House Shoes From Jill Burrows Lend Style to Staying at Home
Feeling the need to remain fashionable at the most casual moments of her life, including spending downtime at home, Jill Burrows has long experienced a desire to own well-made slippers. Despite her thoughts that it would be easy to find a quality-made, stylish slipper that didn’t resemble an accouterment to sleepwear, Burrows couldn’t quite locate a proper fit for her vision.
“I wanted house shoes that weren’t hot, fuzzy slippers,” she said. “Even in the summertime, I wasn’t finding something that was really fashionable. I didn’t want to feel stripped down to pajamas all the time. It should be something that looked great even when I was at home.”
While living in London, Burrows found traditional Moroccan babouches, which caught her eye as a potential design. Once she moved to Los Angeles and had a baby, Burrows became aware of the pollutants that could be tracked into her home and was committed to creating the product for which she had long searched, deciding in 2017 to launch her eponymous line of Jill Burrows house shoes.
“I moved to L.A., had a baby and was living in downtown Los Angeles. I stopped wearing shoes inside my house because when I walked inside from downtown it seemed disgusting to bring in these outdoor elements as my baby crawled on the floor,” she explained. “I kept thinking, ‘Other people must need these slippers as well,’ so I looked into having them made on my own.”
Initially, remaining true to the origin of the design was important, and Burrows wanted to source the slippers from Morocco, yet after a year of trying to make it work she found that the traditional pieces were cut wide, yielding a different fit than the house shoe she had envisioned. To tell a story of quality work performed by skilled workers who perfected their craft, Burrows decided to manufacture in Los Angeles, partnering with Rouben Thompson and his wife, Gemma.
“It’s been wonderful to drive up to North Hollywood to work with them and make sure the fit is perfect,” she said. “I love working with craftsmen, and I love to drive up to North Hollywood and work with them.”
Using leather sourced from the United States, Italy and South America for the products’ uppers, the collection relies on a type of foam for the lining that is often included in athletic shoes. The Puron foam affords long wear without breaking down.
“If you wear them on the weekends all day long, which so many people tell me they wear them every moment when they’re home, the foams will wear out quickly, so I researched a resilient material,” she said. “Puron will not flatten out.”
For her winter collection, which is launching Nov. 4, Burrows is adding a new feature to two of her designs. A shearling lining will be included in a black-and-burgundy pair and a style in winter white with peach and tan details.
“They are lined with shearling from South America on the top because I find a lot of shearling slippers lined on top and bottom tend to overheat feet and the bottom shearling starts matting quickly,” she explained. “The top is lined and warms your feet. The bottom is still lined with the Italian leather of the other slippers. They remain clean and, still, elegant.”
Though these colors are new to the line, Burrows does maintain a few favorite colorways in an indigo blue that features a back of gold and a bright white, which includes a gold front and forest-green back. Her designs are primarily available to women in whole sizes 6–10, but she did create a limited-edition men’s collection in 9–13 for Holiday 2018. Due to her predominantly direct-to-consumer business model, Burrows will bypass repeating styles that don’t perform well or will include them only seasonally, yet she will accept custom orders.
“It’s demand and the seasonality,” she explained. “I am such a small business that I have to pick and choose what is included in my inventory at any one time.”
To promote Jill Burrows, the founder is exploring corporate-gifting partnerships that are popular during the holidays—with companies including luxury hotelier Palihouse and British brand Paul Smith—and pop-up partnerships with local retailers. This weekend, Burrows is collaborating for the second time with the Anki Spets–founded bedding shop Area in Beverly Hills, Calif., a partnership that will last through November. The showcase will also include products from Lait candles by Jennifer Rhee and ceramics artist Raina J. Lee to highlight the work of local Los Angeles design businesses that were founded by women.
“We wanted to create more foot traffic through collaborations because we want to showcase local designers who have a small footprint,” explained Leah Cooper, an Area associate. “Jill is the perfect person. She started off with an idea and was so into the design aspect that it kind of made her obsessed, so we could relate to that.”
Retailing between $128 and $138 per pair, Jill Burrows is available online at shopjillburrows.com and at select pop-up shops.