Our carefully curated collections are as individual as our customers, the common themes are beauty in conception and excellence in execution.
We are proud to offer some of the finest socks available those which demonstrate the very best in design and manufacture, ranging from casual to dress and from designers and brands including Paul Smith, Pantherella, Sunspel and Johnstons of Elgin.
The Art of Expression
“The true character of a person is in their actions which may never be known to others”
Nick Kelly, Founder, Solespun
Socks are personal purchases that enable us, in a quietly understated manner, to present our values, attitudes, individuality and sense of personal style. Sitting under a skin of fashion garments, they are a true and enduring representation of ourselves, one that we occasionally allow others to get a glimpse of, providing a teasing insight into the personality behind the uniform.
But finding the right items, be that about the material, the performance or the beauty of the design is not easy. Solespun brings together a collection of the finest socks and underwear. Selected from the world’s finest fashion houses and specialist businesses, the 2023 collection has been carefully curated by our team and beautifully presented for personal enjoyment or for gifting.
Creation through Collaboration
“Style is the expression of one's sense of self. Our collaboration provides the tools to enable self-expression, not to define a way of thinking or doing.”
Solespun is a collaboration of London based stylists and fashion photographers led by Nick Kelly whose work has featured extensively across titles from Vogue to Harper's Bazaar.
It is a collective with a shared passion and fascination for personality and detail. Two years in the making it has seen Nick tour the world meeting with manufacturers and fabric creators, scientists and designers. And talking to the fashion houses, models, stylists and photographers who live in the fashion space.
Every one of those people has been essential to the development of the brand and the selection of the products. And every one expressed a passion for those items that they select, the socks and lingerie, that represent their essence.
“Experience is everything. Great brands are about more than the design, they are about the sense of well-being that they engender, from first visit to final wear.”
We do not ask our customers to trust us, rather we work to earn trust in everything we do. Everything we do or sell, from the products to the packaging to our customer service is true to our core values of Expression, Design, Function, Form, Integrity and Identity. And we strive to show this though actions not just words.
That starts with the brands we have selected for our first collection and we give an insight into their world through ‘We Meet’ where we explore through photography and interview the practices and people that make them who they are.
Our packaging is bespoke, luxurious, tactile, functional and environmentally friendly. Recycled paper and card is key, plastic is anathema and is designed and manufactured by boutique, London based suppliers.
About Nick Kelly
Nick has worked in the fashion industry for more than 15 years, as both an editorial photographer and delivering campaigns for many well known brands. His career started with assisting a number of the world's most renowned photographers before capturing the eye of Harper's Bazaar in 2007. Passionate about his work he has also delivered a number of personal projects including the acclaimed www.inthefaceofothers.com. Solespun brings together a love for fashion, a focus on detail and his interest in self-expression in clothing.
We talked to him about the birth of Solespun and the passion that has driven the creation of this new fashion retail brand.
Are socks fashion items or something else?
One of the things I learned from the women I photographed for 'In the face of Others' was that underwear or lingerie is absolutely something for themselves and this if the closest I can come to describing socks for me.
They are one of the few things we buy not to show to others. It's easy to buy the latest fashion, purchase the best products money can buy for all to see, but something that is normally hidden is different. Their choice says a lot, it isn’t on obvious display and it is chosen for personal reasons.
So for you personally, what makes a great sock?
Sometimes I buy because I appreciate the design and craftsmanship, sometimes because of a connection with a brands identity and values that I love and sometimes because of their functional ability and comfort. But no matter what, I choose them for how they make me feel about myself and as such they become a personal representation of one's own identity.
Your collection seems very British heavy?
In recent times there may seem like many reasons to become disillusioned with Great Britain, however from the very tip-toe of Cornwall to the peaks of Scotland I have found that the identity of this country is vibrant as it ever was. In what many see as a faceless digital world there are still generations of thriving craftsmen and designers that together deliver a large part of our first collection.
So is Britain steps ahead off the competition?
I am not saying that Solespun will only work with UK brands as this would cut us off from the great talents around the world. Success in my eyes will come from collaboration with the best no matter who they are or where they are from. But there is a principle here about sustainability, we will always look first to work with and support those local to us and we only work with ethical and ecological responsible companies and individuals.
So what drives you?
The search for excellence in everything I do and at a deeply personal level. For me this means the wish for something to be the best, not because it needs to be but because it can be, not for the praise of others but the satisfaction in ones own achievement.
And who inspires you?
An interesting one for me and I appreciate the irony that I'm skipping over many British pioneers and fashion greats that I respect greatly.
However a fine example is Steve jobs. He insisted that the insides of the Apple computers, the bit you don’t see, were as beautiful as the outside. His continual insistence in saying no to mediocrity forced innovation and led Apple to being both one of the most successful brands and one of the most loved.
What drives you to distraction?
In my work as a photographer I have had the good fortune to work with some of the best brands and people in the industry, to genuinely see the craftsmanship in the goods, the value in their design and the people that make them what they are. Sadly I have also experienced the opposite; style over substance or even worse - no style and no substance - and the utter sense of betrayal I felt in someone or something projecting itself as something it is not.
So what is Solespun all about?
Craftsmanship, design and integrity applied to my love of socks and the qualities they represent to me. Both the products, and the business of Solespun, show what can be done when a group of people come together and want to create something great. This is how the best things in the world have come about; its very much how we approach editorial in fashion photography, and in this case its how we have approached the world of e-commerce.
Final words – at least for this interview?
Like an acceptance speech but at the start of the journey! With Solespun now live I can be honest and say that its been a lot harder than I imagined. However there have been no compromises and I would like thank every creative and talented person who have helped so far, the team at gt&i, members of the style council, and criticaly every brand that has trusted Solespun to represent them, we will make it the very best it can be.
Why? Simply because we can:).
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