Saturday, September 7, 2013

What News: Pennsylvania Middle School Bans Ugg Boots

As we told you, do not wear sheepskin boots too much. Here is the reason.

Read more:

In an effort to curb cell phone usage during classes, Pottstown Middle School will require students to leave their beloved fuzzy boots at the door. The ban on Ugg boots starts Monday, and those who wear boots on the way to school will have to change into sneakers or other lace-up, tight shoes before entering classes.

“We have been experiencing problems with some students wearing open top boots and carrying items in their boots that are prohibited in school,” Principal Gail Cooper wrote in a note sent home to parents Wednesday, Pottstown’s The Mercury reports.

Though the restrictions apply to all “outdoor, open-top” footwear, John Amarato, the district’s director of community relations, told The Mercury the popular UGG Australia shoes (and their off-brand counterparts) were causing the most trouble.

When the news hit Facebook, a stream of virulent reactions from parents followed.  According to The Mercury, more than 100 comments had been posted on the newspaper’s page within an hour. And though some parents note that cell phones are a distraction, some told NBC Philadelphia that it’s just as easy to hide devices in sneakers.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sheepskin Boots are NOT Cheaper in Australia

Orignal Post Here:

It's widely thought by people (mainly females) around the world that sheepskin boots (those of the big brand) are cheaper in Australia. So, are they? In a word, 'no'. Here's how I found out...

 Last September I travelled to Chicago to record a couple of videos which will be available on the site shortly. The day I got back into the office, Aisling (a colleague of mine) asked me, "What did you get Vicky (my girlfriend)?" "A pair of sheepskin (Australia) boots," I told her as I explained how they are far cheaper in the States. Then Aisling informed me that they are even cheaper in Australia, as that's where they're made. Fortunately for Vicky, I was travelling there a couple of months later.

 Upon learning that sheepskin boots were even cheaper in Australia, Vicky politely asked me if she was receiving a present from Down Under, and if so, was there any way that present could be a pair of US size 5 grey Bailey 3-button sheepskin boots. She can be very precise when she wants to be.

Being the good boyfriend that I am, I went in search of these sheepskin boots in Sydney. But when I went looking for them I found out that in Australia, 'Ugg' boots are actually a type of footwear, just like slippers or trainers. So, in fact, in Australia there are numerous type of sheepskin boots, by brands such as 'Urban Ugg', 'Shearers Ugg' and others.

While all these brands are Australia-owned, they're not the famous sheepskin boots that most girls want, even though they are substantially cheaper. Instead, the 'Ugg Australia' boots, which are actually owned by American company Deckers Outdoor Corporation who are based in the US, are just as expensive in Australia as they are in Ireland, the UK or other countries.

So, if you're going to Australia and are in search of cheap sheepskin boots, the good news is you'll find them. They just won't be the brand that everybody knows so well. Instead, you'll find these in the US of America.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sheepskin Boots are Over – the Fashion World Rejoices

Although we told you not to wear sheepskin boots a lot. The following is a big news.

But it is an old news posted 1 year ago. Sheepskin boots is still alive! Bravo!
Here it comes:

Sales are of the ubiquitous comfy boot are finally falling. Has the rest of the world realised what the fashionistas always knew? Plus, we tell you what to do with your old, unfashionable sheepskin boots.

It may be an object of derision throughout the fashion industry, but the Sheepskin boot – a bit like the bootcut jean, or the square-toed office-boy shoes – has refused to die. Over the past 10 years, sales continued to rise, and their squat, solid, shearling-lined shapes became the footwear of young Britons nationwide.
No Sheepskin Boots, No Way!

Until now. The newest sales figures from Deckers, the sheepskin boots parent group, are down 31%. While this has been put down to mild weather, and prices of the boots rising, it's a minor victory for fashion. While not defeated – prices will be reduced in a bid to boost sales – its footwear nemesis is showing signs of weakness.

