A Trinidad born fashion designer is making his presence felt internationally. Joshua Joseph of New York-based fashion brand, Rebels to Dons, has joined forces with classic shoemaker, Clarks Originals and American designer Ronnie Fieg, to create an exclusive new design.
The design was released on June 30th, online and commerated with an in-store event at menswear boutique Blue in Green. The landmark Rebels to Dons x Clarks shoe is part of 8th Street — the innovative sub-label by Kith founder Ronnie Fieg.
The collaboration marks the next major chapter in the Caribbean’s storied relationship with the British brand. For decades, Clarks Shoes have remained a preferred footwear brand in the islands with many Caribbean artistes even highlighting the brand in their music. In turn, the brand has released many Caribbean-inspired collections over the years. Joseph however, is the first Caribbean-born designer to create his own Clark’s silhouette.
“It’s exciting to work with such a classic brand that has been a part of our culture for so long,” said Joseph. “As the designer, I see this as an opportunity to give a sense of ownership to the people that truly embodied and embraced this brand so much,” he continued.
For his landmark project, Joseph took inspiration from the late 1970s and 80s, when a new wave of Caribbean immigrants imported their distinctive fashion (and eternal love for Clarks) into New York City’s streetwear lexicon. Honoring the two places that shaped him as a designer, “I wanted the design to show how the city and the islands are connected through style,” said Joseph.
With this in mind, the designer reimagined Fieg’s Clarks maycliffe into a mule, incorporating dynamic details that can morph into the wearer’s day-to-night flex. “This is something that you can dress up and dress down, all at the same time,” he explained.
Made of natural tan nubuck leather, the mule features hallmarks of the Clarks brand, from the crepe outsole to stitched upper detailing. Personalization comes courtesy two removable fringed straps, one in a matching tan nubuck, and the other a nubuck brun. These trimmed straps can be swapped or layered together.
By remixing these detachable accents, one can transform the mule, “from simple to extravagant,” said Joseph. “This one design gives you room to do as much as you want,” he highlighted.
Expressive, adaptable adornments cut to the core of Joseph’s overall ethos at Rebels to Dons. The brand has garnered wide acclaim for their radical reinterpretation of streetwear staples, splicing together kinetic colors, patchwork textures and off-kilter silhouettes to form something truly surreal. “For us, embellishments are our way of disrupting the familiar and making something unexpected,” explained Joseph. “And our Clarks mule captures that spirit.”
The Rebels to Dons x Clarks maycliffe mule have been released in a limited edition run. They will be sold exclusively online via the Rebels to Dons website rebelstodons.com. The closing event to celebrate the launch will take place at Soho Beach House in Miami on July 30th.
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