It was not so long ago that the idea of the humble Ugg boot as a fashion item would have been a huge contradiction in terms. And yet now you can’t seem to turn a street corner without seeing somebody sporting the familiar fur trim. No longer are these shoes confined to the wardrobes of pensioners and those in search of the ultimate in foot comfort. Now everyone from tweens to teenagers to twenty-somethings can be seen proudly wearing them.
So when did this change in attitude happen? The naughties, in terms of fashion, was considered a ‘mash-up’ decade. Styles from different decades were fused together, with vintage, feminine styles making a comeback and mixing with the trends of music-based subcultures. The result seemed to be an attitude of ‘anything goes’.
Ugg boots were first ‘rescued’ from their unfashionable reputation in 2001, when they emerged as the must-have fashion item, being made popular by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker. And when Oprah Winfrey declared them one of her ‘favourite things’ on her talk show in the same year, they emerged as one of the predominant and popular trends of the naughties.
If nothing else, this proves the power of both planned and unplanned marketing. An entire brand and the way in which it is thought of can change overnight. Another example of this is the French Connection clothing line.
Founded in 1972, the brand enjoyed continuing success, and relaunched in 1997 under the acronym FCUK. Through exploiting the controversy caused by the similarity with the word ‘fuck’ they were able to reach a younger, fresher, target audience.
A new line of fashionable clothes from FCUK was released, with t-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as ‘fcuk fashion’ and ‘munching on fcuk’.
The rising popularity of the ugg boot (which still shows no-one sign of slowing down) in the naughties and the relaunch of French Connection in the nineties serves to emphasise the power of brand identity and the ways in which it can alter entire attitudes towards products.
So if Robert Pattinson is seen sporting a mullet in the coming months, or Kate Moss decides that head to toe tie-dye is the way to go, then who knows, in the next year or so we might all be doing it. Now there’s a thought.
Tags: Ugg boot