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Clarks Originals x Rough Trade

One of London's few remaining record stores teams up with the iconic shoe label for a series of intimate in-store gigs from the likes of Bo Ningen and Little Dragon

Launching this A/W'11, Clarks Originals' new music collaboration Originalslive will be working with cult record store Rough Trade East on some exclusive gig dates this year. This season, the iconic footwear brand will be continuing their involvement in music by supporting five upcoming bands including Little Dragon, The Rassle, Bo Ningen, Louise and the Pins & Earl Gateshead of Trojan Records, and Jah Buck as part of Trojan Sound System.

OriginalsLive will present a series of live events at Rough Trade's Brick Lane store in East London, kicking off with a launch party on September 8th where the two join forces to celebrate the launch of Louise and The Pins' new single. This will be followed up by live in-stores from Trojan Sound System and Bo Ningen on Sept 24th at Rough Trade East and Little Dragon on November 25th supported by Louise & The Pins.

This August, fans were also offered free downloads of an exclusive Dancehall remix of Trojan Sound System’s forthcoming single “My God”. Alongside this, on September 5th, fans will also be able to download the new single by New York's The Rassle exclusively via the Clarks Originals website - where you can also win pieces from the new Clarks Originals collection and exclusive entry to OriginalsLive gigs. We speak to the honchos at Rough Trade about the collaboration and what to expect from the nights...

Dazed Digital: How did this collaboration come about?
Rough Trade: Clarks Originals are one of the few brands outside of the music community that has genuine music culture significance. So when considering brands with whom we could share our celebration of new music talent with, Clarks Originals were the first and last brand we spoke with.
DD: In what ways will this partnership support emerging talent?
Rough Trade: Clarks Originals are investing in our unique 'music celebratory' retail environment in a way that enables us to better support the constant stream of new musicians that pass through our doors. For example, we're installing a giant 'readograph' display for the store facade, which enables us to clearly communicate which bands are playing at the store that night/week, to the thousands of people that live, work and visit the neighbourhood. It also gives the band the opportunity and a platform to showcase their talent and new music to both our shoppers and the fans of Clarks Originals, ultimately giving them the support they need to build their fanbase.

DD: How does the ethos of Rough Trade East work with Clarks Originals?
Rough Trade: Fashion is clearly interwoven into the fabric of music culture, vice versa. It's only in rare instances like retail where the two are bluntly segregated. Needless to say, given RTE's unique agora quality, involving Clarks Originals is an entirely appropriate and subtly seamless initiative. Both brands are also intrinsically linked with the music scene, RT from a music angle and Originals from a fashion angle therefore it just made sense on a campaign such as this that we were the ones to join forces. We both have the same vision so it just works!

DD: Why have the specific acts been chosen?(From Clarks Originals POV as we selected the bands)
Clarks Originals: We selected the bands based on their emerging status on the music scene and of course their love for Clarks Originals. Throughout this whole process we wanted Orignalslive to be credible and most of all authentic, therefore anyone we worked with had to understand the brand and have a real grasp of it’s positioning within music history. We also wanted bands that needed support on a level that we could provide. Originals and Rough Trade pride themselves on their ability to provide support where it’s needed and we knew these bands were outstanding so we wanted to make sure everyone knew this as well. Originals is also international so by selecting bands from Sweden (Little Dragon) or from New York (The Rassle), it allowed us to speak to a global audience!
DD: What's next for Rough Trade & Clarks Originals?
Rough Trade: We're constantly looking to widen our reach, to offer public and artists the opportunities to connect together without having to suffer a demeaning commoditised context, which is so commonly found in other retail environments. Opening additional Rough Trade's will always be at the forefront of our minds, but unfortunately, it can sometimes take longer than we'd like. As ever, we hope to make some announcements soon.
The partnership will also see a series of free events called Originalslive at the Rough Trade East store where music and fashion fans alike can come down and watch the bands perform. We will be celebrating the initial collaboration with a gig with Louise and the Pins on 8th September, then  Bo Ningen and Trojan Sounds Systems will play on 24th September, with a grand finale by Little Dragon and Louise and the Pins on 25th November. We hope to continue to work together on the project with some great new things to come for both brands as we enter S/S 2012… watch this space!