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Barker Black: The Reinvention of Tradition

Barker Black: The Reinvention of Tradition
Photo Courtesy of Barker Black.

By João Paulo NUNES

London Editor

December 15, 2010 - As British footwear producers Barker Black continue to expand into the US market and open their 500-square-foot shop in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, it is worth revisiting the history of this brand and how they have so successfully translated footwear tradition into stylish contemporary designs.


Established in 1880 by Arthur Barker in the village of Earls Barton (Northampton, UK) Barker Black shoes are renowned for having become staples in the wardrobes of nineteenth and twentieth century English men. Their current collection pays homage to their early days and to the heritage of the brand in the way it is inspired by the 17th Lancers, an ancient regiment of British guardsmen and their original logo, a skull and crossbones with the motto "Death or Glory".

Initially following on the footsteps of designers and brands like Alexander McQueen that recently revived the skull and bones imagery, Barker Black took one step further by researching an ancient silk weaver's archive in Sudbury, England for original drawings. Under the lead of designer and creative director Derrick Miller (who, until early in the year, shared the reign of the company with his brother Kirk), the revitalised adoption of this motif embodies a subversive, yet sophisticated, spirit and design philosophy. In addition, the ways in which the shoes are made also respect an artisanal historical process...read the full article



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