Shayne Oliver’s Subversive New Uggs Are an Ode to New Yorkers

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When Shayne Oliver first burst onto the fashion scene with Hood by Air back in 2010, the New York designer garnered a cult following of streetwear devotees. In addition to his label, Oliver has briefly designed for Helmut Lang and launched Anonymous Club, a creative studio for art, performance, music, and fashion. The multihyphenate’s latest foray for his fans to get excited about? A collection of futuristic Ugg boots.

Classic Uggs, which took off in the 2000s, have been enjoying a revival this year. They’ve been worn by trendsetting stars like Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kendall Jenner—but Oliver’s are decidedly more subversive and modern. The boots, which launch on December 1, have been redesigned to feature futuristic paneling and a sleek—yet hefty—silhouette. The collaboration includes both a white low Armourite Sabaton style ($300) and black tall Armourite Greaves style ($450). Both are made with a plushy foam footbed and perforated leather upper.

Photo: Courtesy of Ugg/Noah Dillon

For Oliver, the inspiration to design Ugg boots stems from his personal connection to the cozy, shearling-lined shoes. Growing up in New York in the 2000s, the designer says Uggs were all the rage in school, and he felt inspired to offer up a new take on them. “The comfortability of Uggs made them a part of the language in New York,” says Oliver. “It became a staple, and it really transcended all boundaries of class.” He is drawn to Uggs as an “anti-fashion” shoe and as a style disruptor. “There’s always a level of cynicism that I like to have,” says Oliver. “To be the devil’s advocate, in a way.”

Because he’s been wearing Uggs since middle school, he knew a thing or two about the silhouette and liked the idea of giving them a cool factor. “When I grew up, it was extremely popular to mix suburban elements into an urban wardrobe,” Oliver says. “The cool girls at my school were always buying the baby pinks and blues. For me, I found secondhand ones and wore them with ripped jeans; the wear and tear of them felt really cool and weathered. That’s why I did leather instead of suede; it felt aged already.” He was also inspired to design Uggs that felt slightly polarizing—just like the stars wearing them back in the aughts, such as Pamela Anderson and Snookie. “They were not acknowledged as fashion heroes; people saw them as a faux pas,” says Oliver. “But they were actually extremely inspiring to a lot of kids of my generation.”

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