Feng Chen Wang is all about practicality. The Chinese-born, London-based designer creates plenty of garments that fall into that design ethos.
So when Ugg asker her to collaborate as part of the brand’s “Feel You” campaign (which also included news of its forthcoming partnership with Telfar Clemens and some groovy platforms courtesy of Molly Goddard), Wang took a similar approach to the brand’s classic boot, using her “future modern” philosophy a new design that debuted this week.
“Future modern for me is not just about designing a garment. It’s about a lifestyle and how we see our lifestyle changing. It’s thinking about how I can connect design to that lifestyle,” Wang told FN in a video interview from Shanghai during Shanghai Fashion Week.
Wang’s first concern was the weather: The designer knew that the collaboration would debut in April and wondered how she could create an interpretation of the classic boot that was also weather appropriate. “When I was a teenager, I was studying in Beijing. In the winter it’s quite cold, lots of snow. So everything in my memory about Ugg is only about boots in the winter,” said Wang. “Bu I thought, ‘In April, it’s going to be warm, how can I use a classic boot then? I don’t want to design a totally different thing, I still want to keep the classic shape and color and material.”
The result was a three-in-one boot that allows the wearer to convert the shoe from a boot (in Ugg’s classic short silhouette) to a sporty sandal and even to a slipper, from its molded shearling liner.
The design is a quintessential example of how Wang approaches design within her own label, which focuses on unisex garments with technical finishes. The Ugg boot is indeed unisex and uses technical details such as reflective piping plus adjustable nylon straps to accommodate any shape of foot.
“It’s easier with a jacket, it can be oversized. But footwear is especially difficult,” said Wang. “How do you do create one style in all these sizes and shapes? It’s more about the design process and how can this pair work for everyone.”
Ugg x Feng Chen Wang. Unisex products are a focus for the Chinese designer.
Designing the shoe during the pandemic also helped Wang consider what the future of fashion could and should look like in a post-pandemic world.
“Every brand is now talking about sustainability more and consumers are now thinking about it. It’s a huge investment and you are spending more time developing just one product,” said Wang. “I like the idea of buying one pair (of shoe) and wearing them through different seasons. Less is more here.”
Wang’s collaboration with Ugg is available now.
To buy: Ugg x Feng Chen Wang sandal, $325.