If you fell into a coma in the mid-2000s and woke up today, you’d be shocked to find out that Crocs and Ugg boots are now considered stylish. The latter brand hasn’t blown up nearly as much as the former, but it has made a legitimate splash in fashion thanks to collaborations with the likes of Telfar and Feng Chen Wang. Slight alterations have made the comfy and practical boots a legitimately attractive option for winter, and now Tremaine Emory has put forth the best-looking Uggs to date.
Through Denim Tears, the designer known for his work at No Vacancy Inn and Yeezy has given two Ugg silhouettes a highly detailed and luxurious makeover. Intricate beadwork takes inspiration from Emory’s great-grandmother and his Black Seminole heritage through a snake-like weave on Classic boots and a floral arrangement on the Tasman slipper. Toscana sheepskin, which is longer and softer than standard sheepskin, is used for the lining of each silhouette and should be an absolute pleasure to step into.
A price befitting to the upgrades is to be expected, and indeed neither Ugg will come cheap. The Classic boot will set you back $500, while the Tasman slipper comes in at $475. But because we’re talking artisan-level craftsmanship here, both silhouettes are well worth the price and could spruce up your fits for staying indoors or trekking outside in the cold.
Emory is a phenomenal story teller — Following up on a Levi’s collaboration that explored the complicated legacy of cotton both personally and in Black history, Emory and Denim Tears continue to dig into his family history to tell a story through design. “I’m using clothing as a Trojan horse,” he told GQ. “I think the strongest wave of Black cool geniuses is in clothing right now, and I’m taking the onus to use it as a bridge over the algorithm that feeds you the same thing over and over again.”
The focus on the Black Seminoles may put Emory’s followers onto history they hadn’t been aware of prior, and the Ugg boots have released alongside a wider capsule of apparel celebrating the culture. Jeans from Levi’s, T-shirts, and sweatshirts all combine African and Black Seminole iconography, and the Denim Tears website is also selling copies of the book The Black Seminoles.
As part of the collaboration, Ugg has made a $50,000 donation to the Guardians Institute and Backstreet Cultural Museum, two New Orleans institutions that support and provide education about Black and Indigenous communities. You can pick up the boots and slippers right now through Denim Tears, and further availability will come from Ugg and select other retailers beginning February 10.