Rihanna, Pamela Anderson (in a swimsuit), Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson have been photographed with them … They are not just any boots but a symbol of identity. They awaken love and hate. They are at once hideous and loving, glamorous and grotesque, a cultural icon and an identity object, comfortable and cave-dwelling, practical and cave-dwelling, functional and ugly, informal and cool, versatile and addictive, a status signal or a neat Christmas present.
Also the subject of a judicial complaint. It all depends on whether your name is spelled UGG or ugg, capitalized or lowercase. Because for its main manufacturer, the North American firm Deckers, they are a registered trademark, while for the Australian businessman Eddie Oygur they are a genre, such as French champagne, Catalan cava, port or Greek feta cheese. There is the mother of the lamb (never better said, because they are made of sheepskin).
Tom Brady, Kate Moss, Dennis Rodman, Serena Williams, Evan Mock, Justin Bieber … The case has been in court for five years, and an American appeals court has just confirmed that Decker is right, it is his registered trademark, and Australian Leather (Oygur’s company based on the outskirts of Sydney) violated his rights by selling a few online in the United States for about $ 2,000. The joke has cost him a fine of 450,000 euros plus the payment of the costs of the trial, which amount to several million. It has been ruined, but the thing has not ended here, because it claims that it intends to reach the Supreme Court.
Deckers’ annual revenue selling UGGs is $ 2.5 billion
They are worn by men and women, gay and straight, in winter and summer, at the opera and at rock festivals, skiers and influencers , in hot and cold places, adolescents and yummie mummies … With the pandemic they have become more popular than ever, like sweatshirts, pajamas and slippers at home, and Deckers’ annual income exceeds 2.5 billion euros. After all, it has the trademark in one hundred and thirty countries (its first store was in New York’s Soho, and the one that sells the most now is in Honolulu).
But Oygur, and many Australians, say they are theirs, an emblem of the country like kangaroos or koalas. They were born among surfers, to warm their feet after riding the waves (near a Perth beach there was a ranch with sheep and a pile of wool). At the end of the seventies, one of them, Brian Smith, emigrated to California with the idea of importing products to his country. He got nothing, but one day he saw a picture of a UGG (ougg ) and it occurred to him to do the business backwards. He bought a few dozen, but if he tried to sell them they would laugh at him.
Everything changed in the eighties and nineties, when famous people (Sarah Jessica Parker, Sienna Miller, Heidi Klum, Charlize Theron, Ariana Grande, Kate Hudson, Cameron Díaz …) found them funny and wore them in public, although in Australia they are designed for walking around the house (they do not have a heel, the sole is very thin and the foot lacks support). Smith sold the trademark to Deckers in exchange for fifteen million dollars, and the Californian house gave them a new dimension, marketing numerous models and collaborating with well-known designers in search of new consumers so that they are always in style, such as jeans or flannel shirts.
The famous have made them an icon
Cara Delevingne, Anna Faris, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jennifer López … They have been defined as “the uniform of a bourgeois with vulgar tastes”, and a cafe on Brick Lane, in London, even placed a sign on the door prohibiting the entrance to those who will wear them, but their fans number in the millions around the world.
Fifty years ago they were sold for ten euros at Australian gas stations. Today they are even taken to take out the garbage or walk the dog, Deckers is the largest importer of sheepskin in the world (purchased in Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia), they are manufactured in China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Dominican Republic, and some are putting their boots on with them. Australians consider them to be a gender and part of their culture. But the North American judges have swept home, as was logical.