Timberland’s 6-inch work boots occupy a rare space in a modern way. It feels regional and global, and now you can relax on the runway just like you would at a construction site. This is thanks to the 1990s New York rappers who took in tan boots early and woven them into influential hip-hop style fabrics. (Everyone from Biggie Smalls to Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, Kanye West wore a pair.) Sturdy boots, designers and luxury brands paid homage to style and eventually jumped into the fashion space.
This shoe is arguably a global icon at this point, but it continues to be especially loved by Big Apple. You’ll find must-see silhouettes everywhere, downtown, uptown, and every corner of the city. It makes perfect sense that Timberland has partnered with Alife, the cornerstone of New York streetwear since 1999, to create a whole new collaboration focused on boots. Is it a little more surprising? The fact that Alife has taken the classic Timberland to new heights — literally quite.
“Anyone who knows me can prove the fact that I’ve been in Timbs for nine months from the calendar year,” says Rob Cristofaro, Alife’s founder and chief creative officer. “The 6-inch is Timberland’s most iconic silhouette. Needless to say, the importance of this particular boot wasn’t lost in the native New Yorker Christopharo. In fact, the designer stamped the boot with approval. This isn’t the first time we’ve added it. In 2007, a few years before collaboration enthusiasts dominated the fashion space, Alife partnered with Timberland to create iconic boots. This time, Christopharo wants to do something bigger. I was thinking.
It started with a high concept idea. What if Timberland creates a new silhouette that is an inch higher than the beloved original? A few years ago, Christopharo had already mocked up a “new” 7-inch boot, which has since been in a folder on his computer. Fast forward in 2019 when Christopharo was introduced by his best friend to Timberland’s new director. He finally pitched the concept. After all the technical realities were resolved, the boots would add a total of one and a half inches to their original height. It also nods to another Timberland-style super boot approved in New York. Super boots have been nicknamed “40 Below” for their ability to withstand the harsh cold. Christopharo affectionately calls his boots “20 Below” to divide the difference between 9-inch super boots and 6-inch work boots.
Alife is known for bringing this unexpectedly off-center aesthetic to the project, and this is no exception. (See Branded Geta with Socks). “There are two unique New York shoes that grew up as native New Yorkers,” explains Christopharo. “The first is the White on White Air Force 1 and the other is the 6-inch wheat Timbers. Duration.” Christopharo sees the possibility of going beyond a one-off collaboration with this boot. Instead, silhouettes could be the flagship of Timberland’s products. Alife has successfully remixed two respected boots into one eye-catching design that feels highly wearable. So the idea that such a thing happens is not that exaggerated. Over time, you’ll know if the silhouette is alive past this project. However, Alife has been involved in wild streetwear games for over 20 years. Christopharo and the crew proved they were looking for a long-lasting design. And if anyone can design the next iconic Timberland, it’s definitely a sharp-eyed New Yorker with big ideas.
Timberland’s most iconic boots take things to the next level
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