The Clarks Phenomenon-“I was paying tribute to my large collection of Clarks, and it just took off.”

Mi no love crepe ehno Clarks mi prefer,
Clarks fi leather, yeah
Clarks fi the fur,
Clarks fi di summer
Clarks fi di winter

—Vybz Kartel

The Ramping shop got locked down and the Gaza Gully feud has ended so what’s left?

Clarks?

Vybz Kartel ingenious lyrical construct is unquestionable-Okay that maybe up for debate by some dancehall fans and non dancehall fans alike. One thing is certain though; the man can create a buzz whether through salacious sex sizzling shenanigans in the Ramping shop or the Gaza-Gully fixation to lyrically slay the other side and now the latest Clarks phenomenon sweeping Jamaica.

Sort of like the pied piper changing his tunes.

The two main Clark songs that have propelled the Clarks “craze” in Jamaica are

“Clarks”- which features Popcaan, Gazza Slim and Vybz Kartel

The first of the Clarks two Clarks songs has spawn a popular saying from Popcaan’s intro

“A weh yu get da new Clarks deh dawdie?”

The second Clarks song-“Clarks Again” is the squeal of sorts to follow up the success of the first Clarks song..

Both songs are very popular with radio disjocks across Jamaica resulting in strong chart presence and heavy airplay. Please don’t be too upset when selectors choose to “pull-up” a Clarks tune a zillion times after starting one of these songs, not to mention the talk overs.

Both songs have made the rounds on Youtube .The songs are popular on Facebook, even R&B singer Omarion tweeted recently “waah gwan Popcaan,” , a line taken from the song b”Clarkes”. The song is reportedly getting good rotation on mainstream American radio and popular for personal ring tones of hardcore dancehall heads.

Seh mi smell nice
Seh mi feel sweet,
Seh mi shirt bad,
Seh mi jeans neat”

The dancehall culture is a combination of many interesting characteristics. Sometimes engulfed in controversy it is as much about the music as it is about the fashion. The influence can impact the whole culture on what to wear and what NOT to wear

“Real bad man no model ina shorts straight jeans cut off pants….”

“She seh wah kinda style yah wah
An mi seh bring it ina suede an leada
Every material fi boss dem
Bank robba wallabee dessert Clarkes
Dem style we love in Gaza”

For complete lyrics click HERE

Clarks vs Kickers?

There have been quite a few songs which responds to Clarks feeding off the shoes phenomenon, most notably Eppi Rebel. He puts up the legendary Clarks against it’s English counter part Kickers. With much less success than Vybz and much less favorable response. Eppi tries a thing and was even featured in the Jamaica Observer. The lyrics and whole presentation does not really put his efforts into the likes of Kartel. See the video below, What do you think of this counteraction or so called “diss”

Eppi chides that we have moved on from Clarks and a younger generation prefers Kickers.The lyrical tussle goes as follows:

Vybz Kartel: “di leather hard, di suede soft, toothbrush get out di dust fast”

Eppi Rebel:

“Toothbrush a fi brush teeth, member seh Clarks no have gingivitis…Gaza Slim fi go learn proper hygiene”

These are what Kickers look like.

Can’t say I have worn a Kickers, they look ok I guess.

Parents are in tense negotiations on meeting the demands of children on picking up the pricey popular shoes.

Children as young as 4 and 5 years old are onto the Clarks songs and footwear. I saw this on a friends Facebook profile.

Toddler ask Daddy For Clarks (funny video)

What do you think about the video? Funny or should she go and do her homework?

There is an interesting discussion on DancehallReggae.com about this clip.

Does this dispel Eppi Rebel claim that a younger generation prefer Kickers over Clarks. Personally I did not know what a Kickers was until I Googled it, then again I have never been a fashion person

Small though they might be there is even a Clarks Wallabee Facebook Fan Group

I see Clarks people. Where have you seen Clarks? A part from the usual suspects, I have seen Clarks on schoolers at parties, other social events, even emblazon on passenger coaster buses and combined in the Mohawk hairstyle with the Clarks logo carved out to the side of the head

. Similarly some young men use to get the Nike switch logo impressed on their heads when Nike was very popular. Forces me to say:

“Yuh a tek it too far dawdie”

Blacka wrote an amusing column in the Jamaica Star where he made interesting observations about not just Clarks but how fashion itself evolves and re hashes, makes comebacks or sometimes old ideas return with new twists.. Blacka writes:

“Somehow though, they don’t seem to realise that many of their nowadays hot trends are either recycled, warmed-over styles from my old time days or just ancient styles that just never really died.”

