We managed to nab an exclusive interview with Diana FitzGerald, the super brilliant creator of LIVS boots.
Check it out:
1. Tell us something about your background. Where are you ‘from’? Where are you ‘going’?
I was brought up in France by a British father and French mother. At 17, I started my fashion modeling career, which then later led to being a fashion stylist in my late twenties. My whole life I’ve been very involved with fashion and beauty. It was this background which brought me to design the LIVS boots. I have created footwear that women can enjoy for many years to come. This footwear is what I would love to continue to design over the coming years.
2. How did you start LIVS and where did you get the idea for the crochet boots?
In 2004, I was itching to make my mark on the fashion front. Although I’d never been a shoe worshipper, like many women are, I came up with the idea of a boot that could work in all seasons. I have always been very keen on boots and had always wished there were some sort of boot which translated into summer as effortlessly as it did during the cooler seasons. For me, the whole wearing UGGs and having your feet sweat through a hot summer day didn’t appeal to me. I wanted comfort, and I knew I couldn’t be the only one. Around the same time my creative juices started flowing, famous designers started reviving crochet, a trend which had an old fashioned, vintage feel to it. These designers brought it back in a more modern and hip way. This revival definitely piqued my interest and I eventually found that crochet was the perfect solution to the ideal boot I had been trying to create for some months. From there, LIVS was born.
3. When did Uggs steal your design?
It wasn’t until the summer of 2006 that I found out UGGs had put my design into production. My daughter Olivia’s best friend in Los Angeles called her one night sounding very agitated. She worked at a fashion boutique in Sherman Oaks, CA and had just popped into the shoe store next door like she usually did some nights after her shift. This night was different. When she walked in, she saw the exact replica of my shoe sitting on a small bench by the door. An UGGs sales rep was holding up the pair and cooing over the comfort of the new ‘hit’ shoe. She called my daughter with the grim news right away. Although the UGGs do not share the same values as the LIVS (they have sheepskin on the inside which keeps them rather warm to wear during the summer, and they are NOT washable, as the LIVS are) I found it quite shocking that such a big company could so cruelly stomp on the idea of a small business. In fact, what was even more amazing is that in 2004 I tried to sell my idea to UGGs thinking they could make it really big and they turned down even talking to me. They probably thought I wasn’t a big enough fish to fry. A year later, my shoes were making headlines by having the likes of Sienna Miller and Jennifer Lopez wearing them. It was my turn to laugh, until UGGs came and took my hard earned work away from me.
4. How are you going to regain control over your design?
Well, eventually I got my U.S. patent on my design which I didn’t have in the beginning. It was pending for over two years. When it came it was such a relief because I knew I was going to be able to take action against all the LIVS impostors.
5. Is there anyway to force Uggs to stop selling their crochet boots?
Yes, it is possible through the court system. However, it will take time and effort.
When Oprah had her Christmas list special last November, she put the UGGs crochet boots as number 2 on her Christmas list. This was a disfavor to me as UGGs had done nothing but steal the design away from me. If there were a way to get through to her and let her know what the real deal is with these crochet boots, maybe she could warn her many viewers about what UGGs has done.
6. Is it possible to sue them over this?
Yes, it is possible. I don’t think a publicly traded company should be let out of a doghouse for hurting a small business by shamelessly stealing their design.
7. Will you release other styles in the future?
I have already released new styles and will go on doing so. I think it is important to keep the LIVS spirit alive.
8. What is your goal for LIVS?
My goal is to show the world what LIVS is really made of. I want LIVS to thrive and succeed the way I know it was meant to. Additionally, I am working on a very special LIVS project which will hopefully bring LIVS to new heights. Stay tuned because we aren’t going away anytime soon!
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