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General Leon and Pompidou (photo: Beth Lesser)

Work / Publication

Stunning new book by Al Fingers tells the unlikely story of Clarks’ cult status in Jamaica

As the introduction to Clarks in Jamaica states – and it might surprise you – “Clarks shoes have enjoyed a cult status in Jamaica for at least sixty years”. The quintessential British brand has become synonymous with the reggae style and remains so, fed in the early years by enterprising characters such as Smithy, who began to buy up all the Clarks he could in Somerset, returning to Kingston laden with “all sizes, colours and styles of the shoe” – it was, after all, the Clarks name that mattered.

This extraordinary phenomenon can only be explained by the genius of a street style that takes “everyday items out of their original context and rebrands them as a fresh, new look”. This book tracks what could be described as a fashion anomaly, only this ‘anomaly’ has endured, bucking the norm of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ trends.

Simply put, Clarks in Jamaica is a beautiful, insightful and fascinating exploration of a social history, superbly designed to reveal a nation’s fondness of a brand that couldn’t be more street – surprising as that may still sound!

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica. Philip Ricardo Carr (photo: Mark Read)

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General Leon and Pompidou (photo: Beth Lesser)

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Jah Thomas (photo: Mark Read)

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Bunny Lee (photo: Mark Read)

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Barry Brown (photo: Beth Lesser)

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica

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Al Fingers: Clarks in Jamaica