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It’s an Uggs game

by Ace Damon
Departure: Leonardo DiCaprio in 2002.

There was a time when the Ugg boot crossed the earth like a colossus. They were the moccasins-cum-gazelles of their time. It was the early nineties and they were worn by Kate Moss and Beyonce and even made Oprah's coveted list of Favorite Things. But then, in a kind of slow-motion version of the time, Danniella Westbrook wore all Burberry (purse, skirt, baby skirt, baby carriage) and killed the check with a photo-op, the fur-colored fairy dust. mutton Uggs used. once sprinkled it became dirty.

Something miraculous is happening. Uggs posted a 350% increase in online searches last year

They became the Cheetos-covered uniform of evil Hollywood girls like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. Heat magazine regulars, including Chantelle Houghton, used them.

Walking the streets of Clapham in South London in the mid-1920s was crossing a sea of ​​boho-impenitence led by Ugg. Pashminas, Gypsy blouses, bootcut jeans, toe rings, the sound of James Blunt's You Are Beautiful, coming out of all apartment-sharing windows after college. And Ugg boots. So many Ugg boots, absolutely everywhere. A sea of ​​muddy brown that stretches as far as the eye can see, except for the occasional Ugg bracelet that seemed to have been made in a self-care workshop in a gap year.

Exit: Leonardo DiCaprio in 2002. Photo: Action Press / REX / Shutterstock

In 2012, the Ugg boot became synonymous with the so-called “basic bitch”: a casual punishment that was associated with a certain sensitivity: a Diet Coke pause lover, Nicholas Sparks movies, Taylor Swift songs and, yes, Uggs . A 2014 Urban Dictionary definition unfortunately notes: “She believes her experiences are crazy, wild and different, or somehow more special than anything everyone is doing, when in fact almost everyone is doing or has done it. Exactly the same thing. Sales fell 31 percent and it was official that Ugg had become the shoe for those who don't like change.

But recently, something miraculous has been happening. In October, the Lyst report, which analyzes the buying habits of millions of shoppers, found that Uggs had seen a 350% increase in searches over the year. And, even more shocking, a good percentage of these searches were men. Last year, the men's business earned more than $ 200 million, while this year the company estimates that men's sales will account for 13% of its total revenue.

It is far from its purple spot when Uggs was used exclusively by celebrities "going through bad things". Who could forget the sight of Ben Affleck, sad looking, wearing them on set, Ronnie Wood going out in a black pair looking like an ASBO teenager, or Leonardo DiCaprio wearing them in purple velvet overalls, as an act of tribute regional to the prince? At that time, the many memes that existed (one simply stating: "Uggs for men. No") revolved around ideas of masculinity.

Their resurgence was surprising, because in a world of sturdy red-winged boots or tanned Colorado caterpillars, there is something simple about Uggs. "It's a backlash against the structured boot that has become a staple of a man's winter wardrobe," thinks GQ columnist Justin myers, also known as The Guyliner.

In the years when the Ugg was at its height, the silhouette of men's fashion shifted from thin, tight pencil to broad and expansive David Byrne, so it would make sense that as his trousers and coat grew, so did his. your shoes. “Fashion is sloppy,” explains Myers, “and if using a boot that shares DNA with a beanbag is how to get it, who am I to argue?”

Best breakthrough: Britney Spears and Lexie's niece in 2015.

Best Foot Forward: Britney Spears and Lexie's niece in 2015. Photo: GoffPhotos.com

Still, Ugg's aesthetic appeal (or not) is surprising. "I'm surprised someone is desperate to look for something so deliberately ugly," he says. "I find it interesting that Ugg's sheepskin boots and flip flops are experiencing a masculine moment that seems to be driven by a style of 'everything goes'," agrees the style director. from Esquire, Jonathan Evans.

In a world where Croc and Birkenstock are on the rise, The Slit Shoes by Margiela exists and the high-heeled flip-flops are worn by Kim Kardashian, Katie Holmes and Rihanna, maybe Ugg's return isn't so strange after all.

It also helps that the shoe is firmly associated with a time, some 15 years ago, when pumpkin-spiced latte was considered nervous. Nostalgia is on the rise right now (hiya, J-Lo on the Versace show wearing her old dress, or Marc Jacobs, Celine and Balmain referring to their own times).

"Nostalgic fashion is so popular – especially now – because it's more than just a garment," says the fashion writer. Kristen Bousquet. "Many of these pieces may remind you of something from your childhood or a picture of your mother you loved in the 1960s." Myers is not convinced that this embrace of nostalgic fashion is equally welcomed by both sexes. “Men are more convincing; it needs to soothe gently, ”he says. "They are reluctant to look in the mirror and see their father looking at them."

Ugg's return for both sexes has been coming for a while. They recruited Jeff Daniels and Mr Gisele, Tom Brady, in 2016 for an ad with The Dude playing a guitar while Brady dozed on a couch, both wearing Uggs. It was a luxury for the whiskey and the crowd of Bon Iver. A year later, in 2017, Cardi B announced that it was “officially Ugg season” on Instagram and Heron Preston, a companion of Virgil Abloh, subtitled his Instagram wearing Ugg boots with: “We're not playing games anymore”.

Nasty furniture: Priya Elan.

Nasty furniture: Priya Elan. Photo: Pal Hansen / The Observer

Walking through a train station one morning, I am impressed by some huge and colorful posters for Ugg's last campaign (with the shocking caption: "Ugglife"); there is Slick Woods breastfeeding her baby and Ama Elsesser rocking her sister Paloma. I go online and see the other stars of the ad campaign: Luka Sabbat and her father, Kim Gordon and their daughter Coco together. They are slippery and well shot.

"I think part of the resurgence has to be partnerships," says Esquire's Evans, "whether it's a collaboration the brand has done with Bape this year or on the marketing side with someone like Lil Wayne, who modeled this collection."

I notice men's shoes. They do not look like old bags; in fact, they do not look like traditional Uggs. So the success story behind Uggs for men is to make shoes that don't even look like Uggs. Despite being called "the male version of the Ugg classic" by Vice President of Marketing Ian Stewart, the most popular men's shoe, the NeumelIt looks more like a thick desert boot. He says they target hip-hop and sports communities, changing the association with yoga pants forever.

I wonder what he would say to a potential male buyer. "If they have never tried them before, I say: 'When you wear them, it's not like anything you've felt before … in shoes," he says breathlessly. I feel a little uncomfortable with their level of evangelical talk about the Ugg, but I also feel that perhaps I should forgive them for being terrible in the 1990s. I would like to buy a pair, I imagine? "Go Ugg yourself," I say to myself silently.

. (tagsToTranslate) Men's Fashion (t) Life & Style (t) Fashion

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