Can Uggs Finally Find a Home in the Men’s Department?

In an attempt to attract more male customers, the brand is turning to influencers and designer collaborations

Luka Sabbat in Ugg's Neumel Boot
Luka Sabbat in Ugg's Neumel Boot

Men wearings Uggs is a concept that typically draws ire and little support. The brand has long been synonymous with 2000s fashion and conjures images of pop-culture icons like Paris Hilton in a velour tracksuit and the infamous shearling booties. But despite its reputation, Ugg is determined to push its way into the men’s market with new, shearling-free styles and collaborations with high-end designers.

“We’ve been really much more serious and strategic about our men’s business,” Andrea O’Donnell, the president of fashion lifestyle at Deckers, the company that owns Ugg, told The Wall Street Journal.

The brand has veered away from its previous ads featuring Tom Brady in the shearling lined slippers, and turned its attention instead to influencers. In order to turn men into pro-Ugg converts, the brand is recruiting influencers to post pictures of themselves wearing Uggs on social media, or merely wear them in public, where they can (hopefully) be captured by paparazzi. The brand has already tapped model/influencer/actor Luka Sabbat to post sponsored content.

Some of Ugg’s recent high-end collaborations include the gender-neutral brand Eckhaus Latta (the result was a square toed slip-on and boot) and Japanese label Sacai, which showcased the boots in their F/W 2018 runway at Paris Fashion Week. Much of the draw of Ugg for collaborators comes from the potential for “pinnacle distribution,” or the chance for these collaborations to be sold on sites like Ssense or MatchesFashion, boutiques that don’t sell regular Uggs.

For all their attempts at drawing in customers with new designs, the tagged photos on their men’s Instagram (@Uggmens) still tend to feature many men wearing the divisive slip-on boots. “As long as my feet are warm, everything else is warm,” Izzy Lugo, a Milkwaukee entrepreneur and long-time wearer of the brand’s classic shearling-lined boots, told The Wall Street Journal.

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