London - Californian-based lifestyle brand Ugg has tapped British model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as its debut Global Women’s Brand Ambassador, as the brand famous for its cosy, but rather inelegant sheepskin boots, continues to hold onto relevancy within the fashion industry. Huntington-Whiteley’s signing with the brand also coincides with its biggest re-launch to date since its inception thirty-seven years ago, as Ugg aims to become a full-fledged lifestyle brand.
Huntington-Whiteley’s partnership with the Deckers Brands division is set to start with Uggs autumn 2016 campaign, which will feature the brand’s classic boot. This iconic boot, still regularly spotted on high-streets across the world, has been updated to include a “range of new features and benefits,” according to the brand and will be launched globally this August. “It’s an honour to be partnering with a global brand that is loved as much as Ugg”, said Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on the partnership. “When I started modeling one of the first things I ever purchased was a pair of Classic boots as comfort to me is everything. The updated Classic offers the same immediate comfort but now with an edgier, street style appeal that can be worn indoors or out.”
Ugg partnership with top model highlights it's staying power within theg ever changing fashion industry
The brand, which was started by Brian Smith who was originally seeking to import a Californian product to Australia but ended up bringing an Australian product to California, was inspired by the sheepskin boots surfers wore after surfing in Australia. Unisex, very comfortable but not known for its aesthetic appeal, the original Ugg boot which launched in California back in 1980s is nearly exactly the same as the boot sold today. At the time Ugg boots were still seen as a niche product, but the brand began to gain traction when it began selling its boots in malls across the country. However, one of its first big break throughs came when a photograph of Pamela Anderson on the set of Baywatch was published by USA Today of the actress wearing a tall pair of Ugg boots. Since then the brand has been linked to numerous celebrities and is still see today as the “a perennial off-duty uniform for the famous,” according to the Guardian, even after the hype surrounding the brand has long since faded.
Reaching the heights of its popularity by the mid-2000s, the Ugg boot was seen as the ‘“It” shoe and spotted and nearly everyone feet around the world from Kate Hudson, to Sarah Jessica Parker, to teenagers shopping on the high street on Saturday and mothers making the early morning school-run. Over the years the brand has been embroiled in countless counterfeit lawsuits as Deckers continue to fight against cheaper, knock-offs of the Ugg boot, but even that has yet to affect the cult-status the boot has managed to achieve. Unlike it ugly-shoe contemporaries, such as Crocs, who have been faced with sliding sales following its heydays in 2007, Ugg sales continue to grow although the brand has long since passed it glory days. This is in part most likely due to the boots undeniable comfort, which offer the “perfect compromise between aspiration and accessibility,” said to Micael Dahlén, professor at the Stockholm School of Economics to the Guardian.
In addition, the brand’s tight control over its image and careful expansion into more a lifestyle brand, offering clothing, homeware, blankets and numerous footwear styles has helped secure Ugg place within the industry which is cemented by its continual flirtation with celebrities and industry influencers. Although many consumers around the world continue to criticise the boot for it visually unattractive look to this day, the brand has sold so many items that there are currently 3 items for every woman in the UK, and 3.7 items for every women in the US according to the company. The fashion industry has also been more open in its fondness of the boot, with British Vogue even going as far as annoying the “Return of the Ugg boot” and claiming them to be their “guiltiest fashion pleasure.” Now, with model Huntington-Whiteley on board as the face of Ugg, the brand certainly seems poised for a resurgence of sorts, in spite of never quite leaving the scene.
“As an internationally accomplished model and actress, Rosie’s effortless elegance and authentic love for Ugg make her the perfect ambassador as her confidence, style and natural warmth mirror our brand values perfectly”, said Dave Powers, President of Deckers Brands. “Originally from England but now based in Malibu, Huntington-Whiteley personifies what it means to live a contemporary California casual, yet global, lifestyle. We could not be more proud to welcome her into the Ugg family.” Ugg is set to launch its new campaign this September, which will highlight its new and improved classic boot, which includes a stronger sole for better grip and better weatherproofing coatings and much like the skinny jean, is here for the long run.