I just came back from my New Zealand / Fiji/ Australia vacation yesterday and while shopping in Sydney I came across many UGG boots for sale. (Right now Australia is entering their winter season, FYI)
I did a quick Google search on UGG boots in Sydney, which lead me to the historic Sydney neighborhood, The Rocks to find a pair of UGG boots and check prices.
I came upon a large store emblazoned, “UGG Australian made since 1974:”
I decided on a pair of black short boots… my $30 Kirkland Costco boots are well worn (and almost to the bare soles) and I thought, heck, I’m in Australia, might as well buy something that originated in Australia! In the end I paid $129 (not including Australian taxes) for the shoes.
Funny thing was, I noticed that the logo at the back of the heel was different than what I had normally seen in UGG Boots in the USA.
In actuality, there are 2 different UGG stores in The Rocks neighborhood… UGG Australia is sold at a small boutique on 139 George Street, Sydney while UGG Australian Made is sold at a large store on 140 George Street, Sydney. I missed the small boutique while in Sydney, which sells a variety of goods and brands and instead went to the large shop (only one brand sold) instead.
UGG Australian Made vs UGG Australia:
I did more online research that night since I was a bit perplexed at the difference in the label. It turns out, that the UGG Australia brand that the USA is used to, is an American company, Deckers Outdoor Corporation. In Australia, the word “UGG” is not a specific brand but a generic term for that type of shoe. The “UGG Australia” brand boots that are so popular in the States are mass produced in China. It is a USA brand and not Australian…. which is a little misleading because the name of the brand is “UGG Australia.”
And maybe the most interesting fact to note… The word “UGG” has been revoked as a trademark in Australia and as a result the Deckers corporation cannot trademark there. The Deckers corporation holds trademarks in the USA, China and the EU, and NOT Australia.
From this London firm article: “The Australian Sheepskin Association is attempting to change the name UGG into a regional mark similar to that achieved for Champagne which would negate it’s trademark status in many jurisdictions. Deckers in response has focused on the fact that its UGG boots are made in China and not Australia.”
I have not purchased UGG Australia boots in the USA so I cannot compare them to my recently purchased boots. It also came with this tag:
This logo is a trademark registered by the Australian government to indicate that “the product has been manufactured here (not just packaged) and 50% or more of the cost of making it can be attributed to Australian materials and/or production processes.”
Phew. The history of the UGG boot and the trademark wars makes it all very confusing. And since UGG Australia’s boots are made in China, it can be said that UGG boots that are made in Australia are “FAKE.”
So here is the dilemma.
Is it better to buy the “UGG Australia” brand that we are all familiar with and the one that is the most popular worldwide? …Despite the brand is from the USA and they manufacture their goods in China?
Is it better to buy an UGG boot that is made with Australian materials in Australia, since that style of boot was created there? The downside would be that the Australian brands are not as recognizable or sought after like the USA ones.
What do you think?