Fashion: Cher is the new face of Ugg: A short history of the controversial brand

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

Ugg boots have been a popular fashion item for many years
By Prudence Wade, PA

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

Yes, that Ugg – creator of the instantly recognisable sheepskin boots everyone wanted in the noughties.

“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 controversial brand that was initially beloved by surfers, then co-opted by the noughties fashion pack, only to become something of a joke. Now, like so many fashion trends from the noughties, 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 in the Noughties, the brand had a very different beginning.

Created by Australian surfer Brian Smith in the late Seventies, he wanted to make a comfy boot you could slip on after catching some waves. Based in Southern California, 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.

Noughties peak…

Ugg really came into its own in the Noughties, 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 Christina Aguilera-style 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 noughties 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, Noughties fashion trends are well and truly making a comeback.

Modern resurgence…

In the past few years, Ugg has done its best to shed its Noughties image. It’s done this in a few ways – and the first is through iconic 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 current 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.

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