Clarks Use the Wallabee to Tell the Story of New York

‘Soles of The City’ documentary tracks the Wallabee’s popularity in New York, and shows how a shoe can bring together communities.

Clarks Originals have released their new short film, “Soles of the City,” featuring legendary hip-hop artists who have shaped New York, like Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and more.

The piece celebrates the rich and interconnected dynamic between New York City, the Clarks Originals Wallabee and hip-hop, chronicling how the shoe shaped music in its formative years – and vice versa.

Directed by Set Free Richardson, the short includes interviews and accounts from cultural icons such as April Walker, Ronnie Fieg, Futura, Dave East, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, who describe their introduction to the Wallabee and how the classic Clarks style became synonymous with hip-hop in its most formative era.

The story traces the brand’s connection to Jamaican immigrants who arrived in the US during the late 70s and early 80s, and builds on the intrinsic importance that fashion – and in particular, sneaker culture – has on groups forming new identities within new communities.

The creation of new communities run analogous to the formation of new ways to express the community’s values, lives and aims. Hip-hop was one of the primary ways in which groups in New York learnt to express themselves.

[The Wallabee] is never going to die. It’s always going to be a premier shoe to wear on any occasion. It’ll always be the most comfortable shoe,” says Smoke DZA in the Soles of the City documentary.

The Wallabee became a uniform with hip-hop artists like Run DMC, Slick Rick and KRS1 who wanted to stay true to the genre’s Caribbean diasporic roots. The 90s saw an explosion for the style in New York and on the hip-hop scene, largely thanks to the adoption by Staten Island’s Wu Tang Clan.

Head to Wellgosh for a selection of Wallabees

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