by Stephen Garner

Ugg has debuted a new flagship store at 530 Fifth Avenue in New York City (on the corner of 45th Street). This new concept marks the first of its kind for the footwear brand. A curated fleet of flagship stores will be rolled out globally in 2021 and beyond.

Built to reflect the brand’s evolution from its Classic boot to a full lifestyle brand that offers an expansive collection of footwear, ready-to-wear, accessories, and home, the multi-level, 12,842 square foot store reimagines the brand’s California roots.

Designed by Los Angeles-based architecture studio Florencia Pita & Co., in partnership with San Francisco-based Quezada Architecture, the store will feature exclusive items and experiences throughout the years.

“We are thrilled to launch the new Ugg flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York City,” said Stefano Caroti, president of omnichannel, Deckers Brands, the owner of the Ugg brand. “As the pinnacle expression of our brand, we will showcase the breadth and depth of Ugg as a true lifestyle brand and provide the customer with the ultimate brand experience.”

To celebrate the brand’s first flagship store in NYC and connect with the local community, Ugg regionalized its holiday “Feel Love.” campaign and features three courageous New York-based real-life heroes. Life in 2020 has changed immeasurably, but humanity has met its challenges with resilience, courage, and above all, love. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people, and the holidays are a time to celebrate them. The stories of King’s County Distillery co-owner Colin Spoelman, ICU nurse Kimberly Llanto, and restaurant owner Melba Wilson and their kindness, generosity, and public service inspire all.

Native Kentuckian Colin Spoelman is a trained architect and founder of Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. When the pandemic hit, he switched over the distillery’s production facilities to make hand sanitizer and distributed 15,000+ bottles throughout the five boroughs to frontline workers and anyone that asked.

Kimberly Llanto followed her mother into nursing. She started her career in 2019 as an acute surgical nurse, but when the pandemic happened in New York, she quickly transitioned to caring for COVID-19 patients. She spent six months as a COVID-19 ICU nurse and began using her social channels to encourage and support nursing students and new nurses during this challenging time.

As Melba Wilson likes to say, she was “born, bread, and buttered in Harlem.” She’s the owner of Melba’s Restaurant, the president of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, and a board member of the Opportunity Charter School and Harlem Park to Park. To help her community through the pandemic, Melba’s has been providing family-style meals at a discounted rate and set up fundraising efforts to support her staff while restaurants were shuttered.

“A gift is an expression of love and so is giving back,” added Andrea O’Donnell, president of Ugg and Koolaburra by Ugg of Deckers Brands. “To launch our flagship in New York City, we wanted to recognize those brave people and innovators who give back every day of the year and ask our community to honor friends, family, and colleagues who do the same. In these turbulent times feeling love is the best antidote I can think of.”

Earlier in the year, Ugg donated $1 million through its ‘Better Together’ initiative—the focus of this aid was to help those in need, on both a national and local scale, aiming to bring comfort and relief during the global pandemic through cash and product donations. One of those partnerships was in support of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public healthcare system in the nation that cares for all, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. In the COVID-19 crisis, their dedicated, compassionate, brave workforce of more than 42,000 employees are on the frontlines caring for New Yorkers in Emergency Rooms, ICUs, community health centers, and nursing homes.