For some, a shirt is just a shirt, a jacket is just a jacket, boots are just boots – clothes are just clothes. However, for fashion enthusiasts, who indulge into the construction of fashion designs and search for the context and inspiration within each garment, clothes are viewed as another form of art. Fashion and art feed off of each other, and are often used as extensions for one another – Tschabalala Self’s latest collaboration with UGG is literal proof.
The Harlem-born artist uses painting as her main mode of artistic expression. Self’s body of work explores the significance of the Black female body in contemporary culture, while also exploring the emotional, physical, and psychological impact of the Black female body as icon.
The UGG X Tschabalala Self collaboration first kicked off in the fourth quarter of 2021 with a live performance written and directed by Self. Entitled Sounding Board, the performance consisted of three brief scenes that took place on a stage Self designed in the form of a sculpture that resembled her paintings. Self tells ESSENCE, “For the performance, I wanted to create a living painting and part of that task was to aestheticize the actors from head to toe.”
Now, ten pieces from the capsule collection, which were seen first at the performance in Harlem, are available for purchase. For inspiration, Self turned to her personal archive of past work to reimagine iconic UGG footwear silhouettes.
“In translating my artwork into apparel, I wanted to focus on the formal qualities of my work, ie. how is it made, how is it constructed and how it is put together,” said Self. “By focusing on these elements I was able to distill a look that was flexible enough to be applied to any design.”
Within the first release from the capsule collection, suede high-heels are constructed with bold contrast colors and eye-catching seam lines that were both inspired by Self’s play, Sounding Board. Classic UGG boots and slip-ons also take on new features that resemble aspects from Self’s work – creating another batch of cozy, stylish UGG designs.
Self explains, “The palette and seaming on my 2020 sculpture Loveseat inspired several works in the collection. I wanted to borrow the unique bodily and feminine palette of this work and its bold iconography to create a timeless and exciting design. The checkerboard patterning on the UGG x TS Diamond designs are lifted from a 2019 painting entitled Ol’ Bay, which features a traditional harlequin pattern with a red horizontal seam. I chose works from my practice that I loved and believed had visual aspects broad enough to be extracted and abstracted for this collaboration.”
Shop UGG x Tschabalala Self on ugg.com.