We get asked a fair amount about how we conceptualize and create the make-ups that we do in collaboration with our footwear brands like Viberg and Tricker’s. Honestly, there is no easy answer to this question. Sometimes a design and vision is obvious from the outset and the design makes sense within our mix. Then there are those cases where it’s more about our personal journey with style and pushing the process forward to see how it evolves. There is always some trial and error, required sampling, and nit-picking over every last detail to ensure the result is better than the original vision.
Our Viberg Service Boot in Black CXL was a fairly recognizable design-centric style and it was easy to envision that offering. The choice to do a street-first Service Boot style in Horween’s Black Chromexcel with a 4014 Vibram Christy Sole and Straight Cap Toe with Nickel Eyelets, our signature natural midsole, and Stitchdown Construction was something we'd never seen but knew we’d love. Some guys prefer brown boots over black, but we believe you should always have a black boot in your rotation and it will be indispensable in your style arsenal. Bridging the gap between something modern with heritage construction methods is something Viberg does with extraordinary perfection, and our exclusive Black CXL Service Boot was born to be an example of that synthesis.
When we do some of our initial re-stocks on core and exclusive offerings, we occasionally create the same style with similar specifications in a different leather and colorway. Our Viberg Service Boot in Natural CXL Roughout was one of those make-ups that took far more consideration than the original design. The style had to pair up nicely with our Black CXL version but be a completely different option. Utilizing Horween’s Natural Chromexcel Roughout, a.k.a. the Marine Field Boot Leather, created the counterbalance to our original collaboration that we were looking for, and is something that took time and effort to study and assess. Pairing up leathers to the Vibram Christy Sole to exude more of an urban flavor is actually not as simplistic as it sounds, and retaining many of the same specifications across the board provided a lot of design constraints that we were pleased to accommodate, but the selection of leather had to be just right.
Sometimes reference points and inspiration that you are unaware of, but that are present in your decision making, ultimately manifest later on. We knew that the Black CXL Service Boot was inspired by our love for streetwear from a bygone era, but the realization came later that the colorway in fact corresponded with an iconic sneaker propagated in West Coast street culture. It then became evident during the successive design process that we should frame the additional colorway after the East Coast crew culture by using the seminal work boot that found itself on the feet of every hip-hop head of that time period. Those who are familiar with 90’s streetwear, and in particular grew up or lived within that time period, can see those style influences in our design and collaboration projects at Division Road. In any big city, it was a period of cultural invention in music and style that cannot be repeated, should not be copied, but deserves reference and reverence.
During the mid-90’s, hip-hop was decidedly geographically segmented in terms of fashion, tone, content, and core identity being quite different from Coast to Coast and North to South. The battle in our community that reigned supreme was East vs. West, and while in hindsight this was an illogical conflict that had some associated tragedies, it forced identities and formulas to be fashioned by exploration in sound and style. One of these identities was the Black, White, and Blue wardrobe that primarily evolved from the Black Panther civil rights movement in California, which borrowed aesthetic influences from the established rock & roll scene, and finally advanced to the West Coast gangster rap culture. On the East Coast, you had the Lo-Life influence of Northeast prep lifestyle wear combined with work and military wear that defined the style of the day. Each format and inspiration was a unique and creative expression that made a lasting impression on design and style. Thus through our Division Road methodology we bring you these referenced pairings with corresponding Field Guides that signify the battle of: