Let's take you back to the 80s when Mr Clarke was a young man trying to get into the clubs wearing his trainers. The doorman would shout "if you've got trainers on. Your not coming in!" But he loved trainers so much he thought I'm going to make my own shoe with a trainer sole that wouldn't get rejected. But the design was rejected because he was told people wouldn't wear a shoe with a trainer sole. But look how things have changed.
The story of the Yardie Boot
Although our version of the desert boot called the Yardie Boot first launched in 2015 on our website, it was actually conceived a lot earlier by the original Mr Clarke, Mr Uptown Yardie himself, whilst working as shoe designer for a major shoe company. Let's take you back to the 80s when Mr Clarke was a young man trying to get into the clubs wearing his trainers. The doorman would shout "if you've got trainers on. Your not coming in!"
But he loved trainers so much he thought I'm going to make my own shoe with a trainer sole that wouldn't get rejected. But the design was rejected because he was told they could not be made, and people wouldn't wear a shoe with a trainer sole. But look how things have changed.
Not being deterred Mr Uptown Yardie got a job cutting patterns and making orthopaedic shoes by day, and went back college in the evenings to learn how to make handmade shoes. Now being equipped with knowing how to make shoes from start to finish, no one could tell him his shoes could not be made.
Fast forward to 2015 and the launch of the very first version of the Yardie Boot, which had the trainer or sports sole, with square cutouts in the heels, to give a trainer look. They were made in black and chocolate brown suede and sold like hot cakes.
In 2016, a chance meeting with Sir Lancelot Clark, that's without an E at the V&A was about to take the Yardie Boot to another level, in fact to another country. Jamaica. The idea was to collaborate with Uptown Yardie and Clark's to design a desert boot in Jamaica, for Jamaica and that could be exported to the rest of the world. It was something we were passionate about because we always wanted to give back to Jamaica as it is the inspiration behind our brand. Moreover its our heritage.
But things don't always work out they way we want and the project was pulled. We were determined to continue by ourselves which was a big challenge, as we were and still are a very small company with limited resources. However, with the help of JAMPRO an Agency of the Government of Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, we were able to find a factory in Kingston that could make the boots and an affordable price which would make the resell affordable.
We worked on this project for 2 years and funded it mostly ourselves and partly with support from a crowdfunder. In May 2018 we went to oversee the first production and unfortunately that's when things started to go wrong. For instance productions costs were going to be 4 times higher than initially agreed which would mean that our boot would be more expensive than our competitor. We would not be able to wholesale and it would be unaffordable for the Jamaican market. So we would not be able to achieve what we set out to do. Unfortunately with heavy hearts we had to pull out of the Jamaica project.
We received such a lot of support and wonderful messages from you, telling us to keep going. So we dusted ourselves off and looked at how we could continue to make the Yardie Boot, which took us 100 miles down the road from where we lived and right back to England. We still face some obstacles, there is a struggle at times; we have some suppliers who won't sell us materials. But that's not going to stop us!
We've never compromised on comfort and ensured that our Yardie Boots are made from a high grade leather. Our newest unisex collection comes in rust and sand/camo suede, with a hint of neon.
Go check them out here YardieBoots