For so long, Ugg has lived on the fringe of high fashion — even after a spring ‘17 collaboration with Preen by Thornton Bregazzi that comprised lace-veiled, bow-tied platform sandals, a significant departure from the brand’s signature shapeless sheepskin boots. But now, after a couple of headline-rocking appearances at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, it looks as though Ugg is finally being embraced by the fashion elite.
It started when designer Glenn Martens of buzzy streetwear label Y/Project made over Ugg in his patented boot’s image: lengthening it to hit the thigh, slouching it to a dramatic degree and outsizing its overall silhouette. It immediately divided the internet.
And most recently, Ugg found its second key collaborator in Sacai, a Japanese luxury brand favored by fashion’s most influential street-style stars and editors. Designer Chitose Abe presented her fall ’18 ready-to-wear men’s collection and, in a surprising move, chose Ugg to complete her layered, utilitarian-meets-streetwear looks. In gray or camel brown, these Uggs weren’t manipulated to an unrecognizable extent — they stayed true to the original but were truncated to a shin height and stitched with a chunky knit upper.
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As it turns out, Ugg’s choice in men’s ready-to-wear partners is part of a bigger strategic move. “We are doing many things at the moment on a macro level — building our spring-summer business. Men’s is incredibly important,” Andrea O’Donnell, president of fashion lifestyle brands for Ugg holding company Deckers Brands, told WWD. “We want to protect what we have, which is a special classic franchise, but we are also doing a lot to focus and reimagine Ugg with a fashion spin.” Goal achieved.