While many were acting as if Clarks as a street-level style statement was non-existent in Jamaica before Vybz Kartel gave them extensive shout outs, we knew better. Seeing as a UK PR company operating on Originals’s behalf excitedly forwarded a press release, evidently the brand was delighted too. ‘Clarks 3’ was the one though, busting out the ‘Wallabee Riddim’ that Wayne Marshall ripped through for ‘Mr Shotta’ the tune that set off the summer, right up to its soggy finale. What was even more interesting is that in videos where Vybz professed his Clarks love and heft of collection, he opted to wear last year’s underrated Clarks Originals Cobra model in burgundy. It’s not a model to all tastes, but these are infinitely preferable (bar that nasty heel branding) to any daft patent/shiny/ineptly collaborated versions of the Wallabee. Plus they’re made from ballistic nylon too. Too progressive for the masses though, who—it would seem—would prefer a techy moc-toed mockery from bigger sportswear brands instead.
Beth Lesser’s ‘Dancehall’ book is laden with crepe-soled, British masterpieces worn right— but you knew that already and picked up the book didn’t you? Unless you were preoccupied with Aryan-looking bookworms sullenly wandering the grounds of US universities when it came to inspirational photo tomes. It’s interesting that the Wallabee was born in the late ’60s in an attempt to clone a similar model from Germany’s Viking brand. Viking was a big brand in Jamaica anyway, and to my knowledge, had a late ’80s/early ’90s boom with Chipie-clad rudeboys round my way. Bally shoes played their part too, and one of the best-dressed in dancehall was Supercat, as immortalized on the 1986 ‘Boops’ LP. A gloriously ostentatious image with a fantastic bit of dressing and some superior footwear, it was a foolish omission from last week’s shoe-centric entry.
The man’s career would survive into the ’90s with tales of killing in self-defence, remixes that ushered the dawn of the Bad Boy era and a few minutes in which he even made Kriss Kross’s ‘jump’ sound hard. Take a look and listen to the album. He’s a baller. You’re not at all a baller.
Having just sussed out the scanner – previous grey area evaded for fear it could instigate blog-laziness and through old-fashioned technophobia, the opportunity to upload the best jail picture of all time arose. Robert Mitchum in prison blues but Cordovan shoes during his short stint in a county jail following a 1948 weed bust. I’ve written about the topic before, but this is a seriously strong look from head to toe. Next time you’re mean-mugging for a herb photographer friend in double denim and brogues, just bear in mind that someone did it better 52 years prior. Without really trying.