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Liberty x Dr Martens

The two heritage brands collaborate, taking a walk on the wild side... we get the lowdown from the footwear brand's creative director, Damien Wilson

What do you get when you cross utility with the decorative language of art fabrics? A very British collaboration it would appear, as Liberty lend their print to  Dr Martens, providing a sharp contrast to the tough subculture staple. To celebrate the birth of a new code, creatives Andy Hillman and Leandro Farina were commissioned to portray the shoes in a man-made wilderness of their own imagining. Dazed Digital caught up with the footwear brand's creative director, Damien Wilson, to learn more of the collaboration.

Dazed Digital: What attracted you to the Strawberry Thief and (recoloured) Martens Flower prints from Liberty's archive?
Damien Wilson:
The Strawberry Thief is a very recognisable Liberty print, which was designed by William Morris. The pre-Raphaelite nature based artwork made sense as a direct contrast to Dr. Martens utilitarian boots and shoes. We spent time going through the Liberty print archive and uncovered a gem of a floral print from the 30s which has not been used for years, re-coloured it with the Dr. Martens palette and the Martens Flowers were born.

DD: Set designer Andy Hillman and photographer Leandro Farina created imagery of the collaboration 'in the wild'. Were you familiar with their work beforehand?
Damien Wilson:
We are big fans of both Andy and Leandro’s work having seen previous installations they had worked on. We felt they would really bring the Wild Nature concept to life and are really happy with the results of the shoot, which took place at a studio in Kings Cross. So much so this will now be replicated in Liberty’s windows when the product launches exclusively in store in May.

DD: Is the contrast of romantic and tough seen in the collection an appealing one to you?
Damien Wilson:
Collaborations coming from brands that are at polar opposites create the most interesting results. Dr. Martens and Liberty stand for different things. Liberty - with its obvious connection to nature through print and association with the arts and crafts movement. Dr. Martens with its roots in functional work boots have been a badge of honor for countless subcultures and a staple of the anti-establishment wardrobe. Combining these elements gives a unique looking end result, which is unmistakably British.

DD: Everyone remembers their first Dr. Martens. Do you remember your first trip to Liberty?
Damien Wilson:
I can’t remember the exact day that I first went to Liberty but I think I must have been a kid. What I remember is the building with its incredible Tudor revival paneling and exterior. This building makes a visit to Liberty unlike any other shopping experience and I still really enjoy just walking round the shop.