UGG have already blown our minds this year with an update to the Classic UGG boots that we have loved since 2001, and now the brand is taking things even further.
A few months ago we told you that UGG was discontinuing its popular Classic boot style and replacing it with the Classic II, which had a few additional features and a slightly new look.
Not content with simply changing the soles and adding a waterproof finish to one of its favourites, UGG have gone and pushed the boat right out by introducing a whole new limited edition line of Classic boots.
Enter, the Limited Edition Crystal Rock Cheap UGG boot…
The tall boot is encrusted with over 10,000 hand crafted crystals from Swarovski and comes in super cute black or blue shades.
Unfortunately for us mere muggles, there are only 28 pairs of these pimped-up UGGs available to buy in the UK – from Harrods, obvs – and if you do manage to get your hands on a pair, they will cost you £300.
So maaaaybe not one to add to the Christmas list just yet.
Cast your mind back to 2002 and, chances are, the predominant image that will pop into your mind is the UGG boot, otherwise known as the shoe version of a hangover.
It was a boot that gloried in being ugly, that left us all walking on the ankles, went soggy the second it rained and never recovered, but was so comfortable, we forgave it all those sins and determinedly carried on wearing them anyway (sometimes with mini skirts, which made absolutely no sense).
Well, that boot is back.
Last week, Alexa Chung announced her collaboration with the brand and, with that, sealed what the fashion world has been attempting to do for a good year now: she made UGGs viable again.
Now, for all the naysayers out there that remember 2002 and greet this with horror, I hear you.
Rebooting a shoe once known as ‘slag wellies’ hardly feels like a crowning moment for anyone. But this is where you are going wrong.
The return of the UGG outlet is actually good news for all of us, as half of Vogue’s editorial team has already discovered. How can you argue with Vogue? Answer: you can’t.
Sure, they may have lacked in obvious style, durability and any form of water-proofing, but that’s all changed with the launch of the UGG 2.0, which actually keeps water out, and a ‘luxe’ take on the classic that has a slimmer profile and promises to keep its shape. What is this if not magic and wizardry?
And let’s not forget that cheap UGGs are so far the only shoes to date that have managed to make wearing slippers to work legitimate, which is no small thing.
That’s basically why half the western world started wearing them in the first place and then didn’t take them off for the whole of 2002-2003.
You may scoff now, with your structured footwear that doesn’t collapse in on itself within a week of use, but come January and the New Year hangover, you’ll be grateful for that soft, fluffy lining that is capable of keeping the cold out like no other.
Besides, the return of the UGG UK is about more than just the boot itself anyway; it marks a bigger fashion movement that is going on this season: to bring back functional and wearable clothing that you might actually welcome putting on when you peel yourself out of bed in the morning.
See also the oversized everything, down-filled puffer jackets and sleeves so long they finish a good foot after your fingers do.
Casual observers could point out all these clothes can be hideously ugly too and that maybe that’s the real movement the UGG is a part of, but let’s ignore those dissenting voices and focus instead on the perks: fashion is being kind to us and giving us trends we actually want to wear, for once, and that’s something to be grateful for.
— Fashion’s new obsession with unaesthetically pleasing shoes speaks volumes about designers’ mindsets
Can Alexa Chung make Ugg boots cool again? Chung has been hired as artistic director for a new photo shoot for the label. And the brand – forever associated with the fag end of early 00s celebrity culture – is clearly hoping Chung can sprinkle the same magic pixie dust that she did for Marks & Spencer.
Uggs have been attempting to make their way out of TMZ infamy and associations with Britney in recent years with celebrity associations. Hailey Baldwin modelled in a campaign and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was appointed as the women’s ambassador. Chung, for her part, has publicly called cheap Uggs “a classic, something along the lines of a Barbour jacket”. Yet still the stigma remains, not to mention their appearance: a soft, large and lumbering Yeti foot that’s the exact opposite of the streamlined silhouette that has come to define women’s shoes. But there’s a change afoot.
