Painter Tschabalala Self Has Teamed Up With Ugg (Yes, Ugg) to Create a Capsule Collection of Wearable Art

Their collaboration kicked off last fall with costumes for the artist's Performa 2021 Biennial commission.

The artist wearing her Ugg x Tschabalala Self Classic Diamond boots. Photo: Christian DeFonte; courtesy of Christian DeFonte.

Tschabalala Self is known for her mixed-media paintings that depict Black women and reflect the largely female community that helped bring her up in Harlem, New York. They are collages of colorful textiles, bold prints, and painted canvases often incorporating a brown similar to the shade of Ugg boots—with whom she has just debuted a new capsule collection.

Last fall, for the Performa 2021 Biennial, Self staged her first live production near her family home, in the band shell of Harlem’s Jackie Robinson Park. Titled Sounding Board, the three-act play was brief, albeit something of a Gesamtkunstwerk; the artist wrote, casted, and directed it while creating everything from costumes to stage props in the style of her paintings.

Wearing the Ugg x TS Fatale boot and Diamond jacket. Photo: Sergio Gutierrez; courtesy of Ojeras.

Wearing the Ugg x TS Fatale boot and Diamond jacket. Photo: Sergio Gutierrez; courtesy of Ojeras.

“I wanted to create a living artwork,” Self told Artnet News, “and part of that task was to aestheticize every aspect of the production, including the actors—from head to toe.”

For the latter, she custom-designed outerwear and footwear in collaboration with Ugg. The southern California­­ lifestyle brand previously teamed up with the artist Claire Tabouret and has also supported exhibitions like “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer Museum in 2020.

“Ugg is a brand that makes you feel,” said Lindsey Dicola Dashoff, its senior director of global brand communications and public relations. “We are champions of bold self-expression, so partnering with artists to showcase iconic Ugg silhouettes through their creative lens is not only an honor, but a vehicle for us to tell powerful stories.”

Wearing pieces from the Ugg x Tschabalala Self collection. Photo: Phi Vu; courtesy of Ojeras.

Wearing pieces from the Ugg x Tschabalala Self collection. Photo: Phi Vu; courtesy of Ojeras.

Self has worn Ugg boots since high school. “My favorites were these all-black, over-the-knee ones I bought on 125th back in 2013, from this fashion spot near the Apollo,” she said.

As for their Performa partnership: “Ugg helped me to actualize very specific costume elements for the production, to truly transform the actors in the process by totally embedding them into the visual landscape of the play.”

Now, a number of the Sounding Board styles are available to purchase from a 10-piece Ugg x Tschabalala Self capsule collection. “The collaboration was super generative from the start,” said the artist, “and it only made sense to push it further into a proper collection—one which could be available to everyone.”

Tschabalala Self, <em>Loner </em>(2016). Craig Robins Collection. ©<br />

Tschabalala Self, Loner (2016). Craig Robins Collection. ©
Tschabalala Self.

Among them: high-heeled boots—a silhouette originally conceived for the play—in the brand’s classic suede with contrasting colors that echo Self’s paintings and experimental set. Meanwhile, iconic Ugg styles have been designed with extra seams in a pink ombre inspired by Self’s Loveseat sculpture.

The artist turned a section of one of her paintings, Loner, into a marbled pattern that wraps around her exposed-fluff Ugg Ultra Mini boots. And with their matching checkerboard prints plucked from Self’s Ol’ Bay painting, the Ugg x TS Diamond boots, jacket, and tote bag were designed to be worn together, for those looking to be immersed in a total work of wearable art.

The Ugg x Tschabalala Self collection is available for purchase here and at select Ugg® stores in the U.S.

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