Before I begin, a quick thank you to Handpicked Media, Halpern PR and UGG Australia for inviting me to check out the new collection during LFW and gifting me the Hannen boots pictured below, which I’m wildly in love with. Other than that, no-one’s had any influence over this post – I’m a free elf, baby.
Someone recently remarked that I tend to blog about the world of blogging and fashion writers more than I actually write about fashion, so I’m going to start with something for them – my most powerful fashion memory. I was still at University when UGG boots took hold over 80% of the female population, and I was massively jealous. As I accumulated (many) pairs of Vans and stiff leather (forgive me, I was young) loafers, I remember looking at every girl’s feet and thinking ‘man, those look comfy’. Of course, buying a pair wasn’t an option – not merely because the £200+ they cost was already earmarked for pizza and vodka (oh, and books and stuff), but because they ‘weren’t for dudes’.
One Christmas, when I was on holiday in New York, I saw a guy wearing a pair. He had this James Dean quiff, mouth hanging half open in that Abercrombie and Fitch model sort of way. I remember him wearing a vest (even though it must have been subzero temperatures) and all these necklaces, and he had one leg of his skinny jeans tucked into an UGG and the other coming down over the top of the other one. He seemed to be walking at three-quarter speed with the louche mannerisms of a Bret Easton Ellis character (minus the coke), and emanated this sense of effortless chic and cool that I spent the next several years trying to imitate. We caught each other’s eye for maybe half a second. No doubt the experience was incredibly brief, but it was somehow charged with this pseudo-cosmic sense of significance. It led me to confront my own fairly stagnant sense of style, mess around with my hair, even go as far to study my own features in the mirror. Umm, but not any more than is totally normal. In forcing me to re-evaluate my definition of what it means to have style, not to mention my perceptions of gender normality, I owe a lot to that boy in New York. And UGG.
I have no doubt that UGGs becoming the de facto choice of footwear for everyone from celebrities and mums who shop at Waitrose to rahs and chavs (even if the latter wore fakes that did that weird ‘collapsing inwardly on themselves’ thing) was incredibly rewarding financially. However to a certain extent it also alienated the male market, in the UK at least. If they still exist, those pre-conceptions will be totally shattered by their latest collection of men’s shoes; it’s bold, has fantastic detailing and is utterly masculine. While Dr Martens and Timberland boots are practical and durable, I would never describe them as handsome or elegant. These are two of the first words that sprung to mind when I saw UGG’s new stuff. And not to mention, the leather they use smells AMAZING.
P.s. No, I never did get a pair of Classic Medium UGG boots when I came back from New York, but at least now I finally have a pair of UGGs to call my own.
Some pictures of UGG’s 2012 collection follow, if you’re into that sort of thing:
And a couple for the ladies…