The news that sales of trainers had overtaken that of high heels (37% of women bought trainers compared to the 33% who bought shoes with a heel) and that Birkenstock was the most searched-for shoe on Google in the summer, suggested a shift away from glamour and towards utility and practicality. Street style celebrities and members of the Frow wore classic Old Skool Vans trainers during fashion week, while on the actual catwalk a high proportion of “ugly” shoes dominated. Christopher Kane, whose theme was Make, Do and Mend, featured Crocs at his London show decorated with precious stones such as sodalite, red leopard, malachite, diaspro and zebra Jasper. While Maison Margiela featured an elevated hiking sandal featuring velcro straps and multicoloured patchwork. Additionally, both Rick Owens and Balenciaga took the boot shape and reworked it: Owens created a Muppet-like crushed boot, while a feature of the Balenciaga collection was pointed boots featuring a strong line of fabric .
Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma show featured a raised trainer in baby pinks and whites, recalling Baby Spice’s moonboot platforms. While platform heels – the uncool 70s throwback associated with early Abba – were also present at the Sacai and Vivienne Westwood shows.
But why are ugly shoes making a comeback? The boundaries of what is considered tasteful or not are constantly shifting season to season with a movement towards the geeky and normcore extreme. With that, the shoe detail has become a calling card for designers to express their humour and their rejection of traditional tastefulness. As Diana Vreeland famously said: “We need a splash of bad taste … no taste is what I’m against.”
There’s nothing quite like cooling temperatures, shorter days, and the arrival of pumpkin spice-flavored everything to get us in the mood for fall. And that’s the exact mood we were in Thursday night, when we joined iconic footwear brand Ugg and its first-ever global brand ambassador, actress and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, for an intimate dinner at Little Beach House in Malibu, Calif., for a kick-off celebration for their fall collection.
While the blonde bombshell and street style aficionado of course gabbed all about her love for cheap Ugg boots, she definitely had more to talk about than just footwear; she also dished on the life-changing experience she got to cross off her bucket list this summer—and let’s just say, she gave us all the feels.
Huntington-Whitely, the fiancée of hot Brit actor Jason Statham, has gone on the record more than once to say that her love affair with Ugg boots began at age just 16, when she saved up to buy her first pair. And although these famously furry boots have been an It-girl status symbol for more than a decade, the brand has somehow been able to adapt and adjust to stay on top.
“What’s so cool about the brand is that it’s kind of reinventing itself,” Huntington-Whiteley told InStyle. “They’ve always kind of been a staple in off-duty dressing, and that off-duty style is such a big thing. Especially with social media, we’re seeing a lot more of it and I love seeing different women’s style.”
And as for those select few who we’d consider experts in off-duty style, Huntington-Whiteley, who wore an impossibly chic sequined Rachel Zoe dress with a pair of black Ugg boots, definitely tops the list. The snaps she shared frolicking about with her adorable dogs and generally living the life on Instagram all summer were nothing short of envy inducing. But her summer travels included more than just leisurely vacations—she took a life-changing trip that changed her perspective on the world around her.
“In the summertime, you tend to go away and party, but this time I really wanted to do something that was a bit more meaningful, so I went to southern Africa to an area called Lesotho for a UNICEF trip,” the English model shared. “I’ve been working with UNICEF now for a few years and they asked me to visit Lesotho where there’s unfortunately a really bad case of drought and a lot of HIV in the area, so I went to a lot of the health centers and hospitals, and just to really see the work that UNICEF is doing and how they’re helping people over there.” An angel with a heart of gold, swoon.
But it wasn’t all work and no play for Huntington-Whiteley. While in Africa, she also got to cross one super special experience off of her bucket list. “I was lucky enough to take a couple-day safari afterwards, so I went to South Africa to the Kruger Park, which is like a bucket list thing—if you can do it in your lifetime, I really, really, recommend it,” she gushed. “It’s a deeply grounding and spiritual experience to see animals in the wild and in their environment, and just to get to observe them. It makes you feel very small and really it’s a humbling experience.” Consider it added to our laundry list of must-visit destinations!
