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Ugg Is Sick Of Being Pigeonholed For Its Boots

The model in this Ugg ad is wearing Ugg boots, but she is drawing on an $795 Ugg-branded sheepskin area rug with a $145 Ugg pillow on the chair behind her. Oh — and she’s Ernest Hemingway’s great-great-granddaughter, sketch artist Langley Fox Hemingway.

Seeking to avoid the fashion dustbin of history, Ugg Australia is plugging away at diversifying its brand. It launches a new advertising campaign on Monday with the tagline “THIS IS UGG” in an attempt to portray Ugg as “universal,” with items for men, women, kids and the home — not just one style of sheepskin winter boots. In addition to Hemingway, the ads feature New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Connie Rishwain, president of Ugg, told The Huffington Post in an interview this week that she doesn’t want Ugg to be “stereotyped” as a mere footwear brand.

Indeed, the brand sells all kinds of stuff these days. Ugg debuted a home goods line in October: knit pillows, blankets and sheepskin rugs. In 2011, Ugg launched a pricier fashion line called Ugg Collection, made in Italy. In 2012, Ugg opened its first men’s store. Rishwain said Ugg is trying to go for a year-round feel by offering products under the Ugg name that shoppers can use at different times of the year.

As a result, Ugg now sells a host of things to wear: Boots, slippers, sneakers, sandals, wedges, winter gloves and hats, coats, shirts and handbags. It includes pricey fashion items like $375 Italian leather harness boots and a $215 python-embossed calf hair clutch. You can even buy an puffy, fuzzy sleeve uggs for a smartphone.

Of course, branching away from a core product isn’t always a winning strategy. Another big shoe brand, Crocs, tried a similar move in 2009, but took things too far, the company admitted in July. By putting its name on so many different styles of shoes, Crocs strayed too far away from its heritage, bewildering customers by selling plastic, hole-punched clogs alongside fancy high heels uggs sale.

Reflecting on the rise of Ugg boots in the mid-2000s, Rishwain said she loved all the press and PR when celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton were spotted with the classic sheepskin boot on their feet. But it’s not 2003 anymore. A decade after Ugg boots became popular, few besides teenagers in Santa Barbara wear them like that, said Rishwain.

“We were really well known for that and it was photographed a lot,” said Rishwain. “Ugg has really evolved over the years to be so much more than the boot.”

Founded in California in 1978 as Ugg Imports, the boots burst into popularity in the early-2000s after being featured by Oprah Winfrey on her television show, sparking a teenage fashion frenzy. Deckers Outdoor Corp., which bought the brand in 1995 and is now Ugg’s parent company, reaped the profit cheap uggs outlet. In 2013, the brand raked in nearly $1.3 billion in sales.

Over the years, Ugg has fought constant criticism. The high fashion crowd has largely dismissed the boots as ugly. Podiatrists have said the boots don’t provide proper support, leading to health problems. A U.K. judge warned that the boots are dangerous to wear while driving. Animal rights group PETA mobilized against Ugg, accusing the company of “extreme cruelty to animals.”

In spite of it all, the brand has done quite well lately for Deckers. In July, it announced a 22.8 percent spike in Ugg sales to $123.3 million for the quarter, up from $100.4 million the same period the year before.

Sam Poser, an analyst at Sterne Agee, wrote in a note to clients that Deckers, which also owns brands Teva and Sanuk uggs outlet online, is benefitting from a trend toward comfort, as clothes like stretchy leggings and yoga pants become increasingly popular.

“Products across brands and categories are gaining momentum,” including Ugg, wrote Poser. “Deckers is set up well for the future.”

As much as Ugg wants to branch out, it remains dependent on the original shearling boot it owes its success to. The Women’s Classic Short boot, which sells for $155, remains the brand’s best-seller.

According to the company’s market research, Ugg needs the classic boot to attract first-time buyers, who then go on to buy other kinds of products. So, Ugg tries to keep the boot updated. Compared with its days as a teen fashion craze, the stout little booties are now a bit slimmer, with new soles. Designers have added styles with embellishments, bows, embroideries and buttons uggs outlet.

And that boot is here to stay, whether the haters like it or not. In interviews with HuffPost earlier this year, fashion psychologists and stylists said that the classic Ugg boot has surpassed fad status, earning a permanent place on women’s feet.

“They have become the winter flip-flop,” fashion consultant Kate Schelter told HuffPost at the time. “A banal essential that people cling to out of comfort and freezing temperatures.”

Silk, Cashmere, Shearling, and Other Animal Products Used for Clothing

Minks, foxes, and raccoons are the animals who usually come to mind when people think of animals who are killed for their fur, but countless other species are also exploited for their feathers, fur, and skins. From the tiniest silkworm to the largest llama, all animals used by the clothing industry suffer—and most pay with their lives.

