The Australian UGG Story
The UGG story has a convoluted and often misunderstood history, so we're here to break it down for you with the facts. UGG Since 1974™ has no connection whatsoever, past or present, to the US company known as UGG®.
UGG boots were invented here in Australia many decades ago, and they’re an iconic part of our Australian culture. Thought to have been first seen on the feet of surfers in the 1950s and 1960s, UGG boots were favoured by locals to keep their feet warm on the way to their morning surf. Fast forward to the 1970s, and UGG boots had become commonplace across Australia, and their popularity was starting to spread globally, as Australian manufacturers engaged with distributors to introduce their product to the international market.
UGG Since 1974™ was founded during this time by Arthur and Faye Springthorpe, a young Sydney couple who knew a thing or two about sheepskin and the UGG boot trade. Arthur and Faye drew on Arthur’s years of experience as a wool classer in the shearing sheds of New South Wales, to craft sheepskin moccasins and UGG boots, one pair at a time in our workshop, all those years ago. UGG Since 1974™ began to flourish in Australia and helped Arthur and Faye build a life for their young family, and provide work to a growing team of talented makers specialising in sheepskin goods.
By this time, there were numerous examples that demonstrated the widespread acceptance of ugg or UGG being a generic word for a sheepskin boot, including various print advertisements in Australia and the US showcasing UGG boots in the 1970s, and the word UG (one 'g') finding its way into Australia's Macquarie Dictionary in 1981. For all intents and purposes, Australian manufacturers were producing an iconic Australian product that was growing in popularity year on year.
As the interest in UGG boots outside of Australia started to grow, steps were taken by one distributor (who was re-selling another Australian company’s UGG boots into the US with no connection to us), to apply for a trademark for the boots in Australia (under a derivative of an 'UGH' boot). Eventually, his business as a distributor ran its course, and he sold his rights to the trademark. Years later, these rights eventually ended up in the hands of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, a large and publicly listed US company. By the end of the 1990s, notwithstanding UGG boots were well known in Australia and several countries throughout the world, Deckers Outdoor Corporation or UGG® applied for, and were successfully granted, an even more protective trademark, effectively taking the right to sell our own Australian product from all of the original Australian manufacturers overnight. In an even bigger irony, Deckers Outdoor Corporation has no connection of significance with Australia, and does not manufacture boots in Australia. The news came as a shock and was devastating to many mum and dad style Australian manufacturers of UGG boots in the country, including UGG Since 1974™.
Shortly thereafter, efforts commenced to reverse the Deckers Outdoor Corporation trademark in Australia. Several small-time Australian manufacturers bravely banded together to fight against the now billion dollar US company’s Deckers Outdoor Corporation’s trademark here in Australia in what is colloquially known as a David and Goliath battle.
For Australians, the phrases “UGG” or “UGG boots” have always conjured up ideas of an Australian made sheepskin boot, not a singular brand, and ultimately our Australian legal system agreed – deciding that UGG, UGG boots, UGH boots or any other derivative of those phrases is generic and descriptive in nature, and therefore, cannot be owned by a singular company. This meant that Deckers Outdoor Corporation or UGG® lost their rights in Australia to protect the word UGG for themselves only. From then on, our business, together with other Australian manufacturers, could continue to sell UGG boots on our shores. But this decision only applied to Australia, so we remained (and continue to remain) locked out from expanding into other markets around the world under the name UGG. For that reason, there are no UGG Since 1974™ stores anywhere outside of Australia, and our products can only be sold via our Australian website uggsince1974.com.au
Meantime, Deckers Outdoor Corporation continue to maintain their trademark in most countries around the world. If you've bought UGG® boots in the past, they are not fake UGG® boots in the sense of the brand, but they are not Australian made UGG boots.
The UGG® brand is neither Australian owned, nor Australian made, and their products are mostly mass produced in countries throughout Asia such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines. We are very proud to have absolutely no affiliation with UGG® at all and spend a great deal of our time educating consumers on our standalone, exclusive Australian brand. We do not have, nor have we ever had, a relationship or connection to Deckers Outdoor Corporation. You can read more about the differences between UGG Since 1974™ and UGG® here.
Against all the odds, UGG Since 1974™ continues to handcraft UGG boots here in Australia at our workshop, one pair at a time, from the finest quality Australian sheepskin money can buy. Our business is now operated by Arthur and Faye’s grandson Todd, making UGG Since 1974™ one of the most iconic third-generation family business in Australia. We take great pride in manufacturing exclusive, and premium Australian made UGGs that are sustainably and ethically produced, and designed to withstand the test of time. It’s an honour to say that some of our talented craftspeople have been part of the UGG Since 1974™ team since Arthur and Faye’s tenure.
As we manufacture to order, we ensure that we only make what our consumers need, rather than manufacturing dead stock that is destined to sit on a shelf for years, before finding its way into landfill. Our styles are classic and our boots will last you many seasons, so we don't buy into the fast fashion model. We also personally oversee the production of each and every pair of boots in accordance with Australian health, safety and working standards. Unlike other retailers or apparel brands that may operate "ethically" offshore via a third party manufacturer, we are proud to take full responsibility for the working conditions of our own staff on our own shores.
Our workshop has a finite capacity to handcraft boots so during peak seasons, our manufacturing times may be significantly longer than usual. We thank you so much for your patience whilst we do everything we can to get our orders out as quickly as possible.
We are immensely proud of our Australian business, and we are forever appreciative of our ever growing customer base who champion us, allowing us to continue our craft in Australia. If you’ve taken an interest in the Australian UGG story, we’re so grateful for the support. Remember, we’re not just any UGG company, we’re UGG Since 1974™.