Seriously, Though—Was This the Year of the Sock?

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.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.


(Image credit: Getty Images/Instagram/@badgalriri)

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.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.