Clarks Torhill x Pokémon: Leaning Too Much On Nostalgia?
Pokémon fashion collaborations have been big this year with the Fendi x Fragment x Pokémon collection being announced and the Tiffany collaboration earlier this year. Clarks also joined in leaning in on the Pokémon branding, but this one is a bit of a miss for me. I don’t hate it…but I don’t love it either. It feels a bit more like they slapped Pokémon branding on some chukkas instead of being creative and reimaging how to use the Pocket Monsters.
The Fusion of Icons
To be fair, I have never owned a pair of Clarks. I know the British footwear brand has a deep history, but nothing that ever spoke to me personally. With this collection, Clarks tries to blend their contemporary designs with Pokémon nostalgia. Something that a lot of the major brands can learn from the smaller Black Owned Anime Streetwear brands, is that you want to be inspired by the brand and not simply slap some characters and logos on a shoe. That is where the big miss here is for me. The collaboration features for designs inspired by the starters Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Pikachu. Going with the starters is a safe bet, but that’s exactly what makes this a bit boring. I can appreciate the look of the quality of the suede and the pixelated Pokemon details on the tongue. I do think this would have been a lot better without the huge stitched pokeball pattern on the heel though.
A Nostalgic Journey
For Clarks, I believe they were trying to lean on nostalgia with this collaboration heavily. The price point at $140 isn’t crazy and the collection is mostly sold out already, but I think some brands need to be more conscious that the target market for Kanto starters (except for Pikachu) is normally going to be the millennials that grew up with those characters who are going to be in their 30s now. With the right outfit the shoes can be pulled off well, but they are definitely a bit loud and bright.
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