Monday, February 24, 2014

Socks are In!!!

The year of the Horse might just also be the year of the Cool Socks.

The last 12 months have seen an unprecedented boom in the designer sock category.  Your Dad's black dress sock is out.  White tube socks … forget about it! Comfortable and cozy socks with vibrant designs have seen a huge uptick at retail.  As we have grown to expect, sock innovator Happy Socks was very busy at Magic. Trendsetter Stance had its usual impressive designs.  FBF Originals led the way with its impressive sports license catalogue and Sizocks was our newcomer surprise of the pack.

We start with the originators, FBF.  Founded by Sharon Rivenbank in 1984, this single mother and school teacher learned that her son Timothy had a brain tumor. Sharon bought him an antique knitting machine and her first sock shop was born. The mom and son began making socks for the Indiana University Bookstore and quickly gained popularity. Today, known as the pioneers of the "sports socks,” FBF Originals, owns licenses to all the major sports leagues, such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS.  While FBF owns the rights to current players, their competitor, Stance, owns the rights to the retired players.  Sounds like a fair deal for these two giant sock makers! Looking for a pair of socks to cheer on your favorite team? These two: FBF originals and Stance makes them.

Stance is a relatively new sock brand that has emerged as one of the leaders in the sock business. Stance believes in expression and functionality.  Their designs are strong, stylish and esthetically pleasing to the eye.  Great textures and soft feel compliment their aggressive marketing strategy, driving a strong presence in the premium high-quality sock category.

We were impressed with the multi colors of Magic Tradeshow high flyer Happy Socks.  In the six years they have been in business, this company, more than any other, has made designer socks a real category in our fashion world.  The story of Happy Socks is a cool one.  Two friends had a vision: to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece with a rigid standard of ultimate quality, craftsmanship and creativity. Today Happy Socks are sold in more than 70 countries and on every continent. Simply put: there's a pair of high-quality socks for every occasion, mindset and style. Their specialty: colorful and bright socks to lift up your spirit that's why they're called Happy Socks!  After another successful showing at Magic, they are ready to repeat as a sock category leader.

For new comer Sizocks, this week was a coming of age party.  Hip lifestyle designer Sedgewick Neily has set out to become the Sock King.  His designs are fresh, colorful, on-trend and even exotic at times.  We were impressed by his collection of sublimated highlife socks, as they are a daring commentary on pop culture but cleverly avoid the "me too" feel of other new comers to the designer sock category.  Mr. Neily's command of colors, fabrics, fibers, blends and printing technology was refreshing as it was educational when we spoke to him.  Emerging from the underground design world of Los Angeles and Atlanta, this brand is a great story about hard work, spectacular design and new innovation.  Sizocks is definitely a brand to keep our eyes on. 

At the end of the day, everyone wears socks. It's that one simple item in your wardrobe that has now become an acceptably stylish item and necessarily vibrant accessory. So next time you're in need for a pair of socks, try one of these cool sock brands. Think about it, for $10-18 a pair, you're in for a style lift! And if you're single and like to mingle (like me)? These cool socks are great conversation starters. So, let's sock it up!

Ha Thi Kim

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