Socks for Christmas? One should be so lucky. What was once the bugbear of its recipients is increasingly a prized gift, courtesy of the wide array of designer brands that have tapped into the often-ignored category.
Gucci’s crystal-embellished, logo-monogram socks stole the show in the recent Resort 2018 collection (they’re also approximately $1,000, but then again Falke’s vicuña socks consistently sell out, despite their $620 price tag.) Off-White and Gosha Rubchinskiy have tapped into the athletic socks that were once the reserve of the gym, imbuing them with graphic branding — and millennials can’t seem to get enough. For a few seasons, Thom Browne has been making fashionable socks that complement his abbreviate tailoring. Vetements, Loewe and Fendi have even gone so far as to create shoes that are designed to look like trompe l’œil sock-footwear combinations.
What is clear is that the ankle is having a moment. “It became a trend at Gucci,” says Chelsea Power, a buyer at MatchesFashion.com, who says the e-commerce site has experienced quadruple-digit growth in sales of socks in the last two years. “Two years ago, there were absolutely no socks at Gucci. Designers now understand that it’s a big opportunity in the same way that sunglasses are — it’s accessible for those who can’t afford a runway look but also appeals to those who want the full runway look.”
For men, socks have long been a way to express a sense of style — bright, block-colour socks can often be seen peeking beneath the trousers of sharp-suited city slickers — and the trend also resonates with more casually-minded male consumers. “Due to the rise of sportswear and sneakers from brands, it has meant that the athletic sock has come to the forefront of men’s style from a fashion point of view,” says Fiona Firth, buying director at Mr Porter, who also credits the boom to adjacent fashion trends. “With trousers and jeans, as well as shorts, getting shorter, socks are becoming increasingly more important in order to complete look.”