Timberland Takes a Walk Down to the Docks

For its newest collection, the New Hampshire company finds inspiration in New England’s wild weather.


Clockwise from left: Timberland’s ‘Mount Davis M65’ men’s waxed-canvas jacket, $198; creative director Chris Pawlus; ‘Stoddard’ leather tote bag, $258; ‘Joslin’ women’s nubuck-leather chukka boots, $120. / Courtesy Photos

When you think of Timberland boots, maybe you picture construction workers shuffling around in that telltale yellow nubuck leather. Or maybe you picture Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, and Justin Bieber stylishly sporting them with distressed jeans. After all, the New Hampshire company’s signature shoes have been a streetwear staple for decades, worn by the likes of the Notorious B.I.G. and Queen Bey.

For its new spring 2016 collection, the brand drew inspiration from close to home, paying homage to the unpredictable weather of New England as well as modern life in a waterfront city. The line is influenced by what the company calls the “Wharf District”—those liminal downtown spaces where the gritty past and sleek future collide. “The urban space that’s being converted to be made modern is a metaphor for Timberland’s industrial heritage,” says Timberland creative director Chris Pawlus. This translates to fashion-forward pieces crafted from weathered leather and rustic textures, with an added rugged element built in: Many of the collection’s outerwear and accessories were made waterproof to endure even the worst storms.

Now a player on the fashion scene, Timberland has made a point of catering to a distinct utilitarian style and clients who don’t want to change outfits as they maneuver between work and play. “People are commuting and blurring the lines of different wearing occasions,” Pawlus says. “Young people from Boston are effortlessly on the move and want to be adaptive and versatile, but might not want to stand out as the boldest trendsetter. They don’t want to make any stylistic compromises.”