No matter how great your idea is, starting a new business is hard work.
No one knows this better than Brian Smith, founder of Ugg Australia and author of “The Birth Of A Brand,” who worked tirelessly for years to make the now ubiquitous sheepskin boot part of American culture.
Though Uggs can be found in every mall in America these days, they didn’t start out as a hit. After ordering his first samples in 1979, Smith spent months traveling door to door pitching the boots to surf shops and selling them out of a van at surf competitions.
By the mid ’80s, the trend caught on, elevating Smith’s idea from a small business to a multimillion-dollar company. He ended up selling the business to footwear company Deckers in 1995 for an estimated $14.6 million, but Ugg is still thriving and can still be found at most major retailers today.
Smith recently shared some of his business insights at the 2016 Small Business Summit and in an interview with Business Insider. Smith says these six key characteristics define successful entrepreneurs.
Smith ran into several major obstacles while building cheap Ugg Boots, including the fact that it was only popular in the winter and that Americans didn’t understand the durability of sheepskin in any weather, making it a hard sell as a winter shoe. But his lack of prior knowledge is what kept him going. “Had I known about all these barriers and roadblocks, I would have given up,” he says. “The ignorance is what made it happen.” Going in blind forces entrepreneurs to believe in their product no matter what hardships they come up against.
They have perseverance.
If you truly believe in an idea — and you stick with it — eventually other people will believe in it, too. “Perseverance is what you need because there’s a tipping point, and if you can make it to that period, everything else sort of flows,” Smith says.
When Uggs didn’t catch on at first, Smith had an easy out: He could sell off his remaining inventory and cut his losses. Instead, he committed himself, personally pitching Uggs sale to surf shops and working odd jobs during the off-season to keep himself afloat. Soon enough, he reached the tipping point, and Ugg caught on as a national brand.
They know their audience.
In an effort to appeal to the same wide audience that department stores commanded, Smith created glamorous magazine advertisements featuring models frolicking in cheap Uggs. However, after several months, the ads had failed to gain traction, so Smith asked his surf buddies for feedback. Their thoughts: “Those ads are so fake! Those models can’t surf!” Smith realized his ads weren’t appealing to his core audience, and he started featuring up-and-coming surfers in the boots, using pictures he took himself for the ads. Within two months, sales climbed from $30,000 to $400,000.
They start small.
Getting as many people as possible to see and buy your product is a logical way to gain success. However, it’s impossible to immediately appeal to a mainstream market — you have to start with a small audience and grow outward from there.
Smith started out pedaling his boots to major retailers, such as Nordstrom, in hopes of reaching a mainstream audience. However, he failed to realize that he needed to get them in the smaller, niche surf shops first since his product was originally targeted specifically at surfers. Once the shoes started gaining popularity with an authentic surfer audience, they started to catch on with those outside the surf crowd as well.
They love what they do.
Above all else, Smith believes a genuine passion for the work is what makes an entrepreneur successful. “If you love it, no matter what happens, you’ll get through it,” he says. “You have to really love what you’re doing and know that there’s a potential for it. That’s what keeps you true to the mission.”
In the mid ’80s, Smith brought on new investors, with each holding equal shares of the company. Smith soon realized that with his now reduced 25% equity stake, he had lost control of the business. Still, he stuck with Ugg outlet, and began working as a salesman, slowly earning more and more through commission and eventually returning to the corporate level. Because he truly believed in his product, he was willing to do whatever it took to make the company successful.
They know when to step back.
Smith’s No. 1 rule for entrepreneurs is to love what you do, which means stepping back when it comes to the tasks that remove the joy from a project. Yes, every entrepreneur will be faced with unglamorous tasks they don’t want to take care of, but it’s important to know the difference between little annoyances and major responsibilities. For Smith, this meant delegating administrative work and focusing on his strengths in sales.
Instead of forcing himself to fill a role he’s not meant for, he passes it on. Even though it might be difficult to hand off part of your pet project to someone else, successful entrepreneurs recognize when they aren’t the best person for the job and pass it on to whoever that may be.