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Tschabalala Self and UGG

Tschabalala Self Teams Up with UGG for a Capsule Collection

In October 2021, the artist Tschabalala Self wrote and directed her first live performance, “Sounding Board.” Created for the Performa 2021 Biennial at Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem, NY, the work consisted of three scenes held on a stage she designed as a sculpture reminiscent of her paintings. In accompaniment, she debuted a custom clothing collection inspired by her body of work.

Recently, some of these designs were reimagined for footwear crated in collaboration with UGG, now available in a 10-piece capsule collection. Some styles were inspired by specific works, like Loveseat, while others reflected her painting practice at large. 

To learn more, Whitewall spoke with Self about working with a new set of tactile materials, how Harlem inspires her, and what her favorite pair in the collection is. 

Tschabalala Self UGG Courtesy of Tschabalala Self and UGG.

WHITEWALL: What was your starting point for the collection?  

TSCHABALALA SELF: The starting point for the collection was my Performa 21 commission, “Sounding Board,” an experimental play in three parts. “Sounding” Board ran for three days as part of Performa, the recurring New York festival. The three-act, 45-minute performance took place at the bandshell of Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem near my family home. The actors interacted in a set designed by me with custom clothing and design objects—every element reflecting my painting practice.

WW: Your practice typically works with traditional mediums like paint. How did it feel to work with other materials, like suede, shearling, and leather?

TS: It has been exciting working within the medium of performance and theatre. It is a new experience for me, which has allowed me to explore many new avenues—particularly design. I have approached the process experimentally and have thought of it as a creative prompt.

Working with UGG allowed me to complete the actors’ costumes fully by giving them shoes and jackets which were fully integrated into the aesthetic of the set. UGG is a brand that is truly dedicated to materiality and tactility, which I identify with and enjoy, for these reasons it was exciting to reimagine the UGG’s DNA elements for my new designs.

Tschabalala Self UGG Courtesy of Tschabalala Self and UGG.

WW: What works of yours inspired some of the new styles? Why those works?

TS: 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.  

WW: What was the collaborative process like working with Ugg?

TS: I conceptualized the entire set, all design elements and the costuming for the play, as an extension of my painting practice in 3D—with the stage itself becoming a living work of art. My colorful and city-inspired footwear for the performers was an opportunity to aestheticize my actors from head to toe. UGG was an enthusiastic and easy collaborator as they gave me free rein to deconstruct and reconstruct the UGG boot for the purpose of my new world within “Sounding Board.”

Tschabalala Self UGG Courtesy of Tschabalala Self and UGG.

WW: Does being based in Harlem impact your approach to fashion?

TS: 100 percent. Harlem is a style mecca. I owe my whole worldview to Harlem.

WW: What’s your favorite pair?

TS: I really can’t choose because I love them all—but I am particularly proud of the UGG x TS Cozy Heel boot. 

WW: What exhibitions of yours should we keep on our radar for this season, or 2022?

TS: I am very excited to announce that I have a forthcoming show at Le Consortium in Dijon opening in summer 2022.

Tschabalala Self UGG Courtesy of Tschabalala Self and UGG.
Tschabalala Self UGG Courtesy of Tschabalala Self and UGG.




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