Uggs, like Crocs, are the rare shoe style that seems immune to the normal rules of fashion: After a meteoric rise, the shoes have managed to withstand the ebb and tide of trends, instead becoming an industry mainstay.
The Telegraph digs into the history of the brand, noting that though their creation story is cloudy, they most likely arrived on U.S. shores in the late 1970s on the feet of Australian surfers. Their rise to faddishness came much later, after the brand was acquired in 1995 by Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
Despite negative chatter from the fashion set about the shoe’s unstylish appearance, Ugg’s popularity hasn’t seemed to wane since. Writer Emily Cronin reports that, “This year, Ugg Australia is on track to record more than $800 million in sales, representing 80 per cent of Deckers’ total full-year revenue.” And this success hasn’t come in the U.S. alone — the brand saw amazing success with its expansion into Asia.
Sure, there’s been some backlash. And the brand’s blockbuster sales have led to a slew of knockoffs and imitations: Ugg recently sued Emu for “deliberately confusing customers;” the Telegraph reports that “Deckers’ brand-protection efforts rely on ‘hundreds’ of investigators, lawyers and police officers” to keep counterfeiters in check.
As Cronin finds, the secret to Ugg’s continued success is that their product is, well, supremely comfortable. Customers, who continue to line up for hours to enter Ugg flagships in New York and London, don’t seem to care that the boots have been criticized for being frumpy and unflattering.
But what do you think? Could wearing something deemed sloppy for so long actually be a kind of subversive statement?