Hailing from the beaches of Byron Bay, Australia, UGG® founder Brian Smith never really meant to produce a fashion icon. He created the brand purely out of practicality. As a surfer, he needed a shoe to keep his feet warm before and after sessions out on the ocean.
In 1978, he considered the usefulness of sheepskin boots for surfers in California and he took the idea to the west coast of the USA. It became clear that the shoe would fit in with the laid-back, casual lifestyle and the UGG® brand was born.
By the mid-1980s, the boots could be found in surf shops up and down the California coast.
During the 1990s, celebrities like Pamela Anderson were photographed wearing UGG® boots. Deckers Brands purchased UGG® with a new marketing strategy, targeting high-end distributors and weeding out discounters. The collection started to expand and soon graced the pages of Vogue.
It was in 2000 when Oprah Winfrey showcased a pair of UGG® boots on her annual “Favorite Things” show. The impact was instantaneous. The “Classic Boot” became an icon of casual fashion, appearing everywhere in popular culture, from the off-duty life of Kate Moss to teenagers at the mall. The demand was unrivaled. People joined waiting lists, lined up outside of stores, and cleared shelves within minutes. Never before had there been such a magical combination of a boot that was practical and comfortable yet highly fashionable.
Soon after, the brand expanded to include new categories of footwear, including sneakers and sandals, all in the name of comfort.
In the mid-2000s, its popularity went international. UGG® opened flagship stores in London, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
Reinstating that the brand is ideal for both men and women, UGG® partnered with quarterback Tom Brady in 2011. One year later, the first UGG® for Men store opened in New York City.
Aside from all the talk about trends or appearances, the main factor that has allowed UGG® to flourish is as simple as comfort. Its luxurious feel is achieved by using only premium materials and employing the highest standards of craftsmanship.
UGG® uses only the finest, luxuriously soft Grade-A Twinface sheepskin in the world. The sheepskin must bear uniformity and a flawless, fine-grained texture. When it comes to sourcing the wool, there needs to be an even thickness across the entire piece.
Interchangeable dual insoles offer a refreshing opportunity to choose between a traditional cushioned insole or a luxurious, natural wool insole.
UGG® also sources the finest leathers and employs a range of finishing processes to bring out the natural beauty of the grain. From top sprays to shoe creams and waxes, the leather is enhanced to look bolder and sharper. Then the ultra-soft traditional cow suede acts as a rich counterpart.
Depending on the materials used to make each boot, the Silkee Suede leather is another option that offers breathable, water-resistant materials fit for wet weather.
Commonly referred to as “pony hair,” the calf hair leather receives chrome tanning for a recognizable, high-gloss sheen. Classic Cardy knits feature a heathered Merino-wool blend to achieve that cozy, warm feeling.
It’s all in the details with UGG®, especially when it comes to the logo-etched wood buttons, shimmering Swarovski® Elements crystals, and stonewashed buckles and studs.
As one of the leaders in the ethical supply chain for consumer goods, UGG® does not use sheepskin unless it is a byproduct of the meat industry.