Neither shirts, dresses nor stunning total looks. Oscar and Sean put the spotlight on one of the fashion industry's most neglected accessories, trying to elevate it by making it sexy. Their answer? SOCKSSS, a brand that emerged to make these garments something valuable after realizing the lack of attention they received. “But most important, lack of quality,” say the creators, who now present their new collection, SOCKSSS Autunno/Inverno (1996), which is an ode to the '90s runways. And they unveil their latest release with a film directed by SWIM CLUB, taking us back to a time of sex and hedonism.
Imagine socks being presented on a catwalk which is inspired by the great international top models era. The combination may sound weird at first, but the idea is great. This accessory forgotten by industry professionals, who often seem to pay attention only to the jackets, coats or pants included in their collections, has a long way to go. And in this exciting adventure, to which we travel hand in hand with SOCKSSS – who currently produces in Portugal and Japan mostly in family-run factories –, future meets present and past. These new formulas are able to surprise the audience by showing new ways of doing things. But, will we see them launching other garments beyond socks? Read on to find out!
The name of your project leaves no doubt about the type of product you offer but, could you please introduce SOCKSSS for those who may don't know it yet?
SOCKSSS' core idea is to elevate & highlight a simple & often ignored staple piece. To make it as best as possible, both in quality but also for our planet.
Many creatives launch their fashion brand determined to create total looks, transferring their vision to lots of garments. You guys opt instead for socks, elevating them from an accessory to a wardrobe staple where it's seen as a piece of your outfit rather than a second thought, isn’t it? When and why did you decide to undertake the project?
We started the concept around 2019 with the idea to create a platform which we could experiment with and build upon. The insight we started out with was the lack of attention ‘foot-garments’ had but most importantly, the lack of quality. Somewhere down the line we forgot about the product and stopped asking questions about why they’re usually… shit. We quickly realised how detailed socks can be and how great their quality can be, so that’s a big part of our daily operations, to make it better.
You have previously commented that you are only two people at the head of the project. Could you tell us a little more about yourselves?
Oscar: I’ve got the fancy, self-claimed Creative Director title at SOCKSSS, one of the directors at SWIM CLUB and also producing music under the name GLOBAL BUSINESS with my brother. All these projects sort of intertwine and overlap each other. It is super nice when we can produce a film or stills with SWIM CLUB and produce music with GLOBAL BUSINESS for a project with SOCKSSS, it's a blast. As we’ve mentioned before, that’s sort of the point with SOCKSSS, to create this platform where we can experiment and do whatever we want. It’s very liberating.
Sean: I’m originally from Cape Town (South Africa), where I grew up in the surf and skateboard community. It was here that my attraction and curiosity surrounding the narrative of subcultures grew. This has had a big influence on me personally, but also on my understanding of the retail market, seen through the ever-selective nature of the Skate consumer. After a few years in London, I ultimately settled in Stockholm, where I’ve spent the last 10 years working in retail and operations, and running a distribution company. I’ve gone from pitching skate brands, such as Palace and Hopps, to stores in Scandinavia directly to running my own online store, to working within a Scandinavian distribution company. You might say I’ve gone full circle, and I’m excited to take all these experiences to help grow SOCKSSS.
Let's go back to the past when as children or teenagers you were looking for socks to complete your looks. Couldn’t you find what you were looking for in the stores? Is this dissatisfaction the origin of SOCKSSS?
Oscar: Sort of. Basically, we want to make socks sexier in a way.
Sean: We’ve learnt to appreciate quality and buy less, but better. As skaters, we couldn't find a pair of socks that met those expectations, as it was both important how you looked and what a sock could offer in both support, protection and style, so I guess this had an influence on us.
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Now you are presenting your new collection through a video that is an ode to the catwalks of the nineties. What can you tell us about this new release?
In the words of SWIM CLUB, the director of the film: “First of all, I can't believe no one has done this before. Runways are such a visually interesting phenomenon. People walk in a designated area and famous people sit and watch it from the front row. If you zoom out it’s a funny setup let’s be honest.”
What do you like the most about this age? It was one of the most interesting moments in terms of fashion. Many established designers were debuting on the catwalks, considering new ways of doing things and continually trying to surprise the public.
SWIM CLUB: When we came up with the idea of the catwalk, it was kind of easy to set the tone for it. The nineties were amazing (having lived through it) when supermodels and hunk’s ruled the world. It was a time for sex and hedonism, something that was not part of the fashion world before. Maybe people were a little bit afraid to celebrate it on the runway. Glad they eventually did!
Oscar: As SWIM CLUB mentions, it was a time when fashion became democratized and everything weird was OK. The concept fits us perfectly, a genius concept. 
You define your brand of socks as a platform for expression, right? Why and how do you communicate through these pieces?
Sean: It’s more about the people who choose to wear them and elevate their vibe by us supporting that idea in the ways we can. We just did a community event with a friend that’s importing natural wines into Sweden and hired a factory/film studio with friends that are photographers, some DJs are contributing to the overall event, which in turn created a space for all to enjoy, where we linked his world with ours through SOCKSSS. By the way, leep your eyes open for a collaboration wine bottle, we want to do this on a global stage so we can have a community of people backing SOCKSSS and us backing them.
Oscar: As long as it’s fun, everything goes.
Sustainability is one of the pillars on which you build your brand. How do you implement it in your creative process and how are you responsible for the environment?
Sean: Yes, that’s right, using natural and/or recycled materials is something that feels right to us in combination with who’s making them. We want to offer our customers something that lasts beyond any previous expectations they may have. It goes back to our philosophy of buying less, but better.
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And what about production? Where do you produce and how many phases make up the process until you get the final result?
Sean: We currently produce in Portugal and Japan mostly in family-run factories. Honestly, neither myself nor Oscar knew anything about production before hitting the go button so it’s been a steep learning curve, we searched through fourteen different factories until we found some that are up to our standards around quality and philosophy to create a ‘foot-garment’ that lasts beyond anything we’ve come across. There’s a lot of hand-dying going on in our gradient styles, sometimes up to four times, to achieve the beautiful design, it’s not such a straightforward process as one might think, (laughs).
I would like to know more about your audience. Who is your target and which countries are they mostly from?
Sean: Us too! (Laughs). We have no set-up or target marketing department over at SOCKSSS's headquarters, basically, we’re a unisex no-binary brand, therefore, we welcome everyone and have no set target audience, we do however think our customer thinks about what they wear and takes into consideration the environment when purchasing things. We’re kind of spread across the globe, but have more and more customers coming from the United Kingdom, France, Japan, the United States and Denmark.
Who are your favourite designers, trends or artistic movements? What inspires you when you create your collections?
Sean: Oscar is my favourite designer!
Oscar: Oscar is my favourite designer as well.
And finally, where would you like to direct your project in the future? Will we see you release more garments or total looks?
It’ll be another brand.
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