LAST ONE STANDING:
THE STARS OF DR. MARTENS’ TOUGH AS YOU AW19 CAMPAIGN

Fronted by four fearless artists, DMs’ new campaign celebrates endurance through hardship.

There’s a reason that you can be as tough as old boots. Amidst a world of built-in obsolescence and fast-fashion, a pair of sturdy, hardy kicks is one of the best things you can plonk your money on. If kept in good nick, they last for decades. Undoubtedly, one of the first names that come to mind is Doc Martens.

The iconic brand prides itself on leather (or vegan equivalents) that can weather any weather, storm through any storm. But, the toughness it’s built around is seen in its fans as much as its footwear. It’s this human resilience, a desire to overcome hard times, that the new Tough As You campaign is all about. The team at DMs have assembled four artists that have slalomed around, leapt over and crushed life’s obstacles. Let’s meet them.

The first of the foursome is Mystery Jets captain and producer Blaine Harrison. A decade ago, an accident worsened a pre-existing condition called spina bifida: a gap in the spine that can make mobility difficult. Forced to tour in a wheelchair, the singer realised the dire state of accessibility in most venues. It was then that he started working with Attitude is Everything, and made an ace stand by refusing to play at venues that disabled people could not easily access.

Next is cult tattooist Sarah Lu. After holding down an office-based advertising job to rustle up money, she made a side-hustle her main occupation by becoming a stick ‘n’ poke tattoo artist (not like your mate does them, trust). After spending fifty hours on a considerable raven design, she started to get noticed. She now also volunteers at an orphanage in Vietnam and has indelibly made her mark on the tattoo world.

Equally, multi-talented is Nakhane. Having to endure growing up in a strict Christian family as a young gay man, he appeared in 2017 South African film The Wound. Its depiction of homosexuality led to him receiving death threats; but he persevered and has just released his second album. It’s beautiful, too; his silky vocals are washed in ethereal, atmospheric reverb, backed by minimalist, delicate instrumentals.

Completing the team? Badass black queer trio Sistren. Their candid podcasts started in 2015, opened up a dialogue around bisexuality and love, serving real talk to thousands of benefiting pairs of ears. Their main obstacle was the allegations made against Radar radio, their residency station. Rightfully taking them seriously, they left, taking their empowering discussions to Foundation.fm, a safe space for all minorities. We stan them, big time.

We love this campaign as it reflects two things crucial to our mag. Firstly, that all minorities should be given safe, supportive spaces in the arts, and that toxic platforms like Radar should be counteracted. Secondly, it celebrates hybridity, which we focused on in our last issue. From production to podcasts, movies to music, charity to chopstick tattooing – we more and more have to adapt to make our way in the art world, like DM’s tough four. Seize the day – and always seize tmrw.

Words by Kyle MacNeill

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