The history of subculture is a chronicle of being different. Back in the 1950s, when the first generation of teenagers fired up a youth revolution, their goal was to look and behave differently to their parents.
On the surface, the Griggs family of Northampton in the English Midlands was seemingly a part of this reviled establishment. Making boots since 1901 in the heartland of British shoe-making, the family was successful, established, respected. Scratch the surface a little, however, and it's clear that the Griggs clan actually possessed certain characteristics that would in the future become essential identifiers of any self-respecting youth phenomenon: they were free thinkers and they were different.
It was his spirit of innovation that coursed through Bill Griggs' veins as he sat in his Cobbs Lane office one day in the late 1950s flicking through an issue of Shoe and Leather News magazine, only for his eyes to fall upon an advert by a German duo looking for overseas partners for their revolutionary new air-cushioned sole.
Munich-based Dr Maertens and his university friend Dr Funck were also different. Inventors, mavericks, free-thinkers, ditto. In response to a foot injury on a ski-ing trip, they'd invented an air-cushioned sole and were looking for like-minded innovators. Griggs contacted Dr Maertens, a name was anglicized, a plan hatched and a legend born on April 1st, 1960.
When the first pair of Dr. Martens boots rolled off the production line on that day, it was on to a British high street where youth tribes were still a rarity. Not for long: the next four decades saw the time-bomb of subculture explode across the globe as a series of tribes sprang up from their respective undergrounds, each new incarnation heralding a burning desire to be different to what had gone before.