Nothing screams rebellious youth quite like a pair of boots manufactured in low-wage countries and financed by the private equity industry. Dr Martens lace-up boots became a symbol of British counterculture from the 1960s and fashionable footwear in the 1990s. Permira has used that legacy to boost profits and sales. The buyout firm hopes to capitalise on its success with plans to exit via a London listing.

Permira’s timing is as acute as Clash member Joe Strummer, who helped the shoe brand attain prominence. A 1990s fashion revival plus Dr Martens’ anti-authority pedigree has boosted sales during the recent spike in cultural activism. Corporations have been quick to support such movements — profits might be at risk otherwise. At the same time, buoyant stock markets will help Dr Martens achieve a high valuation. But investors with a longer view should question the sustainability of all three trends...

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