J.J. Gray made its fashion week debut in New York Thursday with the launch of its new unisex line of leather boots and oxford shoes.
The designer and creator of J.J. Gray, Jessica Perdomo, left a job at Ralph Lauren to start her own line in 2014. Her latest collection features unisex handcrafted riding boots and oxfords. The leather shoes come in three styles and colors, light brown, brown and black, and are made by third-generation artisans in the south of Spain.
When asked why she wanted to delve into creating unisex footwear, Perdomo said, “I’ve always worked in menswear and I would wear my boyfriend’s clothes, so I thought you know what let’s just make a pair of shoes that are gender neutral, and you know we want to blur the lines one shoe at a time.”
After working for years in the fashion industry, Perdomo already knew what material she wanted for her shoes. She needed quality and wear-ability—something that could last her the day and made to withstand the elements.
“I walked into this one shop in the south of Spain… it’s this supple leather that the farmers would use to withstand the elements. [The shoes] had to be super comfortable because they wore them all day,” said Perdomo.
After not finding anything in the shop that she liked, she requested to design her own. Soon after designing them, word spread quickly throughout New York and the brand was featured in several media outlets, including Vogue.
“I’ve made every single one of them for my personal use, so they’re all my favorite. I wear them all, literally, to the ground,” she added.