Dale Lyster takes a look at some understated brands of the most understated garment.
Launched in the spring of 2015, the desire of Dr Zokum is to create socks of the highest quality using minimalist, yet innovative designs at prices catered to all. Not just a company creating socks for all, Dr Zokum position themselves in the market with an ethical stance. They explicitly believe in the importance of diversity and individuality, and it is reflected in the design of their socks. They are fashioned through recogniseable objects, repeated onto block-colouring of opposing colours. They come with a sophisticated and traditionalist approach, though distinctive to separate themselves from their peers. All of them come personified with their own non-traditionally human name, if you are looking for your first pair, go for the Alva.
A more recognisable name of the line-up, Happy Socks truly live up to their name. With origins from the not-so-historic 2008, the founders of Happy Socks have a simple mission – to spread happiness to all through the power of the humble sock. As an owner myself, I can vouch that there is a science to this ethos. Happy Socks bid goodbye to traditional, tedious black socks, with each of their pairs engineered to combine quality, craftsmanship and creativity. Most of them arrive in a stylish box, appropriate for an occasion. However Happy Socks are not alone in their vision; they have collaborated with the most unlikely folk, from Terry Richardson to Minecraft, and they have been adorned by everyone, from A$AP Rocky to myself.
One of the most ethical in the current line-up, Jollie’s are a company one would not regret in a post-purchase conundrum. For every pair that are purchased from the company, they match this in donating another pair to a local homeless charity, thus the pleasure does not solely arrive from simply the sock itself. The more-than-profit company position themselves behind three main beliefs: giving tangible goods to the less fortunate of the local community; inspiring activity within local charities; and providing employment to those transitioning out of homelessness. Aside from their good deeds, the socks live up to scratch too, arriving in a recycled can with a neat and stylish design that caters to all. With prices beginning at £15, they are certainly worth it, considering their charity.
London Sock Co.
The most dapper of the line-up here, The London Sock Co believe style is quintessentially about individuality and inspiring extraordinary from the ordinary, one sock at a time. Catering to the modern gentlemen, it is by no surprise that the company have collaborated with the architectural British gentleman David Gandy. Gandy, alongside the London Sock Co, aimed to create the height of luxury, catered to every gentleman’s money clip. The collection range from traditional colouring to the Prince of Wales check in the finest of cashmere, in single-pairs to a 15-set box, with 10 per cent of all profits donated to Style For Soldiers. Founded in 2008, Style For Soldiers exists to rehabilitate and rebuild the confidence of veterans through style and fashion.
A ‘Graze’ of socks if you will, Nice Laundry aims to refresh and reinvent your underwear through their recycling service. From sending your boring, tired socks to Nice Laundry, you build a box of seemingly limitless combinations. Their designs come in a great range; from polka-dot and stripes, to designs far from our own imaginations, Nice Laundry manage to retain their minimalist approach through aptly block-colouring, remaining unoffensive to even the most conservative of sock wearers. Not simply a scheme to keep you on the sock wheel, Nice Laundry live up to their name by combating textile waste. Once your outgoing socks arrive in the hands of the company, acceptable socks are sanitised and sent to areas of need, while the rest are shredded and recycled into insulation.
Fashioned in the latter half of 2014, Quiet Rebellion have the humble origins of two friends that met at university. Once thrown into post-graduate life, they were dictated by capitalist constraints to don the boring black sock. However, this is where the quiet and rebellion meet – the socks themselves appear to be boring and black on the surface, though what lies underneath one’s shoes is where the design comes to life, and thus the rebellion. Each sock pays homage to a historical figure who challenged the accepted norms of their time to leave the world a more interesting place. The socks are composed of 80 per cent combed cotton for softness, 18 per cent nylon for strength and 2 per cent lycra for that little stretch. One note to take from this sock is that nothing is as it seems.