Oi Polloi

Oi Polloi Clarks

Published: Fri Jan 27 2012

Q: What’s rarer than rocking horse shit? A: Unicorn skin shoes.
There’s a rarely seen creature quietly grazing the far flung corners of our collective dreamscape, other-worldly and mythical… You could be forgiven for assuming we’re on about the near-extinct Salford Sioux tribe once again, but no, our minds are on an even more outlandish path. Proper Dungeons & Dragons territory this one. Anyone who’s had a ‘poetry girlfriend’ or a mate who plays Games Workshop has probably guessed it’s name. For those of you who haven’t experienced either of those pleasures, we’d better tell you — we’re talking about that dainty looking horse with a daft spike attached to its napper, The Unicorn.
What’s this got to do with Oi Polloi you say? Stick with us — we’ll try and explain what we’re on about…
Unless you’re the type to go around pretending to be a wizard, putting upturned Cornettos on horses noses, it’s a fair bet you’ve never seen a unicorn. We’ve never seen one either, we’re just as dubious about the whole thing as you are. The Loch Ness monster? Pah, it’s a kilted joker messing about. Mermaids? Pretty fit (from the waist up) but nah, not real. Terrible film too. And as for the unicorn? Until recently the only unicorn we knew of was served in pubs and produced by Robinsons brewery, Stockport. This all changed when, during an evening on the aforementioned refreshment, a vision appeared instructing the recreation of an 
Oi Polloi footwear favourite — The Clarks Wallabee. Transcendent of fad or fashion, Wallys can be found on the feet of Jah followers and Geography teachers alike. How could we improve on something so near evolutionary perfection? The vision was clear; source raw materials that defy Darwin’s theory of evolution itself, unearthly materials that know no normal cellular or molecular genetics… Unicorn hides.
We took our idea to Clarks, initially they guffawed their way through a series of proper snot-bubble laughs, before informing us they would “sort it”, with a wink and a nod (and a call to security). But sure enough, when the supernatural shoes arrived, we took them out of the box and instantly felt light-headed in the presence of such purity and grace. Strangely reminiscent of elk hides, in pretty much every way (OK, literally every way), our unicorn Wallabees were a wondrous sight. The Oi Polloi Clarks Wallabees come in two lively hues, Dijon and Wasabi. Clarks won’t say what they fed the unicorns on to achieve such results (sushi and hotdogs?), but if Kobe beef cows can have a beer, “whatever’s clever”.

On further investigation, turns out the shoes aren’t made of real unicorn (they don’t exist, sorry). Clarks have managed the next best thing though, using ‘Unicorn Leather’ produced by specialist suede tanners. The raw hides are made from elk, which is part of the deer family (probably the closest thing to a unicorn?). The skins are collected throughout their indigenous areas, by working closely with local people, and processing only the hides and skins which become available as a result of normal culling procedures. As with all deer and antelope skins, the resulting leather is naturally very soft. Elks are of course wild animals, and as such, there are always going to be plenty of scars and scratches on the leather. The tannery have rightly made a feature of this natural quality, accentuating it with the use of aniline dying. Aniline dyed leathers are tumbled for up to 12 hours, in order to enhance the subtle variations of each hide and ensure a vibrant colour.

We’re chuffed to have locked (unicorn) horns with Clarks to produce these. Hopefully you’ll agree it’s been a worthwhile endeavor… everyone love’s a man in unicorn.

Oi Polloi Clarks Wallabee in Wasabi — take a closer look here

Oi Polloi Clarks Wallabee in Djon — take a closer look here