10 years of Happy Socks
Happy Socks founders Viktor Tell and Mikael Söderlindh both really appreciated socks, but could not find the styles that they wanted to wear. It seemed to be a forgotten item and given no love. Today, 10 years later, they’ve created a colorful design and lifestyle brand with flagship stores in Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles – doing what they’ve always dreamed of.
– Yes, one of the main reasons to why we started the brand was that we simply love to travel, says Viktor Tell. And now, 10 years later, it has taken us around the world many times and put me in front of people whom I maybe never would have met otherwise, many of whom I now call my friends. A success was not instantaneous, but I use to say it has been ‘All play, No work’. With that said, it’s been nothing but hard work, but then again the work behind the brand has been so fulfilling and fun it has become play.
How have these 10 years been?
Mikael: Our vision was to spread happiness everywhere by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece. It all came about quite simply. We had the idea to create a brand named Happy Socks and make nicely-designed socks, and to be honest, we also wanted to do something happier with our lives and put everything into this. We started Happy Socks in the spring of 2008 and became the playful pioneer of colorful socks. We created the segment designed socks within the sock industry, and by doing so we became market leaders of fashionable designer socks globally. What was often regarded as clothing unworthy of creativity, became a well-tailored everyday essential. It all went quite fast! I suppose we spotted a gap in the market and filled it with a much-needed product that we packed full of love.
And how would you define the brand today?
Mikael: Happy Socks features an almost endless variety of models and designs, using a wide spectrum of color combinations and original patterns, allowing you to express your personality and be yourself. We value the unique personality of each individual and care for self-expression. Simply put: there’s a pair of high-quality socks and underwear for every occasion, mindset, and style. We have a lot of energy and find it fun to surprise ourselves. We don’t follow the latest trends and find inspiration in everything and nothing. A lot of the inspirations comes from our travels and from meeting many new great personalities all over the world.
Tell us about your collabs over the years.
Mikael: Collaboration is a vital part of Happy Socks’ DNA, and the brand has a long history of collaborating with some of the most exciting and influential names and brands. We feel our collaborations really demonstrate what we are all about. Creativity is about letting go of rules and trusting your instincts, which is something we try to instill in everything we do. It has to be something that’s not so expected, something that’s a little bit different. I think the diversity of the collaborations we’ve done has been really fun. It’s something we have really benefited from as a company, as we’ve reached new, as well as a wide range of, target groups, by managing such an extensive variety of collaborations. And it goes both ways, sometimes they come to us or we go to them. What’s the common denominator for all of them is that they share our values of
creativity, self-expression, playfulness, and individuality.
Which is your greatest particular memory?
Viktor: Happy Socks has always been unique in the way we approach design and our collections. Lately, I had the opportunity to design the collections from the place that’s part of the actual inspiration for a new season. For example, I spent some time in a camper wagon in the middle of Tokyo, which was very fun and inspirational. After a couple of weeks of work converting and tailoring all doodles into patterns and colors, I came back to Stockholm and share the ideas with the team and we together create the final collection. We don’t want to create just socks, we want to create design items that can draw inspiration far outside from fashion or what you would
expect to find on a small tube of cotton. It has been important to us that when we settle in for a collaboration, that it’s not just a simple paid advertisement, but that we come up with a fun new idea with a collaborator that falls in love with the brand and wants to put their heart into it. When
we asked Snoop he wanted to show that his artistic side had more sides to it and therefore wanted to explore painting. So, for a brief moment in time, we got to see Snoop da Vinci! Which resulted in one of my all-time favorite collaborations.
You now follow up your first swim shorts line with a new range of sunglasses. What else is coming for you in 2018?
Mikael: Celebrating our 10-year anniversary this April, we still feel that we’re only at the beginning of our journey of spreading happiness and color. There are lots of opportunities to go for with the Happy Socks brand going forward, also outside of our core products of socks and underwear. Happy Socks is all about spreading happiness everywhere and there are many different ways to do that. We have a lot of exciting ideas for the future and believe that life is nothing without
creativity. We’re continuing to enter more markets with our high-quality styles, and are opening new flagship stores in key cities like London, Shanghai, New York, and Paris to name a few – this growth will only continue. We are of course also very excited about the US market and operating directly in that market with a team in New York and Los Angeles, which is an important milestone for the brand. We are also launching several significant international collaborations this autumn that I’m looking forward to telling you more about closer to launch.
Viktor: I wish Happy Socks to live on long after us and continue to spread color and happiness around the world. Besides that, we’ve always said that we’d love to send some socks into space. To be the first socks in space, that’s our dream. If there are brands out there who are planning to go to space, those are probably some of the ones we’d want to work with.
“The ultimate modern jean” comes with 40% stretchability
Major denim collector Pär Lundqvist began to alter his vintage pieces and the idea to create a modern denim brand was born. Every pair of jeans that the Swedish-Australian label Neuw make is still based on this extensive research, but rather than just replicating what once was, they adapt details, patterns, and fabrics to be perfect for right now. Included in this spring offering is their first “super-stretch” quality, where the new model Form comes with 40% stretchability.
– Of course, we’ve always put the wearer in focus when we’re developing our products and the goal with Form was to develop the ultimate comfort jean with a rigid and authentic denim feel and look. To succeed with this we’ve worked harder than ever before on combining new fabrics together with innovative thread techniques – and the result is what we would like to call the ultimate modern jean, says the Europan Sales Manager Magnus Blancér.
The Form stretch is introduced on a small scale worldwide for this spring and will be the brand’s keystone globally from fall 18 and onward.
Tonsure x Storm
Today, Danish menswear label Tonsure and one of Scandinavia’s leading fashion stores, Storm, launch a second collaboration capsule as a love declaration to their common hometown Copenhagen. Storm founder Rasmus Storm used Tonsure’s logo “Copenhagen Teddy” in a bigger format to increase the respect for its originality as the base of a line with hoodies and T-shirts, available in their respective webshops and at Storm’s uniquely curated concept store in central Copenhagen.
Swedish football star creating the World Cup suit
With the Swedish national team beating Italy to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, they still draw inspiration from the world’s leading fashion country when deciding what to wear during the major event. Midfielder Albin Ekdal has joined forces with well-respected suit label Cavaliere and distinguished weaver Reda, to create a one-buttoned, unconstructed wool suit featuring Mother-of-Pearls and a Neapolitan shoulder. The beautiful colour tone is called ”Deep Water Blue” and the suit will also be available in store, starting later this month.
– This is a huge honour and also a bit of a challenge to design a suit that feels elegant yet modern and can be worn by the whole squad, says Cavaliere CEO Sofia Frick.
Major sports fashion label moves to Finland
One of Scandinavia’s leading brands, Swedish Peak Performance, has stood for almost half of Danish IC Company’s turnover but is now moving east in an EUR 255 million deal. With the new owners, Finnish sporting goods company Amer Sports, already owning brands including Salomon, Atomic, Arc’teryx, and Suunto, IC Company board member Peter Thorsen feels assured it’s the right move.
– We’ve found a long-term owner. An owner with both the skills, capacity, and resources to accelerate Peak Performance’s strategy, to develop their international potential, he says.