The UGG classic sheepskin boot has been a staple for fashionistas since becoming a household name back in 2000, when Oprah Winfrey’s annual “Oprah’s Favorite Things” made it a must-have brand and 350 members of her studio audience took home a pair. It was already a hit with celebrities keeping their toes warm on the set between takes, including Kate Upton, Blake Lively, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker, who wore them on them on HBO’s Sex and the City as Carrie Bradshaw.
— UGG (@UGG) July 19, 2016
No long called UGG Australia but simply UGG, the Deckers-owned brand has just released its first update in 38 years, Classic II, reimagining its first iconic boot design with innovative technology to make them water- and stain-resistant, with better traction and overall lighter weight for increased wearability.
“This is without a doubt the biggest launch UGG has ever undertaken in its 38-year history,” stated Dave Powers, President and CEO of Deckers Brands, owner of UGG. “Updating a product as iconic as the Classic was a big decision. However, after listening to what our consumers want we knew it was time.”
Maintaining the look and feel of the original (and widely-mimicked) Classic, a pre-treated sheepskin upper protects against water and stains while a Treadlite by UGG outsole gives increased traction, durability and flexibility. A new logo and leather heel plate complete a refined finish.
“This is a big moment for the brand as it is not just about celebrating the launch of a new boot; it marks the start of a whole new line of products you will soon start to see from the brand,” said Powers, excited to be relaunching a fashion icon—a process that started with the Classic Slim last year—and weathering a recent slump.
Although its original design and logo of UGG Australia might lead fans to believe it’s an Australian brand, UGG was actually founded in California in 1978, created by Aussie expat surfer Brian Smith to warm the feet of other surfers in his adopted homeland. (He even wrote a book about it, titled The Birth of a Brand: Launching Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Soul.)
Deckers bought UGG Australia in 1995, and long before its 2014 global brand campaign (“This is UGG”) to educate consumers, started trademarking the UGG name and brand in the US and more than 130 other countries for footwear, bags, clothing, outerwear, home goods and other products—and has been suing Ugg-named sheepskin boot manufacturers in Australia (where sheepsking boots are also known as Ughs and are considered somewhat daggy) for years.
Ugg has sold so many products – mostly footwear, but also clothing and home goods – that there are 3.7 items for every woman in America; 3.0 for every woman in the UK; 2.1 for Japan. (This doesn’t include the 2.5 million pairs of counterfeit Uggs have been seized since 2007.) After a brief dip earlier this decade – when the haters proclaimed the long-overdue death of the Ugg – sales are climbing again: in 2014-15, Ugg sales were up 12.6% on the previous year, to $1.49bn, according to the most recent earnings report from Deckers Brands, the California-based footwear company that has owned Ugg since 1995.
Now the Classic II is being promoted by the brand’s global women’s ambassador, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The Classic II Mini, Classic II Short and Classic II Tall are now available at UGG retail locations and online, selling for $140, $160 and $200 respectively.
“When I started modeling one of the first things I ever purchased was a pair of Classic boots as comfort to me is everything,” says Huntington-Whiteley. “The updated Classic offers the same immediate comfort but now with an edgier, street style appeal that can be worn indoors or out.”
Leah Larson, VP/Creative Director at UGG also commented, “As a global icon, it was essential the aesthetic of the original UGG Classic Boot was preserved. The new Classic maintains the same premium craftsmanship our consumers know and love, whilst addressing their needs for increased innovation, technology and most importantly, wearing occasions.”
Or as Teen Vogue notes, “In the early aughts, UGG boots were the ultimate wardrobe staple. You’d be hard-pressed to find a girl who didn’t wear her UGGs each day, pairing the boots with everything from mini skirts to Juicy Couture tracksuits.” And of course, “With Juicy Couture’s latest tracksuit re-launch, it’s only right that UGG update its original style.”