Their boots have been on every girl’s feet this winter, and now Ugg Australia is ready to break out its first collection of handbags.
Deckers Outdoor Corp., Ugg’s parent, teamed with Springfield, N.J.-based handbags firm Jacobs and Leslie Hsu Designs LLC to produce the licensed line, and first samples are scheduled to hit the World Shoe Association Show Tuesday.
Connie Rishwain, Ugg’s president, is confident that Ugg fans will have no problem making the translation from boots to bags. “As long as [the bag] has sheepskin on it, it will make sense to the customer,” she said.
And plenty of sheepskin there is. The collection, which wholesales from $75 to $150 and targets existing Ugg wholesale accounts, consists of three groups with varying degrees of exposed fleece. Classic is available in colored sheepskin; Sundance mixes beige or brown sheepskin with fleece along the seams, and Fluff, the most whimsical group, features three styles covered in longhair fleece. Like the boots, each handbag is lined with fleece.
Designer Hsu said she was attracted to the project primarily because of Ugg’s wide-reaching customer base. “A lot of times you run into a shoe brand or handbag line, and they’ve really got one target customer,” she noted. “You’ve got suburban moms wearing Uggs, grandmas wearing Uggs and 16-year-old girls, too.”
The audience may be broad, but the Ugg season generally isn’t — save for those West Coast girls who wear the fleece-lined boots year-round with their denim minis. But Hsu remains hopeful the bag collection will easily carry over to spring. “Because the Ugg brand is so recognized as a winter boot, the bags would be a little hard [to do for spring] because the only thing they use is the sheepskin,” she said. But the shapes, she added, “could actually translate into linen, leather, beautiful canvas or prints.”
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