It seems these days you can't sell a trendy brand without opening your own boutique.
Ugg Australia, maker of the sheepskin boots Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson made famous, is the latest in a spate of designers setting up their own retail shops in an effort to showcase their collections.
The luxury footwear manufacturer has begun construction of its first Chicago store at 909 N. Rush St., near the corner of Delaware Place and Rush Street in the Gold Coast. The 3,500-square-foot Ugg store is slated to open Oct. 13. It is taking over space vacated by Children in Paradise, an independent children's bookstore that closed earlier this summer.
Ugg follows in the footsteps of Juicy Couture, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs and True Religion, to name a few of the high-end brands that have landed recently in Chicago's trendiest neighborhoods.
"We believe the opportunity exists for Ugg stores in many of the major metropolitan cities around the world, and we're committed to expanding this growing segment of our business," said Angel Martinez, president and chief executive of Goleta, Calif.-based Deckers Outdoor Corp. during an earnings conference call with analysts in July.
Deckers acquired Ugg in 1995. A young surfer from Australia created the line of sheepskin boots in 1978.
The clunky boots became super-trendy at the turn of the millennium when Hollywood stars began wearing them and Oprah bought 350 pairs for her entire staff.
As is typical with the fickle fashion crowd, Ugg eventually lost its luster. But last year, the brand began to get noticed again.
Ugg, which operates a handful of outlets, opened its first flagship store in New York's Soho district in December. It also plans to set up shop in Montreal.
FROM BURGERS TO BLUE JEANS: The corner of Rush Street and Delaware Place, where Ugg is moving, is in the midst of a fashion overhaul. Next door, Miss Sixty, the Italian premium denim line, plans to move into the space currently occupied by the 1950s diner chain Johnny Rockets at 901 N. Rush St. next spring, according to two people familiar with the company's plans.
The maker of $200 blue jeans, which has a stable of stores in California, has been rolling out shops nationwide. The Gold Coast store will be its first in Chicago. The retailer has an outlet store in Aurora.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Pendleton Woolen Mills, the Portland, Ore.-based maker of classic clothing, plans to open a 2,300-square-foot store at the Oak Brook Promenade in west suburban Oak Brook on Friday. The fifth-generation family-owned business closed its longstanding downtown store in the Palmer House arcade. The Palmer House shops are undergoing an expansion and renovation.
Meanwhile, Robbins Bros., a family-run jewelry chain from Southern California, entered the Chicago market this summer with stores at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and at 3031 Butterfield Rd. in Oak Brook. The firm, which specializes in engagement rings, plans to open a third store at 2184 N. Elston Rd. in Lincoln Park in October.