In truth, these signs have been there for a while. Sheepskin boots are undeniably comfortable – they're more often worn as slippers in their native Australia – but the ubiquity of them, and their many imitations, has led to overkill. Bad press has been growing. In a survey in 2010, they were voted one of the 10 items men don't like on women and a judge recently ruled they can be dangerous to wear while driving.

They originally gained fashionability in 2001 when they were worn by celebrities including Cameron Diaz, but recent advocates include Joey Essex: hardly an advert for a chic, off-duty look. Rana Reeves, founder of brand agency John Doe, believes this has damaged the reputation of the brand. "I'd say they're in a similar position to when Daniella Westbrook wore Burberry," he says. "They need to go back to basics."

That's certainly not something the brand has been doing recently. Instead, expansion has been the policy. With sales increasing by as much as 67% in one quarter of 2009, confidence has been understandably high – and has led to some questionable ranges appearing alongside the classic boot. The firm has expanded into high-heeled styles with price points over £300, handbags, and even a bridal collection. It might be a case of one spongy step too far. "Sheepskin's core product is seasonal," says Honor Westnedge, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research. "While it has tried to diversify into new ranges, these have struggled to achieve the same level of popularity as its winter boot collections."

Westnedge points to the relatively high price of sheepskin boots as a problem, "in a period of limited discretionary spending", and suggests that consumers are unlikely to buy more than one pair. There's also the issue that they may simply be out of vogue. New competitors in the boot market include Hunter, Le Chameau (the brand favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge) and, recently, Converse. In contrast to Uggs, Hunter has seen its profits rise – 38% last year – and style leaders from Kate Moss to Sarah Jessica Parker wear its boots. Reeves believes its success is down to a savvy marketing policy. "They stay true to what they are," he says. "They're functional, they keep your feet dry. Hunter have done some collaborations but they have never tried to be fashion. That's what Deckers did, and that's where they went wrong." Fashion has long rejected sheepskin boots – it looks like the rest of the populace is finally following its lead.

Five uses for an old Sheepskin boot

1. Crap gloves sheepskin boots are only unfashionable on your feet. Stroll around with them on your hands and people won't know what to think.

2. Insulation Got an uninsulated pipe about the size of your shin? Whack an sheepskin on it. Problem solved.

3. Weasel beds Most weasels find their beds cold and uncomfortable. Let's do something for them, guys.

4.Fashionista repellent A single scrap of Sheepskin boot worn on a lanyard around the neck will keep away all but the most foolhardy fashion snobs. Win.

5. Safer throwing boots Tired of accidentally braining a six-year-old when you hurl your wellingtons across the park? Softer equals safer.

Tom Meltzer

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Experts Debate Dangers of Wearing Popular Sheepskin Boots—March 17, 2010

Despite the fact that Sheepskin boots and their many knockoff incarnations have long been considered a “fashion don’t,” lots of women love and continue to wear these suede and sheepskin boots all winter long.

Sheepskin boots are warm, cozy, they’re easy to throw on with any outfit, they feel like slippers, and they’re a celebrity favorite. Of course this makes the boots very appealing and popular, especially during chillier months. But are they actually good for your feet? Experts say no.

In a recent Daily Mail article, professionals spoke out about the health risks of wearing cheap, imitation sheepskin boots. But does the sheepskin boot, which retails for $140 and up, really provide more support than its more affordable imitators?

Wear Sheepskin Boots Sparingly

Dr. Rock Positano, Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service for the Hospital for Special Surgery, sees no difference. “Whether they are real or fake, we’re dealing with footwear that offers no substantial and necessary orthopedic support for the foot and the ankle.” He has many clients come to him with complications from wearing sheepskin boots.

 Dr. Positano is anti-Ugg across the board. “Whether you have a high arch, or a flat arch, inherently there are issues. You have the support issue under the foot, and the fact that there’s no support around the ankle joint or the Achilles tendon,” says Dr. Positano. And when it comes to affecting children, young ladies, or mature women, he insists, “This type of shoe does not discriminate.”

As the boots place stress on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, everyday use can cause long-term problems for wearers like bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, tendinitis, and issues with their Achilles tendon, knees, hips and lower back.

