There have been many clear fashion moments of 2017, and as is often the case thanks to friendlier price points, many of them have revolved around accessories: Straw basket, belt bags, nerdy specs, over-the-knee boots and corset belts have all been key. But none have been quite as ubiquitous and unyielding as the stream of socks we've witnessed. The humble knitted foot cover—so practical; so un-fun—has been elevated, notching up catwalk sashays, celebrity sightings, street style photographs and increasing price tags throughout the year. They've been given makeovers from every sector of the fashion industry: high-fashion brands such as Gucci, Vetements and Prada haven't left them alone for seasons now, while Rihanna's Fenty Puma line and other leading sportswear labels have continued to see their logoed tube socks flying out of stores and onto the feet of cool girls the globe over.
Clockwise from top left: GVGV; Miu Miu; Prada; Gucci
This year, two particular companies in the hosiery industry have been supported by huge financial investments. Stance—the American brand that makes socks piquing the interest of Rihanna (she has produced a collab with Stance), the skateboarding community and Justin Trudeau alike—received over $100 million in funding from venture capitalists and some rather starry names such as Jay-Z. Then there's Heist, a tights label with technology and comfort at the forefront of its reimagined undergarments; Natalie Massanet contributed towards the $2.6 million raise for the London-based business. Bloomberg predicts that the sock industry is the next one to receive the most attention from future investors—it's been relatively ignored until now, and is clearly growing.
Clockwise from top left: Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Rihanna, Rita Ora
There's search data to back up the consumer interest. On Pinterest UK, search terms "lace socks," fishnet ankle socks" and "socks and heels" have all increased by over 100% in the past year. Fashion search engine Lyst reports that the average sock price has risen by 10% YOY thanks to luxe brands like Vetements, Rick Owens and Givenchy reimagining the simple tube sock and selling them for £70, £55 and £190 respectively—much more than your average three-pack at M&S. Mother (a denim brand that's expanded into other categories) has barely been able to keep its rather rude slogo tube socks available—16,000 pairs have been sold with over 200 retailers stocking them since they were introduced just over a year ago.
Fishnet ankle socks started to pop up around September in 2016, and have since become quite a normal purchase for fashion girls—ASOS alone has a grand total of 64 different pairs to buy right now. Many of those girls are moving onto sheer socks, a trend that's up 72% this party season according to Pinterest and available for as little as £4 on Etsy.
More elaborate styles have also proven to be great Instagram fodder, and even Radio 4 Woman's Hour (a platform that often doesn't touch fashion topics) was discussing the merits of a sparkly sock when the Christmas festivities kick in: Gucci's sequin socks saw a spike in searches during September's fashion weeks, and we saw KiraKira go into overdrive thanks to further sparkly styles coming in from Marchesa, Ann Demeulemeester, Zara and more.
Most recently, Alessandro Michele introduced another Gucci version: GG-embellished socks rendered in crystals and at a whopping £885, sock superfan Rihanna was the first to snap them up. So with that in mind, why don't you shop our favourite socks below? They're worth a splurge by the looks of things.