Genderless and boundary breaking: Dr. Martens’ global creative director on 10 years of the iconic Jadon boot

6 September 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

In celebration of the Jadon boot's ten year anniversary, FQ sat down with Dr, Martens global creative director Darren McKoy to find out exactly what this milestone means for the brand.

Darren McKoy, global creative director for Dr. Martens. Image: Supplied.

Everyone remembers their first pair of Dr. Martens – a sentiment which is especially true for the brand’s global creative director Darren McKoy. Originally hailing from Sheffield, England – a city with firm roots in the music scene – McKoy found the brand influencing his personal style from an early age. Now based in London, McKoy has been a major part of Dr. Martens progression for more than eight years, moving his way up in the company from several product-facing roles to become the GCD at the end of 2021.   

This year, however, marks the ten year anniversary of iconic Dr. Martens style – the Jadon boot. Characterised by its chunky two-inch platform sole that has become a favourite among celebrities and party lovers around the world, it’s fair to say that the Jadon boot has become an emblematic style for this nearly 80-year-old grunge-core brand.

In celebration of the Jadon’s anniversary, FQ sat down with McKoy himself to find out exactly what this milestone means for the brand, and what its fans can look forward to seeing over the next ten years.

Q&A with Darren McKoy, Dr. Martens global creative director

Can you please tell us about your career to date and how long you’ve been a creative director at Dr. Martens? 

I’ve been with Dr. Martens for over eight years. The first seven years I was focused on product, but worked closely with the previous creative director so stepping into the role was a natural progression. The transition has been inspiring – it’s allowed me to view Dr. Martens from a fresh perspective and opened a new chapter in my personal relationship with the brand.

Dr. Martens has always had a place in my life. I’m from Sheffield, and growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, the brand was so engrained in the culture of the city, with its incredible music and subcultures. My uncle was a skinhead. He loved two-tone and ska, and was always in his Cherry Red 1490 boots. He’s the reason I bought my first pair of Dr. Martens, and it’s stayed a part of my style.

Where are you currently based?

I’m based in London. It’s known for its rebellious fashion and that’s what Dr. Martens is all about. It’s always a source of inspiration to see how Londoners express themselves through style.

What does a day in your life as global creative director look like?

It’s different everyday. From working with the team to develop new products, to meeting with our friends, partners and collaborators, the best part of the role is the people and their incredible creative ideas.

What inspired the introduction of the Jadon boot style to the Dr. Martens range 10 years ago?

Dr. Martens have always been a statement, but the Jadon boot takes it to the next level. There was a demand for something more progressive, more forward thinking, for a new generation of wearers. The Jadon was the answer. They are bold, and uncompromising, but immediately recognisable as Dr. Martens.

How has it evolved over the past decade?

The starting point was the original 1460 boot. The platform is simple, but it’s transformative.
Like the 1460, the platform silhouette has become a blank slate for creative expression. From the first ever Jadon collaboration with Trash and Vaudeville, to Hello Kitty, and most recently X-Girl, it is constantly evolving.

Darren McKoy, global creative director for Dr. Martens. Image: Supplied.

Who was the Jadon boot designed for?

What separates Dr. Martens from other brands is that it’s been built by our wearers. They have been adopted by generation after generation because they are a blank canvas.

The Jadon started as an alternative, subcultural statement but it evolved to take on a life of its own. It wasn’t designed for a specific group of people, but with an attitude that transcends trends. It’s alternative, it’s grunge, but it’s also catwalk. That’s what makes it unique.

How do you think the Jadon boot has contributed to the brand’s image and its role in attracting a different generation of consumer?

The unisex design repackages Dr. Martens DNA for a new generation. Genderless fashion has evolved with society, and the Jadon has been adopted by a new community of wearers who break down those boundaries.

Could you highlight any unique design elements or features of the Jadon boot that have helped it stand out from other footwear options?

Fundamentally the design is about empowerment. By putting on a pair of Jadon boots, you are literally putting yourself on a platform – levelling up, elevating yourself.

What are some milestones for the Jadon boot? Was it when certain celebrities wore it? Was it sales? Or something else?

We’ve come a long way since 2013. We came straight out of the gate with a collaboration with Agyness Deyn. She was the defining face of alternative style at the time, and her collection was entirely platform soles. Since then it’s become an off-duty staple for a new generation of supermodels, including Bella and Gigi Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Kendall Jenner, but also a uniform for performers, from Lil Nas X to Miley Cyrus.

And of course, it will always have a place in the underground party scene. It shows up on stage and on dance floor at gigs, raves, and clubs around the world.

What’s your vision for the Jadon boot – or the Dr. Martens brand – for the next 10 years?

We have collaborations planned for the coming year, which will be an exciting new chapter for the Jadon. Watch this space!

But 10 years time – it’s impossible to say. Dr. Martens’ heritage is unmatched, but we never stand still. We strive to invest in new ideas, people, techniques, and innovation to keep breaking down boundaries for the future.



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