Thirty years ago, photographer, Jamie Morgan with his friend and collaborator, Ray Petri showed up at the offices of street culture magazine, The Face, with a new editorial.
The pair had produced work for the magazine before, but this time was different – it was to be game changing. A black and white photo of an intense thirteen-year-old boy called Felix, with the eyes of a gangster, stared out from the front cover – the word ‘Killer’ pinned to his hat. This, together with the models from the streets and androgynous figures that populated the pages, was the start of a style revolution; the killer image would become an icon of the era.
But Buffalo was about much more than style. It was an attitude and a way of life that emerged from London’s post punk melting pot of cultures, tribes and individuals – the outsiders in Thatcher’s Britain. These were people cast in the same mould, with the same attitude as the diverse, self-expressive rebels who first wore and continue to wear Dr. Martens. The name was inspired by underdogs, like the black infantrymen of Bob Marley’s ‘Buffalo Soldier’. It began as a collective of artists, models, photographers and musicians held together by the force of nature (and first person to call himself a stylist), Ray Petri. It became a turning point for the entire fashion industry.
Ray collided high fashion with uniforms, tribal costumes and sports gear. He collaged myriad influences but created distinctive, consistent looks of which Dr. Martens boots and shoes were a key component. Suddenly, a boy in a trench coat and boxer shorts or a sarong could look tough and empowered.
Fashion moves so quickly and yet Buffalo’s influence is ever-present. This rebellious self-expression became timeless in its authenticity and cultural relevance. For AW15, Dr. Martens have taken inspiration from the Buffalo movement and its styling. Technical fabrics have replaced traditional leathers and monochrome styles sit alongside rugged utility wear with bulbous toes and padded collars to mimic Buffalo styling.
To mark this 30th anniversary, Jamie Morgan, Barry Kamen and Dr. Martens have joined forces to create a contemporary interpretation of this pioneering and enduring style with a collection of striking images and a film narrated by original Buffalo girl, Neneh Cherry, documenting both the historic and modern influence of Buffalo and how Dr. Martens were an integral part of this enduring movement.
Shop the collection at Dr. Martens Manchester, 35 Market Street, M1 1WR or at www.drmartens.com.