“… Jamaican DJs providing the British shoes manufacturer with free advertisement is an old, old practice. Dillinger did it in the 70s and Little John did it in the 80s – just to name a few”

From what Blacka is saying I have notice several things. Clarks is not really a craze or just a fad. It is timeless evolving through generations. How many other footwear has similar history?

Rappers are especially known for their bling. They endorse without solicitation everything from crystal Champagne, Lexus, Versace Shades and even Coogi sweaters.

In the 1990’s other celebrities show love to the Clarks brand also

“Wu-Tang gotta be the best thing since stocks in Clark Wallabees” from Gravel Pit

”Thank god for my Wallabee shoe, it done saved me!” from Stroke of Death

The great Christopher “Notorious BIG” “BiG Papa” Wallace talked about his Jesus piece but he also paid homage to the Clarks brand.

“Man, she spilt a drink on my cream Wallows.” from Nasty Boy

It is not at all unusual for celebrities to express in their everyday life or even artistically a passion for a certain brand car, cologne, champagne or shoes. Famous unsolicited endorsement from celebrities have been around for sometime and is probably the most welcoming news for the marketing department of some major companies as the free publicity helps drive sales and even greater brand recognition.

There are no big contracts and no “moral clause”, so if the celebrity fowls up there is no awkward press release “distancing” themselves from the celebrity.

Unsolicited endorsement can be a double edge sword. If the endorser does not fit the profile demographic the company desire or image they company has for itself or simply if the endorser assumes a negative image.

One can not help but ponder if just as Starbucks; Apple and J. Crew place their products in a movie , couldn’t some companies be placing products in celebrity lives?. That would be the ultimate product placement. The fact that it is not an outright endorsement is a little ere.

Everyone wants the Rhianna hair do and the Paris shades.

American Idol judge Ellen Degeneres wore her Desert Boot Lace-Up Clarks during the 9th season of the show. Ellen also wore them on her daytime show were she gave her audience of 280 all Clarks gift cards to get their very own Clarks.

The word machismo has been used to describe Clarks a lot, but is that really true?

Pundits, Columnists, Comedians, Bloggers & other Breaking News

Police here in Jamaica are investigating break-in of fashion stores specifically for the Clarks footwear.

Police: “Criminals are really targeting the stores and taking the Clarks shoes. So far they have stolen the popular shoes from two places….,”

More than two million dollars worth of Clarks were stolen between two stores in Linstead, St. Catherine

Raids carried out by the police have caught criminal elements clinching the much beloved Clarks boot, arrests were made.

Only in Jamaica, I guess they were either planning on selling them or wearing them.

Although stores selling Clarks maybe anxious of break-in, the over all sentiments in plazas, the arcades and on the streets of downtown Kingston are good caused by the spike in sales for a pair of Clarks.

Traders have ensured ample supply to suit every preference, needless to say consumer confidence among probably the most vulnerable are high even in the “rescission”.

Authentic Vs Fake-Can you tell the difference

In the lyrics for the song “Clarks” Vybz Kartel refers to the fact that his Clarks must have Made in England or Made in Taiwan on it to ensure they are authentic. Many have speculated that the majority of Clarks being sold in Jamaica are Made in China hence the fairly reasonable price relative to an authentic pair which spells rip off or knock off.

The truth is however according to the official Clarks website, they are made in over 12 different countries including England, Brazil, Italy and yes even China. It’s all about economics and the availability of materials.

Home & Family of Clarks

The home base for Clarks in the United Kingdom hence the line in the song “di queen a England haffi love of yardie”. As mention earlier Clarks are manufactured in 12 different countries, however all designs are done in England.

Although most Clarks sales in Jamaica is focused on men footwear, Clarks manufactures several different designs, colors and sizes to fit different lifestyles and tastes for men, women and children.


Clarks for boys Clarks for girls

Desert Boots for women Oakwood suede or tan leather?

wear di desert Clark fi easy step…”

. If you want to really get “Clarksy” you might want to consider Clarks pumps, sandals sports wears even Clarks bags-no serious Clarks make bags too.

