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  • Eleanor Jeffery

Popular Culture and Fashion: The Return of the Ugg Boot

By Eleanor Jeffery

2 years ago, feeling superior with my in-depth sense of American pop culture, I dressed as Snooki for freshers halloween. Whilst in Primark, hunting for gaudy 2000s clothing, I paid £7 for a pair of UGGs, hardly denting the neglected stock. 2 months ago, Emma Chamberlain, youtuber, posted a vlog entitled “ugg season” and I found myself back in that Primark, paying £7 for the only pair in my size.

“I put on UGG boots this morning. I mean business, you know”, says Chamberlain. The UGG boot is the latest 2000s McBling item that we all swore was too ugly to return. But they’re so bad, they’re good. Demand for UGG boots has increased 1,280% with the launch of their 2022 campaign starring Cher.

The latest product of low-rise resurgence, the “classic ultra mini boot” costs £125. Understandably, TikTok users have taken to cutting up their classic boots to mimic this low-cut trend, thus avoiding the exorbitant price tag of the shorter version. Models Emily Ratajkowski and Kaia Gerber have recently worn this style, contributing to growing demand.

Andre Leon Talley, an editor of Vogue, passed away this January at the height of UGGs’ popularity. 10 years ago, he said, “UGGs for me are a moment of utilitarian comfort that keeps you anchored in the reality of today’s world, which is very important”. Never has this rung more true. During the 2020 lockdowns, loungewear sales rose 1,303%, as we all spent more time seeking comfort whilst trapped indoors. We can only assume that the boot’s return is a by-product of this; we haven given into comfortable winter-wear over partywear with the rise of Omicron.

It has been claimed that the boots were christened Uggs after their inventor’s wife called them ugly, but their origin is disputed. Similar styles have historically been worn by Australian sheep farmers, and more recently Australian surfers looking for post-surf warmth. The boot eventually broke into 2000s fashion after celebrities were offered free versions, soon taken up by names in the Tom Cruise, Kate Hudson, and Brooke Shields bracket. They symbolised off-duty models, Southern California, and a streak of normalcy amongst celebrities, eventually leading to cheap knock-offs.

But the sweeping sound of an overworn, warped UGG’s heel dragging on the pavement will not be the last echo of 2000s style to make a comeback. 2 pinnacles of McBling style, the side fringe and the hair poof, were recently worn by model and influencer Bella Hadid and Devon Lee Carlson. The names mentioned so far are influential in Gen Z fashion, and by wearing these styles again, they signal that it’s okay, even encouraged, to revert back to what was deemed outdated. TikTok users have created the word “cheugy” to describe styles that have just crossed the line to out of date, but it appears to be only a matter of time before they are idealised again.

I have participated in the resurgence of Juicy Couture, buying the iconic bling-bummed tracksuit bottoms and a velvet handbag. It feels accomplishing to be able to buy and participate in trends of my childhood, when I was too young to appreciate or afford them. The UGG is back, but how long until they cross that line into outdated again?

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