Aleali May On Bringing California Cool to Clarks' Classic Wallabee
We caught up with the LA native to find out more about the new collaboration.
Kitting out the classic kicks in an all-over corduroy construction, May’s distinctive vision reimagines the Wallabee in a range of sunset tones, ranging from vibrant orange to sunny yellow. Imagining “a perfect day at the beach with the homies,” May’s collaboration oozes comfort and cool. “I wanted to create a sense of nostalgia, but this time, living in color, inspired by LA’s ‘golden hour’ by the beach,” she tells Hypebae.
We caught up with the LA native to find out more about the inspiration behind the collaboration and what’s next to come in the May universe.
Scroll down to read the full interview.
Your new collaboration with Clarks Originals sees you bringing a bit of Californian flair to the classic Wallabee. How would you describe California style?
California style is laid back. Styles vary from bright hues of colors to even browns and blacks. And depending on where you grew up, you have to be prepared for sudden changes as we usually have cooler nights and early mornings, even longer drives. I feel like there need to be way more books on the ranges of California style and how style does exist in such a spread-out land.
What can you tell us about the process of blending the laid-back aesthetic with Clarks Originals?
For me, this laid-back aesthetic comes naturally. My personal style can range from laid back at home to fashion week in Paris. With this specific collab, I thought of how I can wear this, in both ways. Something people can create a dope fit with, and can also catch a vibe while relaxing.
What drew you to the Wallabee silhouette specifically?
Growing up in South Central, LA, during the 90s-2000s, watching music videos and reading magazines or seeing some of my family members with great style, I’ve always learned first-hand the range of trends down to the classics. Clarks has always been a classic with groups like Wu-Tang, making them desirable to young fashion kids like myself. So for me, adding a touch of my own wave onto the Wallabee boot is so iconic.
Corduroy makes up a big part of the collection, why did you choose that fabric?
If you look at my first Jordan collaboration, I take inspiration from South Central, LA ’90s style with using corduroy. The corduroy draws inspiration from the house slipper my family would wear and buy from the Slauson Super Mall. In true LA culture, this shoe is an everyday house slipper mostly sported in black.
The color palette for the collection ranges from Pacific Blue and Terracotta to Sand, Sunshine and Coral. What can you tell us about the decisions behind these color choices?
For my collection with Clarks, I wanted to create a sense of nostalgia, but this time, living in color, inspired by LA’s “golden hour” by the beach. A more calming and washed sunset than a neon prime time on the East. The blue color way represents the water, while the sand is self-titled. Imagining the perfect day at the beach with the homies.
The campaign sees a range of incredibly talented individuals taking center stage. Why did you choose them? How did you choose them?
The talent in this campaign is a reflection of my environment. Everyone is young, grinding, understanding the challenges and triumphs of being a youth, and from LA! Community for me is important, and the more we see each other being represented, the more we can uplift the next generation to go for their dreams. There has been some of the most talented people coming out of LA time and time again. With campaigns like this, we celebrate and motivate. Like the Great Nipsey says, “Hussle & Motive!”
Who is this collection for? Who do you hope will gravitate towards it?
This collection is for anyone who wants to have more options for their closets. Who want to feel fresh and start their day off with an outfit that helps them feel good whether you’re wearing sweats or some fly denim.
Finally, what are some of your future plans in terms of design and collaboration. What’s next?
I’m looking forward to releasing more designs and collaborations in the near future. I have a few Easter eggs on my ‘gram but will hint more in due time… Until then, I’m so excited to be able to design my first Clark’s shoe, in my favorite silhouette, in an array of colors, all at the same time! My uniform at the moment has definitely been my MAYDE ribbed tanks while switching colors of my Clarks collab.