Ugg Australia is looking to collaborations to regain some of the hype it amassed during its heyday in the mid-2000’s. The California-based brand has tapped Jeremy Scott to kick off a string of partnerships with big-name designers, following a wave of underperformance as the boots, which Oprah helped skyrocket to fame in 2005 by including them on her annual 'Favorite Things' list, have waned in popularity over the years.
“Collaborations have been very popular for a long time, and we have done them in the past but never been that strategic in terms of what they can do for us as a business. This collaboration stretches what the brand stands for and what we can do design-wise,” Andrea O’Donnell, president of Ugg, told WWD this week.
Scott and Ugg have partnered on a collection of 8 limited-edition styles, which will make their debut on September 13 – during New York Fashion Week – and will retail for between $90 (for kids) and $1,195 "at select global retailers and at five North American retailers: Just One Eye, IntermixOnline.com, Serenella, Chuckies and David Lawrence." That collab will swiftly be followed up by an Ugg x 3.1 Phillip Lim partnership for men, which will debut in October.
And we can expect even more after that. Of future projects, O’Donnell said, “We are talking to a range of designers at the moment, either born in California or who have interesting stories to tell about what UGG has meant to them. We’re also looking to connect outside of ready-to-wear and footwear to heritage and craftsman companies, tech stories and industrial designers or makers of things.”
In addition to looking to designers, Ugg has tapped Lil Yachy, the 19-year old rapper, who Vogue coined "a kooky new kid on the fashion block" early this year, to help make its boots cool again. Yachty, who modeled for Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 show at Madison Square Garden and was tapped earlier this year by Nautica as a creative director/consultant for its brand, certainly only stands to help boost the profile of eyes in the eyes of younger consumers.
The brand's collab news comes on the heels of a minor resurgence of Ugg’s classic styles in 2015, when the brand tapped Kendall and Kylie Jenner to visit one of its New York-based brick and mortar stores and share their shopping photos on Instagram. The move – and subsequent Instagram posts – spawned quite a bit of traction amongst the fashion press and consumers, alike, but not enough to help ward off the brand’s fall from mid-millennial glory. In the 2000’s, the company was selling a pair if its Classic Boots every 8 seconds.
More recently, in March, the brand made headlines, as investment management firm Red Mountain Capital Partners announced that it is pushing the board of Deckers Outdoor Corp - Uggs' parent company - to explore a sale of the company. Red Mountain, which holds about 3.3 percent of Deckers' outstanding shares, said in the letter that the apparel maker's stock had underperformed across all major indices over the past three to five years.