“You can’t get a girlfriend if you don’t wear Clarks”
There is a historical and indissoluble link that connects Kingston and the Reggae music with Somerser (UK): its name is Clarks.
The brand’s fame on the Caribbean island goes far beyond shoes: the beginning of its rise can be traced back to the colonial period, which lasted about 100 years. Clarks were imported and sold by the British in the 1920s, and took on an almost aspirational significance among the Jamaican population, as they came from Britain.
In Kingston, there were only two shops that retailed Clarks, and both were located on King Street, the street considered to be the street of luxury shopping. The two stores initially sold only women’s and children’s models, before the men’s Desert Boot arrived in 1949.
The popularity of the Clarks was slow but steady, so much so that by 1970 weekly sales in the country were up to £100,000. In short, one in five Jamaicans wore Clarks.
Between 1955 and 1968, some 200,000 thousand people emigrated from Jamaica to the United Kingdom and the United States. This huge community brought with them – of course – their Clarks: this mass phenomenon was matched by the spread of the brand in NY.
Jamaicans bought the most popular models in their host countries and then sent them to friends and relatives in Jamaica at a much lower cost than on the Caribbean island.