The novelty sock wars are heating up.
Just up the freeway from San Clemente, Calif.-based Stance, which has collaborated on limited-edition styles with Rihanna, the NBA, the Grateful Dead and most recently with singer Billie Eilish, another multimillion-dollar sock brand has moved to town.
Happy Socks founders Mikael Söderlindh and Viktor Tell established their brand in Stockholm 2008, but since last August have been spreading sock love from Los Angeles, where they recently planted roots with a new store-meets-creative hub on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake.
“We have done so many collaborations with celebrities and now we can meet them here instead of a huge office,” said Söderlindh, president of the socks-to-lifestyle brand that has paired with Snoop Dogg, Iris Apfel, Wiz Khalifa, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones among others, and most recently launched Happy Socks swimwear with David Hasselhoff.
“We wanted to feel creative again,” Tell, the brand’s creative director, said of the move and the opening of the new office, which will be used to identify local talent for capsule collections. The colorful duo have dubbed it The Rabbit Hole after “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” “We wanted to look at Happy Socks from a new way. We were first in the sock business, we are number one. Maybe some American brand might be bigger and more well known, but what is our next step to take it further now that everyone is doing colorful socks? We have some fun projects for 2019, and we’re thinking about how you can increase the retail experience, and the experience of receiving an e-com order at home. It’s all a creative exercise and we can work on it all here.”
With 150 stores worldwide, Happy Socks has eyes on retail expansion in the U.S. Adding to three locations in New York, including one in Times Square, and now two in L.A., the brand will open in Westfield Century City mall later this spring.
“Now we have a fun offering, and it’s not only socks, it’s gift boxes, beach slides, swimwear, which we just started with our campaign with the Hoff,” said Tell, explaining that when he and Söderlindh talked about who epitomizes men’s swimwear, the “Baywatch” star was the first person who came to mind. “I can’t understand why no one has done it before. It was so shocking.”