I love Clarks shoes. I spent most of my college years in a pair of sand suede Desert Boots that were so beat by the time I graduated that the sole was completely black and practically worn through. Still, nobody loves Clarks as much as Jamaicans do. What's crazier is that Clarks haven't even been sold on the island nation since 1973 when the Prime Minister imposed a ban on foreign shoe imports. Musicians who traveled to England became the unofficial distributors as they sent back shoes they bought from the factory. Just last year, Jamaica vice raided a counterfeit Clarks factory. This love affair is also a two-way street. Clarks has dropped Jamaica-themed colorways in the past.
Clarks are so beloved that reggae artists regularly name drop the brand in their songs or write entire songs about them. You might recall this slapper that put Drake favorite Popcaan on the map (free Vybz). But taking things to another level is DJ Al Newman aka Al Fingers, who went back into the archives to produce an entire album that pays tribute to the British shoe brand on every track. It's called Clarks In Jamaica (an accompaniment to the book of the same title) and features 21 old school reggae and dancehall joints that feature a Clarks namedrop. The album released a couple of weeks ago and is available at a bunch of spots online for about $15. This is pretty fucking amazing. You gotta imagine a bunch had to be left off in the interest of space. We can only hope Clarks In Jamaica becomes an anthology.