“Most people don’t develop the symptoms until the day after,” says Dr. Positano. “When you’re walking in them, they’re comfortable.” So should women stop wearing sheepskin boots if they experience discomfort? “It’s probably a prudent idea,” says Dr. Positano, “because nine out of ten times these issues are caused by improper or inadequate foot and ankle support.”

The key is to use your sheepskin boots sparingly or when you know you won’t be doing extensive walking or activity. For casual wearers who are looking to reinforce their boots for safety, the doctors say that adding supportive insoles would be a great first step.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sheepskin Boot Maker Fined in New Zealand

A District Court judge has convicted and fined a Christchurch sheepskin boot manufacturer for blatantly misleading consumers.

Mi Woolies has been fined $63,000 after pleading guilty in the Christchurch District Court to 10 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

The charges brought by the Commerce Commission relate to false or misleading country of origin claims on the company's brand of UGG boots.

The commission said the swing tags and labels on the outside of the footwear implied that it was made in New Zealand when it was manufactured entirely in China. 

Judge Gary MacAskill noted in his sentencing that it was clear Mi Woollies calculatedly and blatantly set out to mislead consumers.

This news remind me The Uggly World of 'Australian-made' Boots

What do you learn from this news? Here is mine, do not fool your consumer and yourself at last.

What a Funny World!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sheepskin gets foothold in fashion

This article refers to   

 The nanotechnology and fashion worlds have collided as Kiwi scientists zero in on an untapped market thought to be worth up to $125 million to our export economy - sheepskin shoes.

The sheepskin market has historically been closed to shoe manufacturers, aside from soft ballet shoes and "Ugg boots" favoured by Hollywood celebrities on their days off.

The bulk of New Zealand's sheepskins are made into rugs or garments because they were thought too weak for use in footwear.

HEEL-MAKER: Richard Edmonds, Senior Research Scoientist at LASRA (New Zealand Leather and Shoe Association.)

But scientists in Palmerston North have spent the past four years honing a stronger product and a world first that they think could shake up the luxury leather footwear market.

Within the $40 billion global leather market, Palmerston North-based Leather and Shoe Research Association (LASRA) saw a niche.

About 60 per cent of leather demand comes from footwear manufacturers, a third of them based in Italy, who buy top quality New Zealand calf hides to produce sought-after shoes and accessories that carry the "Made in Italy" label.
The LASRA Ovine Consortium project, funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, set out with an idea to construct a lightweight sheep leather that could be processed sustainably and compete with cow hide in the global market.

Massey University scientists have been analysing the molecular structure of sheep and lamb skins to find a way to make them as strong as bovine leather.

The attraction is the stability of the fashion footwear and accessories market, says LASRA director Geoff Holmes.

"Fashion is fickle and with leather jackets you may have a good surge in demand even when the price is high, but all of a sudden no-one wants leather jackets this season. It's not the same with shoes - people want shoes they can keep for a long time but they also want new shoes for every season, in a different colour or style."

The concept has been estimated by the Government to be worth as much as $125 million a year in export returns for our economy, and LASRA has filed for a patent on the process.

The science behind the style is the brainchild of Massey University nanotechnology Professor Richard Haverkamp and LASRA PhD students Melissa Basil-Jones and Katie Sizeland, who have travelled back and forth to Australia to perfect the science.

Last month, LASRA senior research scientist Dr Richard Edmonds travelled to Istanbul to present the concept at a world leather manufacturers' conference.

The concept of using enzymes to process sheepskin leather drew interest overseas and formed the basis of LASRA's patent application. An alternative to toxic chemicals traditionally used in leather tanneries had been sought after by the industry for more than a century and could mean a safer workplace for tanners in future, Dr Edmonds said.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Uggly World of 'Australian-made' Boots

Note: This article refers to article on ABC, check the original article here.

Stepping into the Roman Tannery is like taking a step back in time.

Gigantic wooden tanning drums filled with 60,000 litres of liquid and skins rumble continuously like relics from the industrial age.

