Dr. Martens flagship rocks up in Camden
Part store, part music museum, part gig venue, the new Dr. Martens flagship is a hybrid concept sewn together with boot laces, speaker flex and safety pins.
The store at The Stables has been designed as an “experiential flagship,” with a smattering of Millennial-friendly features (including a GIF booth) and enough memorabilia to please music fans from any era.
Returning to the brand’s ‘Spiritual home’ in Camden Market, Dr. Martens has taken over a 19th Century building formerly used to shoe horses – managing to maintain a lot of the light and character of the original architecture.
The Boot Room is a gig space opening straight out into the street, and once the ball is rolling, we have no doubt it could become a valuable local venue with a suitably scrappy basement vibe (depending on the door charge).
During the day, this is an exhibition space of sorts, with curated playlists (powered by Mixcloud) and displays highlighting the way DMs have been styled, adopted, trashed, worn and loved over years in the music industry and its fringes.
The use of technology is tasteful and relevant and all of the colleagues seemed happy and engaged in their new habitat. Though some storytelling focuses on the manufacture of the shoes themselves, most is reserved for the brand’s place in history.
Some of the nicest elements of the design are found upstairs – featuring an original embossing machine from the Cobbs Lane factory in Northamptonshire, you can create a souvenir keyring if that’s your thing - or personalise your own Docs by choosing between specific soles, laces, leathers and eyelets.
Part of the brand’s enduring appeal is that it doesn’t reinvent itself with a fanfare every season – relying instead on new audiences discovering the product and making it their own. A range of vegan shoes and boots sat neatly alongside the classic ranges, and the kid’s selection had captured the imagination of one toddler in particular, who was stomping about happily in cherry leather lace ups.
Dr. Martens’ position as a cultural icon is undisputed – writing the set list for music, fashion and subcultural trends generation after generation, this brand’s flagship has a local flavour and a celebratory attitude that doesn’t feel forced or self-conscious. The new Camden store is a reflection of a brand comfortable in its own skin.