Clarks unveils key Torhill boot, enlists high-profile talent to support the launch
Clarks is seeing a flurry of activity at present as the once-staid British footwear firm continues its recovery, and on Thursday it announced a key product launch.
It has unveiled a new boot model, Torhill, which is a really big deal for the company and which it describes as “a brand new icon for the next generation, made to bridge the gap between Clarks Shoes and Clarks Originals”.
The campaign for the launch features one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars, Jabari Banks, an actor, musician and activist from Philadelphia.
He’s best known for his role as Will Smith in Peacock’s Bel-Air reboot, which has returned for a second season this month. His performance in the show has earned him nominations in the categories of “Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series” by the 2023 NAACP Image Awards, and “Best Actor” by the 2022 BET awards.
So what about the product he’s the face of? Clarks said the Torhill is “an archival silhouette revamped for the world ahead. Inspired by our nineties profile Big Gripper, this classic-in-the-making combines relaxed sports styling with bold fashion-forward credentials. Statement supersized ribbed soles boast heaps of cushioned comfort, while leather and suede uppers are shaped by cult Clarks profiles – think moccasin stitching reminiscent of the Wallabee. Directional in design, nostalgic at heart, buzz-worthy Torhill packs a serious punch”.
For the debut campaign, the firm is taking a social-first approach with creator and user-generated content at the heart of the campaign. Banks, and friends from around the world (“social media sensations with an ever-growing list of likes and followers”) have created bespoke TikToks, hyping the release of Torhill with #GRWM and #Unboxing content.
Meanwhile, as part of its wider brand marketing approach and also in support of the Torhill debut, Clarks has unveiled its latest collab campaign with “three trailblazing individuals, taking their next step in championing social change”.
Launching Thursday, it features “mother, model, actor, and ambassador Jourdan Dunn; poet, artist, and model Sonny Hall; and Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet, Marcelino Sambé”.
Clarks said it will “share the collective’s unique personal stories, sensibilities and visions for the future, sparking new conversations around social impact with a wider audience”.
It added that after a successful AW22 collaboration with ambassadors and activists, its “latest global campaign champions more people pushing for progress”.
Global Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Tara McRae, said: “Last season we launched our new brand campaign with some fantastic ambassadors all creating their own positive social progress. This season we are so excited to be adding to our Clarks collective with Jourdan, Sonny and Marcelino, who all represent something really unique and important.
“Clarks has always been about creators and innovators, and our latest footwear creation is the brand new Torhill, worn by all three, which is a retro Clarks silhouette we’ve re-imagined For The World Ahead.”
The Torhill and campaign news both come in the same week that Clarks announced Set Free Richardson as its new “Creative Specialist”, opting for a deeper relationship after working with him on its multi award-winning Clarks and New York short film.
He’ll play a “multifaceted role, working with the brand team to execute specific creative projects, produce live events, and act as an ambassador and conduit to different cultures and areas with a special focus on art, hip hop, and basketball”.
So far this year, Clarks has also collaborated with Zara and Salehe Bembury. And late last year it announced improved results after a bruising period in which it had filed losses, saw worker strikes, executive changes and a CVA that led to it eventually being taken over by private equity firm LionRock Capital.
The company is clearly on the recovery path now, however, both from a business viewpoint and creatively, so it will be interesting to see how its story plays out this year.
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