But while sheepskin tanning might seem an ancient art, the machines that clean, soak and trim the skins are highly sophisticated.

"You can't buy these machines in Australia any more," says the manager of the tannery, Zoran Stanojcic, as he steps me through the 38-stage process.

"If you had to start from scratch now, I don't think you'd be able to do it, or you'd have to have a lot of money."

The warehouse, located in Laverton just west of Melbourne holds the last sheepskin tannery in the country. The company's founder, Roman Fishman, says when he started making ugg boots with his wife Luda, after fleeing Soviet Russia 32 years ago, there were around 70 tanneries in the country. There are only a handful left and he thinks theirs is now the only dedicated sheepskin tannery in Australia.

"I started becoming a tanner because nobody could supply me with the skins and so I had to do it myself," says Mr Fishman who inspects the sheep every morning himself to pick the highest quality fleeces.

"I see them in the morning alive and at lunch time the skins come to us and we put them in to the process."

The tannery processes around 150,000 skins a year, mainly to turn into ugg boots. But Roman Fishman says he would happily produce more if he could sell them.
"We have a much bigger capacity...but we are under pressure from low grade skins coming from China," he said.

"It's very hard to compete with them."

The ugg boot side of the business is overseen by managing director Lena Fishman who sells under the label Ugg Australia. While there are other ugg boots made domestically, all other manufacturers use sheepskins tanned overseas.

Despite the challenges of higher labour costs, Lena Fishman says her boots are only 10 per cent more expensive than foreign-made products and sell cheaper than some Australian brands.

"It's about reacting to market, it's about the loyalty that people know because they've tested one of those products that falls apart," she explains.

But it hasn't been easy. The company spent eight years in court fighting to retain their name after an American company, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, objected to their use of the term Ugg Australia, which Deckers have trademarked in the US and several other countries. On that front, Lena Fishman was successful, but she says she faces an even larger challenge of competing with imported products that are rebadged as Australian-made.

"We are starting to have our reputation ruined over the marketing and the lack of legal action over these products," says Ms Fishman, who prides herself on producing the only fully Australian-made ugg boots in the world.

Lena Fishman says that the lack of action taken by Australian Made, the organisation which overseas the use of the Australian Made logo, has led to more manufacturers heading overseas.

"In the last ten years, we have watched real manufacturers move offshore because the laws are so loose, one follows the other and it's a race to the bottom," she said.

The consumer watchdog, the ACCC, has taken action against ugg boot companies falsely claiming to manufacture in Australia. Earlier this month, Queensland company Koala Jack received a court order requiring it to stop using the Australian Made logo after its products were found to be manufactured in China. But Lena Fishman says that kind of action hardly touches the surface.

"There's been no legal action, there's plenty of product with no country of origin and no factories have been closed," she said.
"It ruins the reputation of Australians world-wide."

Australian Made, for its part, accepts that the organisation is facing an uphill battle when it comes to products being falsely labelled as made in Australia.
"If we don't monitor the claim made in Australian, then ... the companies that are going to make product in Australia will most likely have a price penalty in the marketplace," said Australian Made chief executive, Ian Harrison.

Mr Harrison says every claim of misuse of the Australia Made logo is investigated. But only 1 per cent of companies using the logo are audited each year. Mr Harrison concedes that more regulation is required from both the ACCC and Australian Made if consumers are to have confidence in the Australian Made logo.

"We'd like it to be more than 1 per cent, but it's a question of resources," said Mr Harrison, who says the ACCC is also constrained by a lack of resources.
Despite the challenges, Roman Fishman is determined to ensure that the company he started 32 years ago with $60 and a few second-hand sewing machines will continue to manufacture in Australia.

"We have to survive this industry because if we don't save this industry, what will be left for our children?" he asks.

If the passion and conviction of his daughter, Lena Fishman, is anything to go by, fully Australian-made ugg boots will be around for some time to come.
"We will continue to do what we do and I know the general public would be behind us," she said.

"I'm not going anywhere."

What do you learn from this article? Now you know more about the history and facts of sheepskin boots.