Timberland: ‘Celebrate the Icons’

A new London exhibition charts the history of the yellow Timberland boot in music and fashion culture

Timberlands Ovo Wheat 2
Timberlands Ovo Wheat

Everyone’s familiar with yellow Timberlands – the humble construction boot that became a style icon worn by countless music stars from Jay-Z to Rihanna. There’s no denying the yellow boot is a cultural icon, and it’s kept a firm hold in music and fashion from the ’90s, ’00s through to today. Now it’s turning 45, with a special sapphire-detail anniversary collection, a collaboration with global photography platform Unsplash and a London exhibition to boot. ‘Celebrate the Icons’ at Phonica Records in Soho (November 9-10) includes rare archive boots made in collaboration with Stussy, Supreme, Off White, Opening Ceremony, OVO and Pharrell Williams. Whether you’re a fashion maven, a lover of ’90s hip hop and R&B, or maybe you’re a massive Drake fan or you’re interested in rave culture, Timberland’s exhibition is sure to be both nostalgic and inspiring. 

Timberland: ‘Celebrate the Icons’

From hip hop to rave culture – how did Timberland boots get so famous?
Music

From hip hop to rave culture – how did Timberland boots get so famous?

A new archive exhibition opening at Phonica Records this month charts the rise and rise of the iconic yellow Timberland boot as it turns 45. We’re pretty excited – especially for all the ’90s nostalgia and archive images. They’re an A-lister’s boot of choice at Fashion Week and they’ve long been a hip hop staple (they even have a producer named after them!). But just how did the Timberland boot become such an icon? The humble yellow Timberland began as a shoe for construction workers. Introduced by Sidney Swartz in 1973, they were a hard-wearing boot that was built to last. But then woke New Yorkers started wearing them in the ’80s – to keep their toes cosy through harsh winters. Soon they became popular with hip hop artists in the city, too. As well as writing rhymes, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang Clan all stomped about in their Timbs. Then, one Timothy Zachery Mosley was nicknamed Timbaland for his love of the shoe in 1992. Over in the UK, yellow Timberlands were taking off hard among ’90s ravers – presumably in part because they were a sensible footwear option when trekking out to parties in the woods, but mostly, because they just looked cool. In the ’00s came J-Lo’s stiletto versions, by Manolo Blahnik – which she made famous in the ‘Jenny from the Block’ video. (Recently Rihanna gave these a re-er-boot as a tribute, in a darker brown shade with a fur trim). Britney started wearing the aspirational yellow boot at the height of her fame, and so did Jay

Calling all fashion and music fans! A Timberland exhibition is coming to London
Things to do

Calling all fashion and music fans! A Timberland exhibition is coming to London

There’s no denying the legendary status of the yellow Timberland boot. It became a hip hop staple in the ’90s thanks to a lot of love from famous rappers like Tupac and Biggie Smalls, helping to turn it into a cultural icon that’s just as desirable to this day. From Kanye to Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding and Little Mix, Timberlands are a staple in the wardrobes of music royalty. And to celebrate their supreme status, there’s an exciting archive exhibition opening at Phonica Records in Soho in time for the boot’s 45th anniversary. The exhibition will take you through the history of this understated cultural icon, charting the rise of the humble yellow Timberland construction boot that earned a place in the wardrobes of stars across the board – from Khloé Kardashian to Britney Spears, Drake, Wu-Tang Clan, French Montana and Gwen Stefani. To prove the boot’s undeniable status in music and fashion through the decades, there’ll be a Hall of Fame and a rare archive of collaboration boots made with the likes of Stussy, Supreme, Off White, Opening Ceremony, OVO and Pharrell Williams. Here’s a teaser on those collabs – the nature-inspired 50 percent organic cotton Pharrell Bee Line boot has a honeycomb pattern, while the Stussy collaboration came up with a six-inch leather design in black with white soles and another in classic tan. Supreme brought the stars and stripes of the US flag to the classic boot. You’ll also get to witness Timberland’s newest collab at the exhibition: as this

A first look at this weekend’s Timberland exhibition: ‘Celebrate the Icons’
Things to do

A first look at this weekend’s Timberland exhibition: ‘Celebrate the Icons’

Timberland’s 45th anniversary celebrations have officially arrived in London, with the Soho exhibition opening up this morning – and here’s a preview of what you can expect. When you go through the doors at the back of Poland Street’s Phonica Records, it’s like going into a modern-day Narnia as you walk through purple neon-lit tunnels to get to the show.  With rare boots and key photographs on show, it’s a Timberland treasure trove and a celebration of music from the ’90s to the present day. Projections on the walls depict the humble construction boot that made it big in New York hip hop and ended up on the feet of megastars like Rihanna, Drake and Jay-Z. But those aren’t the only big names in the Timberland hall of fame – some of Timberland’s coolest, rarest collaborations are on show, suspended and pristine in Perspex boxes. Among them a black, yellow-laced boot with Stussy, a brand that’s long been synonymous with hip hop, and an ivory pair of shearling-lined Convenience Boots, a collab with Opening Ceremony. But the main event is the 45th anniversary boot – launching at the exhibition. See if you recognise which east London estates Yxng Bane and Raye are appearing in (wearing their Timbs) on the screens surrounding the fresh, spotlit new collection.  Head to Phonica Records to celeb-spot your way through ’90s hip-hop Timberland nostalgia – including archive images of ’90s artists – through to urban music today, and check out some of its coolest collabs up close. But

London is one of the cities in Timberland’s global ‘Celebrate the Icons’ campaign
Things to do

London is one of the cities in Timberland’s global ‘Celebrate the Icons’ campaign

Timberland has launched its first ever community-generated campaign with photo-sharing site Unsplash, to celebrate its 45th anniversary in cities around the world – including London. The brand marked its big birthday earlier in November with an exhibition in Soho’s Phonica Records – where it also unveiled images from the Unsplash collaboration. Photographers submitted the shots they felt best represented the heritage of the Timberland brand, whose wares rose from humble construction boot to hip hop icon, to A-list shoe of choice. And the brand has whittled down its favourites to shots taken by eight pro photographers in seven different countries. Images from the ’Celebrate the Icons’ campaign with Unsplash, unveiled at the exhibition © Paul K Porter Timberland’s 45th anniversary boots © Paul K Porter London-based photographer Clem Ono made the final list, alongside other photographers based in creative cities such as Los Angeles, Turin and Amsterdam.  Ono, who regularly organises London photography walks for Unsplash, is among the snappers contributing to the campaign, which is intended to celebrate the brand’s universal DNA. Boots featured include the 45th anniversary collection, in the classic yellow colour with a new navy trim (pictured below) and the London Square boot (featured in top image), with its seasonal colour variations. Model wearing Timberland’s 45th anniversary yellow boot © Clem Ono The shots will feature across print and video ad campaigns, and in-s