Why are people spending $2,500 on these Teletubbies boots?

Some shoe insiders say the price tag may help the footwear become a must-have item of the season.

Telletubbies have become Christian Cowan's latest muse. (Photo: Christian Cowan)
Teletubbies have become Christian Cowan's latest muse. (Photo: Christian Cowan)

Teletubbies may not be top of mind when you consider the possible inspirations for a viral fashion moment, but for designer Christian Cowan, the humanoid creatures were the ideal muse for his latest collection.

For those who don't remember, the Teletubbies — Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po — are the life-size, brightly colored characters and stars of the eponymous British children's television series, which premiered in 1997 and quickly became an international success.

Cowan's capsule collection, which includes including graphic T-shirts, jeans and hoodies, was inspired by all four Teletubbies. But one Teletubby in particular is featured in arguably the piece de resistance of the collection. Dipsy, best known for his lime green exterior and "dipstic" antenna, can be seen popping out to say "Eh-oh" on pairs of especially eclectic high-heeled boots.

"The Dipsy boots are the perfect light-hearted fashion statement for nostalgic fans of the show," the brand said in a statement to Yahoo Life.

What are these boots, and why are they so expensive?

The lime green pointed-toe boots, now available for pre-sale, retail for $2,500.

Traditionally, a price point this high would serve as a deterrent for many consumers, but some shoe insiders say the price tag may make the fancy footwear become a must-have item of the season.

"When people see something has a high price point, we automatically elevate the concept of it in our mind," Sophia Hyacinthe, the founder of ShoeSlutz, a resale footwear site that features a wide range of vintage boots, tells Yahoo Life.

She also says Cowan's pricing isn't too far off from what similar designers charge for high-end boots.

"The standard base is like a good $2,000. So when I see that price point, it doesn't shock me. Because that's what designer is. If you go into a store now for a nice, fancy boot, your baseline is starting at like $1,500 to $2,000," says Hyacinthe.

Now-stalgia strikes again

The year 2023 was already proving to be a big one for statement-making boots. In February, MSCHF's cartoon-inspired red boots took over timelines everywhere. And while these Dipsy doodads haven't gone quite as viral, they could be a serious contender for the next must-have nostalgic footwear.

"Seeing those boots, I automatically thought of the Rolling Stone spread that Britney Spears did that was very risqué at the time," Hyacinthe says.

On the April 1999 cover in question, Spears posed in a bra and boy shorts on a bed as she snuggled up to a Tinky Winky doll. This pop-culture moment is a nostalgic goldmine for consumers and brands alike, says Hyacinthe, who notes that childhood staples and "...Baby One More Time"-era Spears are the quintessential embodiment of current ’90s-era longings.

"When I see those boots, I instantly think of that and that sexy, controversial moment," Hyacinthe says.

A woman walks past a display with images of Rolling Stone magazine at
Britney Spears's April 1999 Rolling Stone cover — featuring a Teletubby — is seen on display at "The Zone," a pop-up experience and retail store celebrating the career Britney Spears. (Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

But even for those who can't recall this exact magazine cover or the first time they watched the children's TV series, these boots still represent a time worth throwing back to.

"Even the younger people get it, because they're digging into the archives and they're digging into the crates and making those connections; that's why these boots are significant and have a place," says Hyacinthe.

While this boot is the first of its kind and caters to a more adult audience, this is not the first time the colorful quartet has dabbled in the world of fashion.

In 2021, Teletubbies released its official Teletubbies Pride Collection. The line, which included bucket hats, muscle shirts, athletic shorts and more, was also inspired by the ’90s aesthetic. (The release was an especially tongue-in-cheek nod to fans of Tinky Winky, a character that had been the subject of endless speculation and scrutiny surrounding his sexuality due to his purple hue and red handbag.)

Who is this boot for?

The Christian Cowan boots are "targeted at the luxury fashion consumer, limited edition collector and super fans of Teletubbies," per a brand statement.

Hyacinthe echoes this sentiment, referring to the shoes as a staple piece for those who view fashion beyond the lens of wearability.

"This person has all of their basics down already. And now they're just looking to collect some pieces," Hyacinthe says.

The intersection of streetwear and luxury is also a profitable market, explains Hyacinthe, who says potential resale values could drive interest.

"With the hype-beast culture that's kind of transitioned over into high end fashion as well, you have a lot of people that like collecting vintage pieces and I think that this is a piece that might be considered as such in a couple of years," Hyacinthe explains.

But beyond resale potential, some style influencers say the kitschy boots indicate people are looking for more fun in their fashion.

"If the pandemic taught us anything, it was to enjoy life and live it to the fullest," fashion influencer Jenee Naylor tells Yahoo Life.

And even though these boots will not be making their way to Naylor's personal shopping cart, as the "Teletubbies reference doesn't necessarily speak to my personal style," she is happy to see people having fun with their wardrobe again. "Fashion is art at the end of the day and shouldn't always be taken so seriously," says Naylor.

Trend longevity

As fun as they may be, though, Naylor acknowledges that shelling out big bucks for boots with a likelihood to become dated can be risky from both a financial and sartorial perspective.

"One minute, a style can be deemed as ''in' and 'fashionable.' The next minute, the same style can be viewed as outdated," says Naylor.

But it's possible that the cyclical nature of fashion trends means these boots have the potential to be a vintage grail at some point, improving their staying power and overall worth.

"Instinctually we like to romanticize the past. So whether it be in 10 to 15 years, there's going to come a point in time where it's just like, 'I want to have these,'" says Hyacinthe.

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