Why we can’t seem to get rid of the Ugg boot
Who would have thought that the boot labeled as unanimously uncool in the late 2010s would end up making it back to the favorites list. For the most part, just hearing the word Ugg brings cranky flashbacks to the days of bad fashion choices and questionable tabloids. Those days have apparently been long forgotten, as the Uggs have once again received the cool girl stamp of approval.
Since its conception, Ugg has been favored for its practicality rather than for its style. Originally founded in 1978, the insulated sheepskin boot was a favorite with surfers in Australia to keep their feet warm in the cold and cool in the heat. A wild concept because a soggy, sandy Ugg boot doesn’t look appealing! Their popularity, however, continued to grow to the point that Brian Smith and Doug Jensen took notice. The two friends applied to become US distributors for Australia’s leading ugg boots manufacturer, Country Leather, and with a bag full of sheepskin boots and a passport, they headed to sunny California. Soon after, the duo decided to start their own business and the Ugg brand was officially born.
Recognition for the shoe brand began to form in 1994. Many began to notice the boot during the Winter Olympics after many members of the US team wore the shoe. Not only that, but the same year Pamela Anderson was released wearing the Ugg with her famous red swimsuit. Just six years later, the once-unknown shoe company would become the billion dollar brand and fashion sensation it is today.
The official brand craze began in 2000 when Oprah advertised Ugg boots as one of her “favorite things”. (Love the power she has). Soon after, celebrities started sporting the classic sheepskin-lined boot everywhere from airports to red carpets. Paparazzi photos poured in from fashion icons like Paris Hilton and Kate Moss, proving that these boots could be worn for any occasion or anytime. Fortunately, these images have been saved for the history books.
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After being accepted into the fashion world, Ugg opened its first store in New York in 2006, with new additions of colors and styles. Slippers, clogs, sandals and calf length variations were all presented to the public and continued to reign supreme. That is until 2013. The brand’s slander began after it was called “basic” and overall just an unappealing shoe by various social media platforms. Throughout history, the Ugg has been abandoned as quickly as it has grown. While the brand still struggled to survive, having released various collections since 2015, nothing really seemed to have a spark.
Now, two decades since Ugg entered the scene, shoes have risen from the dead. Nostalgia of course plays an important role in this regard. Now that 2000s fashion is a major source of inspiration for today’s street styles, once-beloved brands of this era can facilitate a return to popularity. This, combined with the practicality of the shoes, sealed the deal for a revival. With the majority of celebrities and the public staying at home in quarantine, it was obvious to return to the comfort of slippers and slides. The Ugg boot was supposed to make an appearance. With additional help from models and now fashion editor, Andre Leon Talley becoming ambassadors for the new ultra mini boot, Uggs are now back on everyone’s radar and in everyone’s baskets.
The Ugg boot has seen drastic transformations since its generation-defining launch. To commemorate this historic event, here are some of the defining moments in Ugg boot fashion.