Ugg is back: A brief history of a much-loved brand

cher reclining in chair

Starting life as a surfing brand, Ugg saw huge popularity in the 2000s – and it looks to be making a comeback.

Proving she’s still very much a heavyweight in the world of fashion, Cher has a new job as the face of Ugg.

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Yes, that Ugg – creator of the instantly recognisable sheepskin boots everyone wanted all those years ago.

Read: Putting fun first in your fashion choices

“I’ve spent a lifetime of people either hating me or loving me, and I mean, you want to be loved, but finally it’s like, f**k it,” the 75-year-old says in the campaign video.

This makes Cher the perfect match for Ugg – a brand that was initially beloved by surfers, then co-opted by the 2000s fashion pack, only to become something of a joke. Now, like so many fashion trends from that era, Ugg is making a comeback – and what better way to do so than with Cher at the helm?

Here’s a short history of Ugg, right up to its current renaissance.

Surfing beginnings

While most of us tend to associate Uggs with teenage girls wearing jeggings, the brand had a very different beginning.

Ugg was created in the late 1970s by Australian surfer Brian Smith, who wanted to make a comfy boot you could slip on after catching some waves. Based in Southern California, Mr Smith’s signature brown sheepskin boot with furry insides became synonymous with surfing culture – and looking back, its popularity is something of a head-scratcher, as the shoes are certainly not waterproof.

Read: How to clean your Ugg boots

The peak

Ugg really came into its own in the 2000s, a time when you wouldn’t be able to walk down the high street without seeing dozens of people wearing the signature brown sheepskin boots (most likely worn with a pair of super skinny jeans or a miniskirt).

And when we say everyone had a pair of Ugg boots – we really mean everyone. The major style icons of the day – Paris Hilton, Sienna Miller and Lindsay Lohan – all loved the style, as did someone who is a very different type of fashionista: the Duchess of Cambridge.

As with so many past trends – from low-rise jeans to cargo pants – Ugg boots became so ubiquitous, they soon fell out of style. However, the fall from grace didn’t last particularly long – as we’ve seen, fashion trends from the 2000s are well and truly making a comeback.

Read: A fashionable history of platform shoes

Modern resurgence

In the past few years, Ugg has done its best to shed its unfavourable image. It’s done this in a few ways – and the first is through celebrity ambassadors. Cher is a big get for Ugg, and she’ll be joining the likes of NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and trans model Teddy Quinlivan.

Ugg has also diversified its offerings. While the classic brown boot is still very much front and centre (Cher is even seen wearing a black version of the shoe in the campaign video), Ugg offers a lot more – including brightly coloured fluffy sandals, beloved by the likes of the Hadid sisters, Megan Fox and Selena Gomez.

And finally, Ugg has put its weight into some big collaborations – particularly one with cult brand Telfar, responsible for the it-bag of the moment, worn by everyone from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Beyoncé. Ugg got in on the action by coming up with an Ugg-ified Telfar bag, made out of its signature light brown sheepskin.

Are you a fan of Ugg? Do you have any Ugg items? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Prudence Wade

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