reinventing the slipper // joe cooke, lead designer
When it struck us that the slipper market lacked a brand we could identify with, we sought to create the ultimate slipper. A product with not only a unique design, but a lifestyle brand that encapsulated what the slipper is all about. Downtime.
In comparison to sneakers and women’s designer shoes the humble slipper has long escaped an innovation in design. Though for a product that resembles comfort, relaxation, and is something that is worn day-in, day-out, it seems bizarre that it shouldn’t receive the same attention to detail.
Over the design period, we’ve experimented with a range of technologies both within and outside of textiles. This involved everything from 3D printing to magnets and friction.
So as it comes up to 18 months since our launch, we thought we’d take a look back to one of our first journal interviews with lead designer, Joe Cooke. Read about how we reinvented the slipper, and find out more about Joe's insights into the design complexities, his influences, and future ranges.
“After I spent some time focusing on the engineering, design and technology within athletic footwear, slipper design seems the most opposite application, but what mahabis wanted to offer the world made sense. Instead of designing footwear to you make you faster and a step ahead of your competitors, mahabis want to design simple, minimal and functional footwear that could help you slow down and take a step back.
Achieving these minimal and simple design principles in the end product often brings up the greatest of complexities along the way. The high density neoprene heel and the one-piece wool upper fit with these ideas but also bring up some of our most complex design hurdles during manufacturing.
But we’re constantly innovating the slipper with our team in Portugal, based in one of the most established locations for footwear production in Europe, pairing this with the customisable detachable sole, made and developed with some of the most experienced sole makers in Italy, it’s very much a unique design.
photos: Mr Bailey
The initial design initially took influences from a broad range of international cultures, collaborating with footwear designer Mr Bailey to achieve the incredibly unique mahabis silhouette, which we hope will become iconic to the footwear world.
Taking this incredibly unique design forward over the near future, I’m often influenced myself by the possibilities in engineering and manufacturing technology.
Discovering a new process or material unused in the footwear industry, and then designing in reverse from here allows us to realistically begin designing products which are incomparable to any other footwear.
Using such a small combination of materials and pieces to accommodate a number of important specifications in aesthetic, comfort and function produces its challenges. However for our mahabis classic we chose an Italian wool upper with a lambswool lining to offer the warmth, a density of neoprene which allows it to collapse for an easy slip-on, adjustment to the shape of your foot and strong enough for support, and a super soft PU foam insock for comfort.
We’re looking to expand the product range with products all designed with the same principles of the mahabis classic slipper and the brand itself. We understand the importance of downtime as a family, therefore we love the idea of matching kids mahabis in the future!
We hope to see a number of exciting additions over the coming year, but in the near future we’ll be expanding the size range to cover 11 EU sizes. Also look out for some new sole colours!”
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