WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
This new Paris-based shoe brand is offering genderless, size-inclusive boots and Mary Jane pumps – all sustainably made using apple leather.
Space-age boots and genderless pumps is Jiij’s speciality. Images courtesy of @jiijofficial.
Designer Ieva Juskaite, like many of us, did a lot of introspection over the last year – and it led her to create JiiJ, a real modern-day shoe brand designed to be genderless, accessible to all and sustainably made using apple leather.
As a tall woman, Juskaite always had difficulty finding shoes in her size and unless she was placing bespoke orders, she was always limited to men’s departments or sneaker brands. “Why shouldn’t I be able to wear more fashion-forward shoes?” she said, adding that some quick research proved to her that she was not alone and there were many women facing the same issue, including famous names like Michelle Obama.
JiiJ was born from there and has just launched to market, after two years of hard work and extensive research to get the design right and find the best manufacturers to ensure that the shoes are ethically made using vegan, non-toxic materials.
The result is a tightly-edited first collection offering a cool, edgy take on classic styles. It includes square-toe Mary Janes and some fierce boot styles featuring cutout, asymmetric shapes and monochromatic or metallic hues.
All the shoes are available across sizes 36 to 46 so that anyone, despite their gender and how big or small their feet are, can buy into the brand. Juskaite has also pledged to work towards increasing the size range even further in the future and further her mission of “offering a solution for anyone who feels excluded when it comes to footwear.”
Her ultimate aim? To create a community where every feels welcome and envision a “new femininity.”
Juskaite has also dreamt up a whole world around JiiJ, filled with pop colors, futuristic images, and plenty of humour. Her debut campaign, featuring some refreshingly raw and unfiltered imagery, has been seen all over the streets of Paris, New York and London during fashion month.
You can take a peek into her world on her brand new Instagram feed and get inspired by the brand’s modernist images and the array of cool, fashion personalities already embracing the shoes.