A few weeks ago, I e-mailed the Dr. Martens P.R. contact to inquire about a completely clear—as in see-through—pair of what I thought were their classic boots. I was sad to find out that the ones I had seen, those perfect rain boots with just enough transparency to show toenail polish or a printed sock without leaving you inappropriately nude from the ankle down, were in fact not an actual Dr. Marten’s style, giving double meaning to the term bootleg.
Unless I’m going to buy some killer heels or throw on my fave flip-flops (I’m kidding, you filthy-toed ingrate), Docs are pretty much the only shoes I wear, and when I find something that works I like to stick with it and buy it in 12 different colors. I’m an extreme loyalist when it comes to any and all of my relationships, including ones I have in my own head with the companies that make my favorite things; that said, I’m not going to pretend I was sad when my brother brought me back a pair of transparent, jelly “Doc Martens” from London last week. I tried to do the right thing! What is the ethical consumer to do when his or her favorite brand is sleeping on greatness?
The clear clothing/accessories craze is nothing new, so if this missive seems a bit transparent, it’s because see-through items have never gone, and never will go out of style. Given this fact, I would think that more of the established, “cool” mainstream shoe brands such as Dr. Marten’s, Wellington, Converse, or Underground (home of the creeper, which Jeffrey Campbell recently reworked in transparent vinyl, le sigh) would be far more on the ball when it comes to giving buyers what they want without forcing them to sullenly venture elsewhere. It’s not just Docs; look at the Converse All Star Clear Pack of 3 pairs—with low, mid and glow-in-the-dark piped versions—that was available through Journeys in ’08, and tell me that it wouldn’t sell out straightaway in 2013. Shit, half my friends are for begging any reason to start shopping at Journeys again. Do they still carry Airwalks?
This is my plea to the brands mentioned herein: do you enjoy when your product sells out and becomes collectible? Or when it is included in fashion editorial? Then please, oh please, play this song for inspiration at your next product development meeting: