In case you all hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a Dr. Martens fan. It all started years ago when my Dad lent me a pair of 939 Ben boots – how fitting – to go for a hike. They were like magic. They kept my toes warm through the rain, dragged my weary body through the perilous British countryside, up mountains, across rivers and through numerous pubs. All while looking great doing so. I would most definitely not be sitting here today telling my tale if it wasn’t for those good old boots. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – but for good reason.

They say ‘beauty is pain’ but Dr. Martens is aiming to prove that looking good doesn’t have to be. You see, comfort isn’t always high on the agenda of most clothing brands and labels that do offer more hard-wearing attire aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing. Gentleman, here lies the Doc’s niche; not only do they look good, but they’re practical too.

So without further delay, I bring you the Dr. Martens Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign, and pick out some of the key pieces from the new collection.

Dr. Martens AW12: Individual Style, United Spirit Campaign

The new AW12 ‘Individual Style, United Spirit’ campaign is a homage to the brands eclectic appeal. The short, featuring Alice Dellal, is an absorbing piece of film following a birthday celebration – with the dancing, caterpillar cake and bright colours perfectly portray the merriment.

However, the slow piano feels as if it is played in front of the video, creating a strong and serious tone. This helps to highlight the real theme behind the campaign: that each member of the group is an individual with their own style, but together they are happy. This belonging is a deep part of Dr. Martens’ history, as ‘Doc’s’ have long had roots within prominent subcultures and they will always be a statement for anyone who wears them:

Key Pieces: Footwear
Eclectic Collection – Key Style: Sheldon

“Small pockets of air are trapped inside the ‘Eclectic’ sole, forming a protective cushion under your foot. Combine this with the pliable and durable compound Dr. Martens soles are made from, and uncomfortable pressure is a thing of the past. The Ecletic collection is lightweight and sporty yet robust and durable – casual, contemporary footwear that has classic hints of Dr. Martens.”

It is safe to say that autumn is now here, and winter is waiting just around the corner. When it comes to footwear in the colder months, you need something that is durable as well as on trend because the elements can be rather unforgiving.

If you’re after something laid back and clean – which you are – then look no further than the Sheldon. With a thick seem running across the front and an ankle-high rear, the profile looks very much like the lovechild of a handsome boat shoe and a rather bootylicious chukka boot.

The rubber sole acts as a light and protective cushion, and when combined with the Sheldon’s leather upper, it makes a superb alternative to your trainers. The black and red chequered fleece lining adds a warm touch of colour but will also help insulate your feet when on the go:

Dr. Martens Sheldon Boot

Chunky Wedge Collection – Style: Springer

“The Rugged segment of Dr. Martens’ AW12 range is a compelling melting pot of utility styling, vintage hiking influences and subcultural staples. The chunky wedge selection reinvents classic silhouettes such as the Desert Boot with a hint of Americana.”

As an avid football fan, I know all too well the ability of a cold concrete floor to chill you to the bone. Well nothing is going to get through the wedge under the Springer. With a tyre-like sole underneath your feet there’s little chance of you feeling uncomfortable.

The colour is also phenomenal; known as ‘breech’, this peaty orange-brown partners with navy denim better than any colour imaginable and the contrasting yellow and brown hiking laces (which match the AirWair tab) make this one of the best looking boots I’ve seen for a while:

Dr. Martens Springer Boot

Crafted Collection – Style: Beckett Boot

“The renowned craftsmanship, comfort and durability found within the Dr. Martens range have been honed and perfected over decades. Even so, with the AW12 Crafted selection, there has been a painstaking determination to improve how these silhouettes are created. With this in mind, a very elite selection of upper materials, especially sourced from the UK, have been chosen to increase the premium quality even further.”

Autumn and winter collections always have a strong emphasis on texture, which was noticeable during London Fashion Week recently. The Beckett is made from Harris Tweed – a quality material that is handmade by small number of craftsmen in even smaller quantities. Produced only in the Outer Hebrides, its warming capability and rustic simplicity have always made it popular with academics and country lifers, whilst it has also been adopted by Mods and youth culture over the years.

The blue-grey tweed that adorns the Beckett will compliment any outfit you decide to put together, especially as blue-black is a noticeable pairing for the coming season. All this and we are yet to mention the beautifully slim silhouette:

Dr. Martens Beckett Boot

Reinvented Range – Style: Harlen Studded Shoe

“Studding detail and metallic hardware has been used across the decades by a host of subcultures – Gothic, Punk, Metal Heads, Scooter Boys and more – as a creative form of individual expression. This DIY customisation has been honoured by Dr. Martens’ AW12 Reinvented range.”

