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Dr. Martens is knockin’ 60. Too old to rock’n’roll, too young to die?


Dr. Martens is 60 years old. The old rebel is celebrating with new models, and among other things they have reunited with Sex Pistols for a new collab of shoes and boots with bold prints. I love Dr. Martens and I am a Pistols fan – so why does this feel so wrong?

I bought my first docs in 1977: classic 8 eye model, black leather, yellow stitching, no fuss. They had their debut at Reding rock festival same year and stomped in the mud to a brand-new song: “Dancing in the Moonlight”. Phil Lynott was still alive, and I had a major crush.

The same boots carried me through Heathrow airport in -79 when I was running to make my flight to Oslo. Under my arm was a parcel wrapped in newspapers, the parting gift from Leo whom I had loved for two years. He was getting hitched, but alas – not to me. His family had found him a girl better suited culturally. Indian. He gave me a miniature copy of Taj Mahal from Delhi and told me I was still the one. It couldn’t stop my tears. But Dr. Martens’ never let me down, they took me through the heartache and the airport and all the way home.


The next fall I started art school. It was time for new beginnings, and to make something of myself – not in south London where I felt at home, but in Oslo. I stuck out like a sore thumb at Westerdal’s School of Communications, where all the other art director- and copywriter-wannabes wore broad shouldered suits and carried briefcases. Well – it was the eighties and corporate cool was in vogue. It was time to get real.

Eight years later my well-worn Dr. Martens’ stuck out beneath my dressing gown as I carried my newborn son out to the car after giving birth. The baby gave me euphoria, the boots gave me street cred. My son was 32 this year. My kickass boots are still around.


Over the years the brand have launched many styles. Now they celebrate their 60s anniversary with new models as well as a brand new Sex Pistols-collab. I guess there is no shame in honest work and making money. Still, reducing style to fashion? No way.  So I think I will give my old stompers a facelift instead. Buy some white tipp-ex and write a favourite Lydon-quote in bold letters up the side: “Ever get the feeling you been cheated?”

Text: Sissel Hoffengh – All photos: creative commons 

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