Canadian rubber boots, not at all fashionable, red-soled, fat legs, lined with cotton knit, been around forever. Worn with grey socks with a white top and a red line. And GWGs (founded 1911 in Edmonton, closed in 2004 assailed by the fashion jean market).
So much is about war: rubber boots in the trenches, GWG supplying 25,000 pieces of clothing per week to the Commonwealth forces of WWII. Fashion aside, having to supply millions of garments for the two world wars must have ramped up production unbelievably quickly. GWG replaced men with women, doubled its work force and built a second factory. After the war GWG went back to workwear – coveralls, jeans, jackets – but also gradually tilting into the fashion market: my first pair of jeans were GWG because it was all we could get, but even then they were not as desirable as Levi’s or Lee jeans bought across the border. The Guess Who wore GWGs, which sort of summed it up.
Rubber boots with red soles are still staples in fishing and logging, The rest of us, if you want boots that do not weigh a ton, are now sold Hunter boots, the British wellingtons, originally green rubbers taller than our boots, with buckles at the side, now more often found in pvc fashion colour knock-offs, hot pink, plaid and such, but with the important white and red rectangular label glued to the front top. By such nuances are ye known.
Am I working up to some sort of thought on nativism and the new vernacular? There are stores that cater to originals in a cult of the unfashionable but authentic. Kent of Inglewood is a local example: axes, straight razors and Geo F Trumper shaving soap in wooden bowls: ‘the brush, the razor, the axe’ is their tag line. The axe. Not sure I get it but it is all about being manly I think.