A number of more unconventional trends have also started to filter through into menswear this season. Metal detail on footwear is something that many of us will associate more with women’s footwear but The Doc has covered the smooth black leather of the Harlen shoe in small black studs to match. The shoe is not too dissimilar from other silhouettes the company produces – one that is sturdy but not overly bulky.

Over time, the fresh paint will flake and the studs will tarnish, adding a real attitude to the shoe. What is always important when playing around with high fashion features is simplicity. The Harlen otherwise features minimal detailing and that means it will still look good, long after we’ve moved on to the new trends of next year and beyond:

Dr. Martens Harlen Studded Shoe

Key Pieces: Shirts
Tartan Shirts

When texture and colour simply aren’t enough, there is always pattern to consider. Tartan is most definitely a nod to the rebellious past the brand has long been associated with, championed by the punk subculture since the 1970s. Dr. Martens’ cotton shirts can be found with an all over tartan design or with a simple tartan band on the sleeves.

The pattern itself is very warming and will look great with the blacks and greys that we use so much during the colder months. The shirts sporting the tartan band would look particular strong with the sleeves rolled up slightly, giving you the opportunity to show off some wrist accessories, which is something we don’t often get the chance to do when wrapped up over autumn and winter.

Dr. Martens Tartan Shirts Range

Key Pieces: Outerwear
Dr. Martens X Gloverall Donkey Duffle

Talking of wrapping yourself up, let’s get on to a favourite topic of mine – outerwear. Blockbuster coats are going to be one of the biggest trends for the coming season, so grabbing yourself something that stands out is of prime importance. Dr. Martens have got in touch with the oldest and wisest bunch of them all – Gloverall – because when it comes to coats, no one knows better.

The Donkey Duffle is a cross between a traditional Duffle and Donkey Jacket, and has been unearthed from the archives and given the Dr. Martens treatment – producing a shape that is truly exclusive. The duffle was famously embraced by the British Royal Navy, so you can put a big tick in the military styling box and as previously mentioned, natural materials are trending too. The calf leather accents are well positioned to age gracefully, while the wool-mix fabric is warm, durable and the primary reason why duffle coats tend to last forever.

This is the perfect example of an updated wardrobe staple:

Dr. Martens X Gloverall Donkey Duffle Coat

Harris Tweed Scooter Mac

Slightly different is the Scooter Mac. Once again natural Harris Tweed has been used to distinctively update this coat, and some of its most prominent features are its most practical.

The short funnel neck will ensure you keep out the chill but also gives a shape to the upper half that ties in well with the hood – something many coat designs don’t execute very well. It’s a simple fix for a common problem. Furthermore, colder times means there’s going to be more stuff to carry around – I’m talking hats, scarves, gloves and the like – so the vast number of pockets that adorn the front of the Scooter Mac will provide plenty of storage space for these necessary extras:

Dr. Martens Harris Tweed Scooter Mac

Key Pieces: Accessories

Finally, we reach some tasty accessories. Dr. Martens are as well known for their satchels as their boots these days and believe me they are just as sturdy as well.

Drawing inspiration from their seasonal footwear, they have added stud detailing to a number of bags, both on the face and to the strap. The ever-in-short-supply Harris Tweed has also been partnered with deep cherry red leather for a beautifully rich combination.

However, a real favourite of mine is the black leather satchel sporting the green and black Lochcarron of Scotland tartan. It’s a stunningly simple bag that will only improve with age and is guaranteed to protect the important stuff within from our infamous British weather:

Dr. Martens AW12 Bags

All pieces showcased today are from the current Dr. Martens Autumn/Winter 2012 collection and can be purchased at the Dr. Martens official online store.

Final Word

There are some brands that constantly receive my attention because I believe they are doing the right things for us, the consumers. Dr. Martens have their own look and style which gives them a brand identity unlike any other. Their combination of technology and craftsmanship brings us practical items which are on trend but not niched and they do it all here in the UK at a great price.

The brand have never been out of favour because they have never truly been in favour. I suppose that’s what makes them so edgy and why their styling is constantly adopted by subcultures. In today’s society, everything we do is rushed and all we ever strive for is how to be quicker. The Doc is too laid back for that. The Doc takes his time because he knows quicker doesn’t mean better. That’s an attitude we should look for in a brand and one we should welcome into our busy lives.