According to Wikipedia the company Clarks (C. & Clarks) is the 35th largest private company in the UK with annual sales exceeding a billion pounds. The Clarks company is primarily owned by the Clarks family having been started by brothers James Clark and Cyrus Clark in 1825. The idea to make footwear started when James who worked in his brothers’ tannery got the idea to use the sheepskin that was piling up to make slippers, hence sheepskin sandals. During the 1800s and the invention of the Singer sowing machine these men help carve out a place for Clarks in footwear for years to come.
Clarks History At a Glance:

1825: Cyrus Clark founds a tanning and wool stapling business in the village of Street, in Somerset, England.
1828: Joined by brother James, Clark begins producing sheepskin slippers, called the Brown Peter.
1833: James becomes a full partner; business is renamed C&J Clark Ltd.
1863: William Clark, son of James Clark, takes over the company.
1893: The introduction of the “Hygienic” line of shoes begins the company’s focus as a “comfort” shoemaker.
1937: The company acquires a retail shoe store chain and renames it Peter Lord.
1950: The company launches the successful Desert Boot.
1965: The first Clark Wallabee model is launched.
1978: The company acquires the Hanover Shoe manufacturing and retail business in the United States.
1979: The company acquires the Bostonian shoe manufacturing and retail business in the United States.
1981: The company acquires K Shoes Ltd., a U.K.-based shoe manufacturer and retailer.
1988: C&J Clark abandons its plans to go public.
1993: The company puts itself up for sale, then rejects an offer to buy from Berisford.
1996: The company begins restructuring, transforming itself from a manufacturing-oriented business to a consumer-driven, design-oriented branded products group.
2000: The company announces that it has decided not to go public for the near future.
2001: The company acquires Elefanten, a children’s shoe manufacturer in Germany.
2005: Clarks ends shoe manufacturing in Somerset
Source: Clarks timeline Wikipedia

How to Care For your Clarks

After shelling out a pretty penny for your new Clarks or to maintain an old one you must take good care of a prized possession to ensure years of enjoyment and comfort of this iconic look on your feet. Here are some basic steps you can take to care for your Clarks.
How to Clean Clarks Beeswax Leather Boots

Eppi Rebel toothbrush is for teeth not shoes, Vybz Kartel says he uses a toothbrush to clean his Clarks-comical ,according to this “how to” page which gives step by step instructions on how to clean a pair of Clarks Beeswax Leather Boots. An old tooth brush is very useful in reaching those small places to remove dirt which might age your boots.
“my own Clarks Collection, I have like 47 pairs. I’ve been advertising Clarks for a while now. Clarks is as Jamaican as ackee and saltfish and roast breadfruit.”
Vybz Kartel

Clarks in the News

The Jamaica Star:
STORES ROBBED OF CLARKS SHOES
The Jamaica Star:
Kartel’s ‘Clarks’ inspire sales
The Jamaica Star:
Clarks shoes excitement
The Jamaica Observer:
Eppi Rebel ‘kicks’ Kartel’s Clarks
The Jamaica Observer:
The Clarks/Kartel phenomenon, the IMF and self-regulation
The Clarks Company Profile Wikipedia
YardFlex :
Guard yuh Clarks boot dem
A Brief History of Clarks Shoes

Shoes Point

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~ by RB on May 14, 2010.

9 Responses to “The Clarks Phenomenon-“I was paying tribute to my large collection of Clarks, and it just took off.””

  1. Give him his props he knows how to create a buzz of his own. Its not a sex tune but it is about shoes. Some say he is driving the industry and many people are profiting from the success of the song.
    I am disappointed with the video with the little girl though. It has no taste. Would be interesting to see if she is that eloquent in her books. It was hard to watch.

    I don’t have a Clarks….maybe can’t afford one in this economy, other things take priority. But of course if you are wearing a clarks …u r def in.

    Wah gwaan RB

    • Just imagine how eloquent most students her again would be if Kartel was doing tunes about school or learning. She seen to know all the lyrics.
      I am not really into the fashion fad, however I like to watch or see other people looking good, creativeness.
      The prices for Clarks are in the 6000 range up. Everyone has priorities .

  2. LOL…RB,. I remember when I was youth, in Jr. High school (grade 7-9) as its called in the States and Wallabees was the ish!!! Black or tan is all that was available back then but you had to have them…LOL I don’t care about fashion either but I do notice how we, Black people, will give free adverts for big companies in our music. Remember My Addidas by Run D-Mc?
    Clarks boots have been sung in Jamaican music for as long as I can remember even as a child in the 1970’s I can hear Jamaican artistes singing bout Clarkes boots long before Run D-Mc tho.

  3. EnSayn-No other music like black urban music gives free adverts to big corps. I guess you can say its a culture thing.
    I had a cousin who loved Clarks but personally I was not that fashionable I mostly recall the 90s with la gear and nike air, couldn’t or shouldn’t wear sneakers to school in Jamaica though.

  4. nice tune

  5. they are

  6. check out Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids you wann see some Clarks Wallabees

  7. I’ve loved clarks shoes for ages, but I’d have to say clarks wallabees are my favorite by them. Thanks for the article, great read 🙂
    – John

  8. […] The Clarks Phenomenon-”I was paying tribute to my large collection of Clarks, and it just took off… […]

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