Interview with danish magazine EUROMAN
We did a Q and A with danish style magazine EUROMAN back in 2012. We still have the same ideas and opinions but we have changed to sustainable production and organic cotton. If you´re interested then use a few minutes - or read it in danish at EUROMAN´s website.
"Democratique Socks has been making a lot of noise in the streets lately. We caught up with Jacob Christiansen, self-proclaimed Sock Democrat and one of the owners for a talk about user involvement, the perfect day, and where the inspiration to the often colorful socks comes from.
EM: What is your story, why socks?
DS: We started distribution of various brands in the skate / surf industry. It is an incredibly creative environment, and like many others, we have felt like creating our own. The joy of not being dependent on whether the collection from the brands in USA is good or bad, made us start two other brands in 2002 and 2009 - which are still going on around Europe and Japan. In August 2011 we decided to drop the distribution part and focus 100% on our own brands. After that, we took two months off, brainstormed for the future, and then the socks came out of the idea drawer again after a few years.
After traveling around Europe and many store checks in Copenhagen, we could see that there was a huge gap in the market, for high quality socks at reasonable prices. We caught up with our good friends Jesper Isholm, Thomas Carlson and Jacob Unna, and they have helped to develop strategy, corporate identity, website, design, etc. Collectively in the office, we have more than 120 years of experience wearing socks, so we know it works and is probably here to stay.
EM: Where and how does democracy and social design come into the picture?
DS: We wanted to involve our customers in Democratique Socks, and it had to be on a 'daily' basis. Therefore, they should also be involved in the design process. We make most of the collection ourselves, but we have left a door open for potential superdesigns from our customers. We took this into account when we programmed our website, so that a voting function was built in, where customers could submit their own designs. (NOT ACTIVE ANYMORE, January 2021)
We are already well underway, and there is everything from our own designs - which are not included in the final vote - to Peter who loves his dog Oda, a beer sock, paper airplanes and much more. You cann vote for the design that you like best, and the one who gets the most votes gets a sock in production. It can hardly be more democratic, and just like in the real world, you only have one vote in an election. In short, this is where the democratic comes into the picture, and that is what we call social design. Furthermore, our website is fully integrated and built over social media, so our social design gained a broader meaning.
EM: What does the perfect day look like when walking in Democratic Socks?
DS: For me personally, the day is absolutely perfect when I get up early with my wife Maria and my twins Anna and Alfred and have fun until I´m leaving to our showroom at 7 o'clock. Whether it's a pair of black Democratique Socks I'm wearing or a sample in camouflage that comes in our summer collection in June 2012 doesn´t make much difference. After all, it is "only" socks - but there is color coordinated with the clothing, mood and weather.
The most important thing is that the quality lasts and they are perfect to wear, no matter if it is in sneakers or Clark's Desert Boots. Then the day starts with emails, which at this time primarily deal with inquiries from foreign stores and agents. We do not have stock ourselves as it is outsourced, but we still enjoy the orders that have come from the time we left the office until we arrive the next morning. Then we work the rest of the morning with the development of new collections, collaborations and ideas - we have e.g. just made a sock together with the boys from Sneaker Banquet. If it's a really good day, then one of the friends comes by for a traditional Danish lunch at our local Café Halvvejen - but not long as there are important things to do in the afternoon.
Then it's home by 16:30 and then have fun with a barbecue and a cold beer. It's seen through my eye, but I'm sure we have a lot of customers, e.g. in the age group 20-27 years who do not have children. As we see the customer, it is a creative unisex, possibly. students, both big cities and the surrounding area, interested in fashion and music. Therefore, a perfect day - when you love Democratique Socks - is probably a huge party with friends at Distortion, with lots of music and drinks from the kiosk.
EM: Where do you get your inspiration from?
DS: It's pretty simple - all over! We spend a lot of time walking around Copenhagen and absorbing impulses, but we also listen a lot to dealers and customers. In addition, London is a perfect place to seek inspiration. Whether it's Highstreet or Shoreditch doesn´t matter. It can also be the colors of a house roof in Istanbul, a Hans J. Wegner Y-chair, the composition of the colors on a Fanta label or ideas from my good friend Martin Gaden from GURU Agency. The most important thing is that we make the highest quality / price mix, so therefore the materials we work with also help to inspire.
We do four collections a year, where we have a very short production time, so we can react consistently to new ideas. We have just completed our Fall / Winter collection, which lands approx. September 1, 2012. If we only looked at the products in the stores in Denmark last winter - and copied - then it would have been obvious that we made rag socks (ed. Wool socks, which are excellent for walking and keeping warm in ). However, we have refrained from doing so, as we want a more nuanced collection. Of course, we continue with our Originals collection, but there is a wide range of delicious socks at reasonable prices. The best thing is that we get produced at one of the world's best factories that has been around for over 50 years so we can benefit from their know-how. Their know-how is also a huge source of inspiration.
EM: What do you define men's fashion in 2012?
DS: Arrgh, there are definitely some very smart people in the industry who can give a better answer. If we only speak about Democratique Socks then we do not think unequivocally about men's fashion - but simply about making good crafts that last longer than 30 days or 3 times in the washing machine. Whatever comes first. I also think it can be passed on to fashion in general that customers do not take any crap. They want proper quality and preferably at reasonable prices. However, I don´t think men have any problem paying a little extra for quality.
If we look at what comes on the podiums, and just look out of our window in Krystalgade, then there is a lot of mixing. However, we are so lucky that we do not depend on whether a flip on a shirt has one or the other length - socks can not really be invented - only in quality, concept, materials, colors and visual appearance.
If we look at it with slightly different glasses and think based on our own taste, then there are some classic products that you should have in your wardrobe - and we also see them in men's fashion. Many will typically be more dress-up at work, but more loose when meeting with girlfriend or friends right after work. Here, it is only the choice of shoes and perhaps an extra opened button in the shirt that determines whether one is casual or dressup. The clothes may very well be the same from morning to evening. That was the short and very transparent answer!
We say many thanks to Jacob Christiansen and wish good wind in the future!"
See the full collection HERE.