Velvet Crush: Duke & Dexter Modernizes the Smoking Slipper

Archie Hewlett, founder of Duke & Dexter, wanted to reinvent the traditional velvet slipper, which has earned a bourgeois reputation. If you’re wearing shoes around your house, you’ve got a pretty big house, he pointed out.

The slipper is one of the oldest, most traditional English shoes, going back to Edwardian times, and a lot of brands in London have been selling the more traditional velvet slippers for prices around $850. Hewlett didn’t want to damage the existing market, but he did want to flip it on its head. He realized, “Not only can we make [the slipper] more contemporary and offer the shoe to a younger audience, but we can completely change the designs.”

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Duke & Dexter has made the once staid style exciting, gleaning inspiration from architecture and interior design, as well as international textiles. Aztec prints from Mexico exist alongside pony hair from England in the unisex collection which retails for approximately under $200.

The brand manufactures in limited quantities which Hewlett says adds excitement to new releases. Tweed, as well as brushed velvet which is shorter than is traditional to eliminate the shining effect, have been important fabrications for the brand.

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