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Ugg Australia is exploring life beyond the shearling-clad Outback with the launch of “rugged luxury” line Ugg Collection.
This story first appeared in the March 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Ugg Collection by Ugg Australia is a 30-piece line of handbags and shoes, sourced in Italy, being introduced for fall. The collection has an earthy palette of olive green, black and tan, with pops of royal blue and leopard. Handbag silhouettes include the side-strap satchel, a slouchy hobo and an oversize weekender bag, in Italian Toscana leather, sheepskin, merino, suede and pony hair. Ugg Collection footwear was designed to harness the comfort of Ugg Australia in more upscale designs, with booties, stacked wedges and knee-high leather boots.
“A lot of our customers carry their designer handbag with the [Ugg Australia] classic boot, so we thought, Let’s give them something else that they can wear and still feel good [in],” said Leah Larson, vice president of product for Ugg Australia. “We’ve been known for quality, and we took that and put it into a couture fashion line.”
Larson, who’s worked for the company for seven years, spearheaded the collection’s inception in August. “It’s kind of been a dream. I’ve always wanted to make shoes in Italy,” she said.
Larson envisions the collection’s aesthetic as “bringing out the romanticism of sheepskin.…We took all the utilitarian details and kind of tweaked it.”
These “tweaks” include an updated, barely there logo and design details such as stacked leather heels and convertible boots — though virtually all designs have a thick sheepskin lining with treading on the soles. Ugg Collection will go on sale in September, at both traditional Ugg Australia outlets and high-end specialty stores, with prices from $500 to $1,195.
Larson anticipates a widened consumer base as a result of the foray into luxury. “We’re hoping to get a lot of new Ugg-love out of this. It’s very Ugg, it still has our DNA — there’s the sheepskin, there’s the comfort, the quality, the luxury — it’s very much Ugg, it’s just taking it up a notch,” she said.