Deckers Brands has added a new member to the family—the “free-spirited, little sister” to the Ugg brand, Koolaburra by Ugg.
Touted as a more affordable and fashion forward option than Ugg, Koolaburra by Ugg is officially launching this September with ten styles after its purchase and remodeling by Deckers Brands.
Founded in 1991 in Santa Barbara, Koolaburra started as a sheepskin footwear label in direct competition to Ugg, even losing a lawsuit to Deckers in 2005 for the use of the name “ug” in their products. That’s all behind Koolaburra now, after joining Deckers and taking the name Koolaburra by Ugg. The label will act as Deckers’ entry into mid-tier department stores and regional footwear chains.
Koolaburra by Ugg is “a little bit more fashion forward,” said Jennifer Somer, vice president of Ugg women’s and Koolaburra. Somer said its designs will “evolve quicker, with more novelty” and will focus on trends faster than its older counterpart.
Ugg has seen countless knock-offs and cheap competition, ever since its major rise in popularity during the last decade. “So many people were leveraging our DNA,” Somer said. Through Koolaburra by Ugg, the company is able to provide their own version of a more affordable Ugg and gain some of that leverage back.
Somer explained that Koolaburra will help integrate Deckers into retail locations that Ugg is too expensive to occupy like Kohl’s and DSW, and in turn help position Ugg as more of a luxury product. The new brand will also target a younger demographic than Ugg, appealing to teenage girls up to Millennial moms. Styles retail for $30 to under $100.
For its Fall ’16 debut, many of the Koolaburra styles share similar silhouettes to classic Ugg boots. An adventurous color palette, designs and detailing with uppers made from a combination of calf suede, sheep skin and faux fur help differentiate the brand. While the composition differs from the full sheepskin upper of the tradition Ugg, Somer said the construction remains strong. She added, “Retailers have told me they find the quality to price for Koolaburra to be exceptional.”
Festival-ready sandals, sneakers and wedges make up the Spring ’17 collection, offering a mix of trendy metallic, cork and canvas staples.