By Jure P.
The UGG Australia Revolution
Popular culture is a growing and ever changing phenomenon. Through this phenomenon many sub-cultures are created. One of those sub-cultures created in the fashion industry was the uprising of the UGG boots.
The UGG Australia story began in 1978 when Brian Smith, a young Australian surfer, brought over a bag full of sheepskin boots. In his first year he had sold only 28 pairs, now these boots are a must have for teenage girls to house moms alike. But what most people don’t know is that these UGG boots were originally made for California style surfer guys. So how did this boot, made for guys, get into this mainstream must have pop-culture?
What made this boot really take of was when people saw them on the famous and fashion-forward feet of Kate Hudson and Oprah Winfrey. They even went as far as sponsoring the 3-time super bowl champion, Tom Brady. What started out as a boot for surfers to wear after a session to warm up their feet, was in a matter of weeks the largest selling shoe in the country. So what makes these boots so special? Lorrie Grant from USA Today, is quoted saying “it was impossible to anticipate the surge for such a shapeless (but oh so comfortable) boot for women.” But these boots were not meant for women, they were originally designed for men. So how can we establish why these low-key surfer boots made it to the world of high/luxury fashion world. This simple shape, which is iconic, makes them so easy to wear and match with any outfit. Once people saw the stars who would wear these simple and comfy boots, they were bound for glory. The UGG Australia website now even claims that they are trying to be considered as one of the world high-end, luxury foot brands.
Deckers Outdoor Corporation purchased UGG Australia in 1998 and after that the UGG boot took off. From a starting out with a simple sheepskin boot, the company started producing shoes, slippers, and winter boots. They started making several colors of UGG boots that were going on Ebay for close to $400. But one thing that UGG never really got into was TV advertising.
I think it would be important to study this type of phenomenon because we see it everyday. Another great example would be the Vans checkerboard slip-on. This shoe was originally designed for skaters. Now you can see them worn by just about any Hollywood actress. This ties in to appropriation in a way. Though these products were not re-appropriated, they were re-established for a new audience.