Iconic British footwear brand, Dr. Martens  have partnered with Central Saint Martins (CSM) to design and produce unique pieces inspired by the brands’ “All Access Summer” collection — a collection that celebrates the first open summer following COVID, where nothing is off limits. The collaboration aims to shine a light on the diverse range of international talent at the school. Five students were selected by Dr. Martens and CSM course leader Fabio Piras, and among the lineup is the Lebanese student and designer, Jad Jreissati. Each student was tasked with interpreting the brand’s collection through the creation of outfits that embodied Dr. Martens’ rebellious spirit.

“Creativity and community are core values of Dr. Martens, which is why there is such a natural synergy between the brand and the incredibly talented students of Central Saint Martins. We are so proud to partner with this powerhouse of originality and imagination shining a light on designers who have travelled from around the world to hone their craft in London, the home to so many internationally-known designers. It has been a pleasure to see the inventive and resourceful designs of the students and how they have interpreted the Dr. Martens All Access Summer. I can see each reaching new heights in their careers. Francesca, Xuesong, Jad, Lauren and Jude, watch this space,” said Darren McKoy, Creative Director at Dr. Martens.

“My role as Course Director is to shape students to be critical and resilient, whilst believing in their creativity and talent. All of these elements run parallel to Dr. Martens’ ethos and spirit, and this partnership has provided an opportunity for my students to interpret a brief from another perspective, another angle, which is a hugely valuable skill to learn. That’s why we’re here, to continue learning and building the students’ portfolios, experience and inspiration, and long may it continue,” added Fabio Piras, Course Director at CSM.

Celeste blue

Jreissati drew inspiration from the bright blue skies, evident throughout his collection as well as “staying outside all summer [with] no limits, no restrictions,” he explains. “I found it very freeing working with Dr Martens. I had a sense that they truly wanted us to respond to the brief as authentically as possible.” Aligned with the brand’s brief, which required the designer to wear the final look, he sought to create something that he would be comfortable wearing, “My first step was a sporadic rush to take all of my own measurements as I needed to adapt all sample sizes to fit me.”

Considering this collaboration was in effort to promote the ‘All Access summer’ campaign, Jreissati wanted to show he would personally style the DM 1461 summer shoes. “Luckily I was able to build my design around the celeste blue color of the shoes, colors which felt natural in my hands. I knew that I wanted to extend this color pop beyond the shoes and up to the knees. Therefore, the next step in my process involved narrowing down summer silhouettes which cover over the knee. Consequentially, I opted for a double denim look for practicality, biodegradable fabrics, and something suitable for dying bright to match the hue of the shoes.”

“Historically speaking, Dr. Martens has never fit into the status-quo. The shoes have been emblematic of subculture and fringes of society. To me the brand symbolize the union of mavericks. This inability to fit in is something I really enjoyed honing in on and relating to. Using my own identity as a springboard, designing and defining my point of view for this collaboration flowed for me,” explains Jreissati. Indeed, his work plays on the relationship between fashion and aspiration. Born to migrant parents, Jreissati’s approach towards clothing is an ironically charged symbiotic blend of individual distinguishability and accessibility.

Challenging the status quo

Driven by a value Jreissati holds close to his heart, an individual’s right to their complexity, he points to the challenges he faced throughout the process, he found “refining and restricting my own urges to take the designs somewhere potentially unwearable to be a challenging part of the project. To balance my own aesthetics and design philosophies with the requirements of an industry brief. I wanted to honor the challenge of the DM collaboration. I was able to find success and new learnings through giving myself my own limitations,” he explains.

Throughout the brand’s history, Dr. Martens have embraced the diverse individuals that stand out from the crowd and their journey of self-expression. This collaboration further highlights the creatives who form the backbone of our industry, namely, the emerging talent who continue to challenge the status quo with their forward thinking attitude and out-of-the box approach to design. Here, Jreissati has successfully merged his own aesthetic with that of the brand and add his imprint to Dr. Marten’s rebellious history.