B.C. designers double down with hose for every taste and activity
With backgrounds in, respectively, fine art and the skateboard industry, four years ago Christine Breakell-Lee and Matt Kelly launched XS Helmets for urban cycling. When retailers asked for non-biking items, the Vancouver pair began producing soft goods like socks, knits and caps to expand the XS Unified look to boutiques and gift shops.
Strathcona Stockings, launched in 2010 as a collection of limited edition printed socks, are original artworks, designed by founder Ryley O'Byrne in Roberts Creek and printed in East Vancouver. Made from a nylon-spandex, poly-spandex or nylon-Lurex blend (Sparkle Socks), the socks can be found online and in select boutiques worldwide.
Victoria resident and former national mountain bike team member Rob Fraser had no luck finding socks that he could ride and exercise in but also wear to an event or casually. So in 2016, he co-founded Endur Apparel, which makes all-day performance socks incorporating bold colours and designs appropriate for any activity.
Cousins Amit Aujla and Naveen Aujla started Delta-based Wolf Clothing Co. in late 2015. Socks were a natural first product because they’re a subtle way to add colour and personality to a man’s outfit in any setting, dressy or casual. Finding many men’s socks outlandish, the pair wanted to create unique designs that add a colourful touch but integrate well with an outfit.
In 2008, eight-year-old Delta schoolkid Katelyn Lohr cut the toes off a pair of socks to wear with flip-flops in winter. Her classmates clamoured for some, so the Lohr family began making and selling them, eventually outsourcing to an offshore manufacturer and partnering with White Rock–based marketers Tickled Planet. With more than 100,000 pairs of Freetoes sold to date, Lohr is now headed to university to pursue a law career.
When Dr. Jean Segal prescribed compression socks for his vein patients, they loved the feel but hated the look. Spotting a need, in 2012 the Delta surgeon’s family launched Dr. Segal’s compression socks, which are way more fun than old-fashioned supp hose.
FILL YOUR BOOTS
Pudus, from HBJR Holdings, the family-owned Richmond firm behind Dr. Segal’s compression socks, made Oprah’s list of favourite things twice: slippers in 2017 and boot socks in 2018. When customers mentioned wearing the slippers in boots, the company designed a warm, thick sock expressly for that purpose.
A 2016 study commissioned by Samsung to mark the launch of its AddWash washing machine found that the main reasons socks get lost in the laundry are the complexity of the washing load and the number of socks in each wash cycle.