seemed to have lost its footing. However, by teaming with Deyn, in addition to the company's other successful collaboration with luxury retailer Liberty London, it now appears that the brand is ready to stage a comeback. 

Dr. Martens inaugurated Deyn's collection with the release of an official campaign film teaser, tapping into the sartorially subversive spirit shared by both the brand and its model. The clip features Deyn and a friend on a road trip attempting to escape the restrictions and responsibilities of a sedentary life, in order to reclaim the freedom of youth. The film offers glimpses of the collection, as the duo is seen dyeing each other's hair, spray painting walls and playfully lounging around the beach. 

Such a campaign is no doubt an attempt to realign the Dr. Martens brand with its foundational themes of freedom and self-expression. What makes Agyness Deyn an ideal choice both as creative collaborator and campaign muse is not only her enduring loyalty to the iconic boots, but also her ability to stylishly embrace the spirit of contemporary rebellion.

As Deyn notes on the Dr Martens website, "I have always had a really intense relationship with Dr. Martens, right from my first pair back when I was 13, which I bought as a combination of showing that I wanted to rebel against my parents and they were the coolest boots that I could get away with wearing to school which stood for something that gave me my own stamp of originality."

British model, Agyness Deyn wearing one of the
designs from her Dr. Martens collaboration.

The clothing range also features 100% lamb's wool knitwear, cotton layering pieces including a mix of leggings and T-shirts and floral dresses featuring the same daisy motif as the reversible bomber jacket. Whether opting for a pair of over-the-knee boots, or the classic Dr. Martens 10-eye boot in black or cherry red, buyers are encouraged to interpret the line in their own unique way. With accessories (such as acid green and lilac satchels) and clothing ranging from £30-£275 and footwear between £130-£275, it's a well-priced collection making it accessible enough for the masses to acquire. 

As for where we'll find Agyness Deyn next; if her voice over in the video clip is any indication ("I'm very hard to pin down. I'm not the bird that would adapt well to having their wings clipped..."), we're left to wonder. Even still, it appears that however she reinvents herself, she'll most certainly be donning her Docs. 



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