All about Dr. Martens’ New Global Creative Director, Darren McKoy.
Today, HOLR is sitting down with the new Global Creative Director of Dr. Martens‘, Darren McKoy, to discuss his role, his passion for the brand, and how he is innovating the space. Keep reading to learn all about Darren and how he is looking to grow and build the globally-recognized brand.
You have an inspiring background and story. Tell us about yourself as well as your new role at Dr. Martens.
I’ve been with Dr. Martens for just over 7 years mainly working on product focussed roles, but my love affair with Dr. Martens started back in my childhood.
I already had a love of Dr. Martens, in my family, it’s a generational thing, whether it was my uncle in his Cherry Red 1460 boots or me getting my first pair of Dr. Martens shoes as a schoolboy – as my mum knew that they couldn’t be broken no matter what I did or got up to.
But what really started my footwear journey, was football, through playing when I was a kid, I developed an early obsession with the form, fit, and function of football boots. Then while studying Retail Marketing Management in Leeds I received an early education in streetwear and brand curation at the iconic men’s retailer Hip. These experiences helped form the next 20 years of my career.
As I said, I’ve been with Dr. Martens for just over 7 years and I’ve loved every moment of learning more about the different cultures – both within our brand and all of the different sub-cultures that have adopted us. I’m continually and consistently surprised by the level and depth of history and impact this brand has on people – and by the personal connections, it fosters with its wearers – who by the way.. are also ever-evolving.
Continuing on that thread, the job description around the role of ‘Creative director’ has also evolved, becoming broader than just design, by nature. It’s about what holds true to our brand’s DNA – and how you can translate that to the consumer. How does that show up through our products this is my passion and what I love to do.
So, I see myself as a brand custodian that’s here to ensure the longevity of this brand.
In your new role as Global Creative Director, how will you focus on innovating Dr. Martens’ iconic lineup of products?
By staying true to our heritage and what we know but not being afraid to try new things and push the boundaries. Essentially for us, heritage and innovation go hand in hand. Some things have to be present in all of our products like our Bouncing Sole, the Goodyear welt stitch, our scripted heel hoop – and on top of that we prioritize functionality, durability, and innovation.. we make sure everything is built to last. That’s super important for us.
How do you personally feel you embody the spirit of the brand?
For me it’s all about bucking the trends and having a sense of rebellion – and that doesn’t need to be anarchism as such – but more about doing it your own way.
Dr. Martens are “built by the wearers.” How does this make the brand, and its product offerings, unique?
It serves as our guiding principle for everything we do, it’s always the first question we ask – making sure that anything we do is rooted in authentic narratives, that it is true to us, our heritage, and can connect to our wearers and the sub-cultures that have adopted us.
As a brand we don’t follow trends, we are a cultural icon and we continually look towards our wearers as a point of inspiration. As Dr. Martens continues to evolve, we want our consumers to play an even more integral role in what we do. Whether through the lens of product in terms of the innovation and silhouettes or in our within our marketing efforts and the stories we tell
Talk to us about your design ethos and where your inspiration comes from.
Due to my background and career path so far, I have a style that is holistic by nature, I pull from all areas of life beyond just design and aesthetics – focusing also on the creative process, brand positioning, and retail experience. My design ethos is that we will continue to innovate and tell the brand story through the way we create, the processes we adopt, and the way we interact with our wearers. We always pay homage and respect to the heritage and history of DM’s.
I’m fortunate to work for a brand like Dr. Martens, it means that I can find inspiration everywhere: from the history and culture of our brand, my team, and the people I work with, to all of the sub-cultures that have adopted us and the people that continue to wear us.
What’s next for you? What will you focus on in terms of continuing to grow and build the brand?
I see us continuing to do what we’re doing right now: building the classics, pushing new categories forward, and embracing the communities and cultures that champion the brand.
We’ve always been driven by the creatives and rebels in society, so we want to keep elevating them and not just taking inspiration. We’ll continue to respect our past whilst looking towards the next generation of wearers and building them into the DM’s family.
Essentially telling new narratives but staying true to our incredibly rich heritage.
Published by HOLR Magazine.