“It’s like ham and cheese sandwiches, pickled onions, sausage rolls, nostalgic memories.” Eley Kishimoto reimagine a great British classic in a colouful collaboration with Clarks.
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In Iceland to give a talk at Design March 2013, Mark Eley (who makes up the second half of Eley Kishimoto with Wakiko Kishimoto) talks to i-D Online about a spring collaboration with Clarks, tells us about his first ever pair and what it is that he thinks makes the great British brand so special.
First cheeky question, what is it about prints and Eley Kishimoto?! Is it repetition, the challenge of design, what keeps you creatively attached to prints? It’s our DNA, thats what we do and have done since the very beginning. We give identity to cloth primarily but this concept jumps from surface to alternative surface. Repetition is a factor within our prints but that does not mean aesthetically or thematically it is purely a functional attribute; i.e.”A Repeating Unit”
There are three shoe models in your Clarks collaboration, are you yourself a fan of the classic desert boot? I’m a fan of Clarks in general. I like that we had the chance to do the Desert Boot. It is a classic and it really needed the ‘flash print’ for sure but to go beyond the classics with the wedge and the court I also think are very powerful and quite provocative in moving the perception of where there womenswear can stride.
What do you think it is about this British brand that people continue to love? It’s like ham and cheese sandwiches, pickled onions, sausage rolls, nostalgic memories of the leather pasty shoes. Shoes that you loved to hate but are so ingrained into your psyche that the nostalgia now overrides anything negative. They were comfortable hardwearing and everyone else had to wear them as well. The feet measuring machines were the icing on the cake and the whole experience at the end of the summer to get your new school shoes. It is ingrained certainly in my brain and I am sure many more of my generation. Shoes for all…
Do you have an earliest memory of your first pair of Clarks? Yes. I didn’t complain, I just accepted them, it was the way. Possibly brainwashed as I was only 7 or 8 I guess, I may have had pairs earlier but can definitely remember one pair in particular.
For the man on the street who’s always wanted to try out a print but feeling shy, what are your words of encouragement?!” C’mon shy boy get over it!”
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about your Clarks collaboration… That there is another cool ladies shoe but it’s a secret maybe no one will ever see it and it will go into the deepest darkest part of their amazing archive that I visited.
What can we look forward to at Eley Kishimoto in 2013? So much, we are having lots of fun and playing many tunes. We just launched the mainline collection and accessories during Paris Fashion Week. An Exhibition with new collaborators in Scotland, a dance performance being conceived as we speak, working on two major property projects with creative spin offs, Squirrel Sea Pelts with Vik Prjonsdottir, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, continuation with pots, lace, rugs and more and more and more……….lots of activity.
Text: Sarah Hay
Images: Courtesy of Clarks