Silk

Silk is the fiber that silkworms weave to make cocoons. The so-called “silkworm” is actually a domesticated insect who cheap uggs outlet, in nature, goes through the same stages of metamorphosis—egg, larval, pupal, and adult—that all moths do. Silk is derived from the cocoons of larvae, so most of the insects raised by the industry don’t live past the pupal stage, as they are steamed or gassed alive inside their cocoons.

Approximately 3,000 silkworms die to make every pound of silk. While worms can’t show their distress in ways that humans easily recognize, such as screaming, anyone who has ever seen earthworms startle when their dark homes are uncovered must acknowledge that worms are sensitive fake uggs outlet; they produce endorphins and have a physical response to pain.

Cashmere

Cashmere is hair that is shorn from cashmere goats’ underbellies. These goats are often kept on farms where they are dehorned and castrated and have their ears notched without anesthesia. Goats with “defects” in their coats are typically killed before the age of 2. Industry experts expect farmers to kill 50 to 80 percent of young goats whose coats do not meet standards. Shearing robs goats of their natural insulation, leaving them vulnerable to cold temperatures and illnesses. Many goats are sold to be slaughtered for their flesh after shearing.

Shearling

Contrary to what many consumers think, “shearling” is not sheared wool; the term refers to the sheep. A shearling is a yearling sheep who has been shorn once. A shearling garment is made from a sheep or lamb shorn shortly before slaughter. The skin is tanned with the wool still on it uggs outlet online. It can take 25 to 45 individual sheep hides to make just one shearling garment.

Karakul Lamb Fur

Also called “astrakhan,” “broadtail,” or “Persian wool,” karakul lamb fur comes from lambs who were killed as newborns or while still in their mothers’ wombs. Because their unique, highly prized curly fur begins to unwind and straighten within three days of birth, many karakul lambs are slaughtered when they are only 1 or 2 days old. In order to get a karakul fetus’ hide—which is called “broadtail” in the industry and which is valued for its exceptional smoothness—the mother’s throat is cut and her abdomen slashed open to remove the developing lamb. A mother typically gives birth uggs outlet online to three lambs before being slaughtered along with her fourth fetus, about 15 to 30 days before he or she is due to be born. As many as 4 million karakul lambs are slaughtered for their fur every year.

Vicuña

Vicuñas, who are related to camels and llamas and live high in the South American Andes, are exploited for their wool, which is the most expensive material used to make clothing in the world. To obtain their wool, wild vicuñas are typically herded into a V-shaped “funnel trap.” This process is terrifying for these shy animals. Panicked vicuñas have even been known to break their necks during herding by crashing into fences. Their ears are then tagged, without the benefit of painkillers, before the animals are restrained and shorn with electric clippers. The shearers usually only leave the hair on the animals’ bellies and chests, which isn’t enough to protect them from the extreme heat and cold of the Andes.

Angora

Angora rabbits are strapped to a board for shearing, kicking powerfully in protest. The clippers inevitably bite into their flesh, with bloody results. Angoras have very delicate foot pads, making life on a wire cage floor excruciating and ulcerated feet a common condition. Because male Angora rabbits have only 75 to 80 percent of the fur yield of females, they are killed at birth on many farms.

Shahtoosh

Shahtoosh, often used to make shawls, is made from the endangered Tibetan antelope, or chiru. Chiru cannot be domesticated and must be killed in order to obtain their wool. Illegal to sell or possess since 1975, shahtoosh shawls did a brisk business on the black market throughout the 1990s, selling for as much as $15,000 apiece as the Tibetan antelope’s population plummeted to fewer than 75,000. Despite the ban on shahtoosh in India, a thriving black market still caters to customers in London, New York, and Los Angeles who will pay as much as $17,000 for a shawl. As many as 20,000 chiru are killed every year for their wool.

You can help put an end to the suffering of all these animals by refusing to wear any clothing made from the skins of animals. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free clothing guide for tips on where you can find compassionate fashion.

Australian Lambs Catch A Break

Many Australian sheep will be spared from mutilation, thanks to U.K.-based grocery giant Tesco, which has announced that it will buy lamb meat only from farms that do not perform mulesing. Farmers who raise sheep for wool often sell them for slaughter if wool prices drop, meat prices increase, or the sheep are too old to breed. But now Tesco will only buy the meat if the farmers did not mutilate the sheep during wool production uggs boots outlet.

Mulesing is a barbaric procedure in which Australian farmers use garden shears to carve chunks of skin and flesh from the lamb’s backsides in a crude attempt to create smoother skin that won’t collect moisture and attract flies. But the exposed, bloody wounds cheap uggs outlet often attract flies before they heal, or they become infected. Many sheep who have undergone the mulesing mutilation still suffer slow, agonizing deaths from flystrike. PETA has lobbied for the Australian wool industry to require all sheep farmers to control flystrike with the humane methods—such as breeding for a bare breech, spray washing, and more frequent monitoring of sheep—that are already being used by some farmers.

To thank Tesco for helping to end this cruel practice, PETA U.K. has sent the company a vegan cake emblazoned with the image of a sheep uggs outlet. You can help by urging the Australian government to outlaw mulesing today.



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