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Press Release: 12 April 2011

Scottish Traditional Skills and Organic Yarns Get Fashion Foot Forward

Clarks Originals and Thistle & Broom Launch Ethical, Limited Edition Collaborative Effort

12 April 2011 – London and Edinburgh – Clarks Originals and Thistle & Broom today previewed the results of their 10-month long collaboration for AW11/12 ladies collection, a limited edition take on Clarks ubiquitous Desert Boot featuring a hand-knit shoe 'cuff' reminiscent of an Aran jumper.

The idea originated with Clarks Originals Range Manager Rosie Macgregor, herself a Scot from St. Andrews. "Clarks has always stood for excellence in design and craftsmanship, and we’ve recently seen a huge resurgence of interest in hand-crafted products across the industry more generally. For the Clarks Originals consumer this has a particular resonance not only as a key fashion look, but as a statement of creativity and individuality," said Macgregor. "The trick was to find a great partner focused on helping us to bring all this together. Each item created for us by Thistle & Broom is of the highest standard and you need only the briefest of glances to sense the passion behind every stage of their manufacture."

Thistle & Broom blind sampled prototypes to Clarks to ensure that there was no bias to geographic origin or company. The Soil Association and certified organic yarn used for the project was sourced from Ardalanish Farms and Weavers on the Isle of Mull and spun on the 19th century machines at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at New Lanark. What’s more, the effort to produce the limited edition of 1200 pairs involved 35 hand-knitters living across Scotland from Caithness to Inverness, Fife to Kelso with a combined experience of more than 1316 YEARS! Clarks went one step further in framing the importance of their collaboration with Thistle & Broom in hiring Glasgow-based photographer Iain Clark, whose work can be found in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, to capture the knitters' images.

"There is a creative energy found in every aspect of this collaboration that I believe owners of the boot will intuitively 'feel' even in absence of intellectually understanding what sets their new footwear apart," said Thistle & Broom's Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Teresa Fritschi. "Our efforts focus upon the preservation of traditional skills and creating economic opportunities through a new business paradigm which combines the best practices of the eco-friendly/Fair Trade/sustainability market and the luxury goods space. As a 186-year old British firm with a devoted, global customer base working with Clarks meant we could have a more immediate positive impact for our trading partners economically and in general raising the profile of the incredible heritage of Scotland. All of this should be enough for people to 'vote with their wallets' but the fact is there’s an incredible WOW factor to how great looking the boots which is hard to resist.”

About Clarks Originals www.clarksoriginals.com 60 years ago Nathan Clark sparked a revolution with a shoe, or a boot to be precise. Modeled on a style made in the bazaars of Cairo and favored by off-duty British army officers, the Desert Boot instantly stood out from the crowd and set a trend for casual footwear that lives on to this day. Clarks Originals can be described in 4 words: original, versatile, authentic and understated. Why? The originality of the Desert Boots and all Clarks Originals (The Wallaby, the Desert Trek and many other styles in the range) derives from their design, and because of the combination of innovation and traditional influences, fashion and functionality, natural materials and handcrafted simplicity. But it’s the relationship of Clarks Originals with their wearers that give them their true individuality. Once out of the box, no two pairs will ever be the same.

About Thistle & Broom, Ltd. www.thistleandbroom.com Edinburgh based Thistle & Broom is a bespoke luxury ecommerce initiative based upon the Fair Trade model was legally incorporated in Scotland in 2004 and which commenced trading in May 2005. With a raison d'etre of preserving, protecting and restoring Scotland's heritage and traditional skills, Thistle & Broom is unique within the luxury goods space in that its product offerings are sourced exclusively within Scotland’s geopolitical boundaries. 66% of the retail price of T&B’s offerings is paid directly to the artisan/craftsperson actually producing the product thus positively impacting Scotland’s often rural economies.

For more information about Thistle & Broom please contact:

email pr@thistleandbroom.com
phone +44 (0) 131 2080 923