Future Focused Fashion with Timberland

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Since the 1970s, Timberland has been known for outdoor apparel and its famed Timberland boot which became an American cultural icon. Embedded within the Timberland brand story is a commitment to environmental sustainability and a vision for a greener future, not only within apparel but also with initiatives that put the planet first. 

Zara Overton caught up with their Newmarket Retail Manager, Minh Nguyen to learn more about the Timberland story and how the brand is trailblazing towards a better future.

N . Rich in heritage, the brand is well-known for outdoor design and craftmanship. Can you tell us where the Timberland brand originated from?

MINH. In 1973 our original waterproof boots called the “Timberland” were invented. They were rugged, well-crafted, and they withstood the elements setting new standards for waterproof performance in the footwear industry. They became equally popular with outdoor enthusiasts who needed protection in all conditions, and many others who just wanted a great looking pair of boots. These boots defined our brand and were so groundbreaking that in 1978 the entire company was renamed. Now we offer a full range of footwear, clothing and accessories for people who share the brand’s passion for enjoying – and protecting – nature.

N. Many are familiar with the iconic Timberland boot. What made it so famous?

M. The boot was never intended to be a fashion icon. It was made for hard-working New Englanders, rugged terrain, and wet weather. But by the mid-1980s, Timberland’s original waterproof boot had started to become popular in New York, initially for practicality but over time as a staple of urban hip-hop style which was on the rise. It also gained popularity throughout Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Today, the boot and brand are recognised around the globe.

N. Environmental responsibility and community is a huge focus for the brand, with sustainable technologies and tree planting as a key priority to building a greener future. Can you expand on how the brand is contributing to these initiatives?

M . At the heart of the Timberland brand is the core belief that a greener future is a better future. This comes to life through a decades-long commitment to make products responsibly, protect the outdoors, and strengthen communities around the world. The brand has committed to plant 50 million trees worldwide by 2025 and has a bold vision for its products to have a net positive impact on Nature by 2030, giving back more than they take. Each year we are introducing technologies and innovations that take us closer to this goal.

N. Timberland’s Newmarket store opened late last year, incorporating natural elements throughout. How does the new store fit-out convey the green ethos of the brand?

M . Timberland has focused on the side-effects we have on the environment for decades; the latest fit-out design incorporates all our learnings to date. We have a natural moss wall which is my favourite wall of the shop and live Ficus trees instore to help purify the air. All our display plinths tell a little story of their own: the fact we use organic cotton; recycled bottles make up our PET boot liners, leather from silver and gold rated tannery’s. The wood and stones instore are sourced locally, in fact the branches are all from our Retail Manager's parent's property...he just had to bribe them to do a little trimming.

N. Consumers have become more conscious and invested in the ethics and background of their garments/purchases. What are some of the steps Timberland has taken to make the product offering eco-friendlier and circular?

M. When we design a new boot, shoe, jacket, pair of laces, or even a T-shirt, it not only has to look great, but we also need to consider its impact on nature. We aim to not only minimise our impact on the environment through the products we make, but to someday become net positive. Innovations such as regenerative leather which comes from farms working to restore soil is just one example of this. Utilising Regenerative farming methods, animals graze around the land in a way that gives it a chance to rest and stimulate grasses to grow; these grasses pull carbon out of the air and store it in the soil, making it richer and healthier. Initiatives like Community CottonTM focus on helping build a stronger Haiti. We know where the cotton comes from, who grew it, and the impact it’s made. Plus, it’s grown using an agroforestry model that includes planting trees, so it also helps provide lasting benefits to the environment.

N. What is your go-to Timberland style?

M. I love the Timberland joggers, a poplin or cotton Oxford shirt and one of the many sneaker boot options. I'm on my feet all day for work, Muay Thai and photography; so I tend to go for something comfortable and long lasting on foot. Currently I have the new Supaway boot.

N. Favourite spot to grab a coffee in the precinct?

M. Teed Street Larder - great coffee and outdoor seating... key in the current Covid climate. My other favourite would be The Bean Cafe for their amazing burger and Ice Latte combos in the Summer!

N . What trends we will be seeing more of in 2022? 

M. In footwear we are definitely going to see rugged outdoor inspired boots continue to feature along with refined sneaker silhouettes for both men and women. Clothing-wise fleece and shearling fabrics are set to remain popular this winter!

N . What is the best part about having a store in Newmarket?

M. Newmarket has the best of both worlds; you have the modern shopping mall alongside the best of New Zealand’s high street retailers. It’s central to everything, has great coffee and can be accessed on all public transport. What’s not to like?

N. The brand frequently launches collaborations with brands like Jimmy Choo, BAPE and Aimé Leon Dore, and more
recently a collection with Tommy Hilfiger. Can you tell us about this collection?

M. The full assortment of clothing, footwear and accessories is a creative clash between the classic American DNA of TOMMY HILFIGER and TIMBERLAND’s authentic outdoor and work aesthetic. It celebrates the heritage of two brands that shaped the style and zeitgeist of the ‘90s. Drop 1-REMIX is a hybrid capsule that pays homage to the colourful signature styles of the time, celebrating the brands’ heritages and shared cultural influences; while Drop 2-REIMAGINE looks ahead to reshape the future by featuring more sustainable pieces that focus on pushing the boundaries of eco-innovation.

N. If you could invite 3 people to a dinner party (living or dead), who would you invite?

M. Elon Musk, Steve Jobs & Nikola Tesla. A room too smart for the likes of myself but, hearing the chaotic and innovative brainstorming of the three as I eat my 2 minute noodles would be amazing.

N. What’s next for Timberland?

M . This season promises to continue pushing the boundaries of eco-innovation and style. Our GreenStrideTM product family made with soles that are 75% bio-based with sugar cane and responsibly sourced natural rubber is set to expand. There are also some exciting new innovations that will be introduced later in the year. As always there are more collaborations with some of the world’s most popular and trending brands which we are pretty excited about. Watch this space!