August 07, 2015
Socks and cufflinks have long gone hand in hand, those dependable menswear details allowing for personality as well as subtlety, refined and precisely chosen to complete a polished look. In the ever advancing world of men’s fashion, with bold statement pieces and out there innovations, it’s sometimes important to return to the original blue prints, the original foundations, and make sure that we’re getting them right. A clean, honest pair of cufflinks and a soft, sartorial pair of socks is an unrivalled combination. Alice Made This catches up with London Sock Company about why a modern gentleman shouldn’t compromise when it comes to wardrobe essentials, whether on the sofa, at the office or when attending a summer wedding.
Someone once told me that if they won the lottery then they would never wear the same pair of socks twice. London Sock Company isn’t quite going to that extreme, but they are making life more convenient for the modern man with their high quality sock subscription offering. Whether you sign up for their monthly sock club, or just want a burst of style and colour one Monday morning, London Sock Company are the reminder that daily basics don’t have to be boring, throw away items. In fact the things we put on every morning before that first cup of coffee should be the things we value the most, a soft and relaxed start to the day, one of life’s simple pleasures. I ask co-founders Ryan Palmer and David Pickard about how the brand started and the materials they use.
“Dave and I both came from the corporate world where there was limited opportunity to add style and express personality through our work wear”, Ryan tells me. “As sock enthusiasts we weren’t really satisfied with the socks available on the market so decided to do it better ourselves. Our ‘Sock Club’ subscription option was our way to offer convenience to our customers. Putting on a new pair of socks is something that most of us can really appreciate!”
“Men are increasingly more style conscious,” he continues. “Socks are a really simple but effective detail that allows a man to add style and express personality with anything they are wearing. Socks are most definitely moving from being a commodity product to a style accessory.”
Hyde Park Green socks and a pair of Jasper brass cufflinks
I agree that socks, like cufflinks, are becoming more contemporary and considered accessories. Summer weddings for example are the ideal opportunity to experiment with subtle, elegant details. I ask Ryan and David what they would advise for a polished wedding look.
“We’d recommend co-ordinating the socks to another item being worn, be-it a pocket square, set of cufflinks, the lining colour of the jacket or even the colour of the flower on the lapel. Ultimately, socks are a way for people to reflect their personality and a wedding is a perfect time to do so. Styling them well is about the attention to detail of co-ordination, so this is what I’d suggest people think about.”
“Socks, like cufflinks, are a subtle accessory so don’t be afraid to explore colours, designs and patterns that you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing on a tie for example. However don’t forget that people notice and comment on your socks, often more than they notice details like your watch. We work with some of the best professional stylists to help ensure that with all of our designs not only can you have fun, but your socks will always get noticed for the right reasons.”
Spotted Pink on Black socks and a pair of Edward copper cufflinks
There is a warmth and sincerity to David and Ryan that is reflected in their work, two Scottish born Londoners with a great idea and an attention to quality and detail. I ask if their Scottish heritage has influenced the materials and processes they work with.
“Although Dave & I are Scottish by birth, we have spent a vast part of our lives down in London,” Ryan tells me. “Dave originally comes from Paisley, the home of the Paisley Pattern so I’d safely say Paisley Pattern will be on the horizon. We also use a luxury cotton called Scottish Lisle in most of our designs. It is extremely hard wearing and has a wonderful look and feel. It’s the reason we can create such vibrant colours across our ranges of socks.”
“Our focus has been to find the highest quality knitting techniques and workmanship for the specific styles we create. Our classic Simply Sartorial collection is knitted using a luxury cotton called Scottish Lisle Cotton, which is a technique used in luxury knitting made famous in Scotland during the Victorian era. Its benefits including a more lustrous and reflective thread, reduced fading of colour, increased resistance to shrinking increased thread strength and durability. We also currently produce thicker knitted Elton Vale Cotton socks and are currently working on Cashmere and Merino wool products as well.”
“The Victorian era was an incredible period of innovation and success for Britain,” he continues. “You can still relive this today through the iconic architecture of buildings, bridges and even through advances seen today in science that were developed from original ideas and inquisitive minds of that time.”
“The one thing you can’t so easily see and touch today is the style, elegance and gentlemanly conduct of that generation. We wanted to somehow capture that and bring it into the modern day with our brand - not just in how we design our socks, but in the other charitable work we do and even just the way we conduct ourselves each day. Hopefully we can go some way to help inspire people to feel better, be more successful and help others around them.”
Early Grey socks and a pair of Alfred steel cufflinks
One gentleman who has become synonymous with London Sock Company is loyal customer turned investor David Gandy. I ask about the story behind their meeting and how their collaboration was cemented.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to work with Mr G. He has been a subscription customer for some time and just really liked the brand, the products and entire customer experience.”
“We had several opportunities to meet him including at London Collections: Men, where he turned up wearing our socks and we just really get on well. We share a similar philosophy on British heritage, quality and the belief that style is about being an individual and when we asked him if he’d be interested in working with us, he was delighted to support.”
“Our relationship with David progressed into our ‘My Selection by David Gandy’ collaboration, which was the personal selection of his favourite 3 pairs across our collections.”
“The relationship continued to develop further and David has since invested in London Sock Co, which we are extremely excited about. David is an incredibly intelligent and experienced individual who has built his own brand with strong business acumen. David’s involvement will most definitely benefit many aspects of the brand and its development.”
London Sock Company share Alice Made This’ ethos that the focus should be on an honest, precise collection first and foremost. Their solidified partnership with David Gandy is the result of these strong brand values. I wonder where this relationship will take them and what their loyal subscribers can expect next.
“We have seen incredible growth over the past 18 months with such a positive response to the brand, which has been really humbling. We are exploring some really interesting collaborations that would pair nicely with the socks, but as far as extending our direct product range we have no immediate plans right now, but never say never…”
“For now we are focused on making quality socks and continuing to refine all aspects of what we do. There are a lot of feet out there!”
Visit London Sock Company here