From Thread to Toe: What really makes our socks so special!
Posted: Jun 16 2015
It is heating up here in London and even more so now that our socks have arrived from Italy! We are so excited to get our socks onto your feet but before we do, you might be asking, what really makes our socks so special? We will delve into our design and service philosophy in future posts but for now we want to give you a sneak peak into how your socks are made and how we achieve the quality you want and deserve!
The first major decision we made when we started Archer + Peyton was where to manufacture our socks. It was clear that we needed producers and partners who had high standards and attention to detail in all steps of the process. Equally, we needed to ensure that the raw materials from which the socks were produced (the threads) were of the highest quality. Truly a top-notch experience, from Thread to Toe as we say.
So we decided to manufacture our socks in Italy, in an area in the North, half-way between the high-fashion streets of Milan and the romantic canals of Venice. This has been the heart of not only Italian sock + machine production but world production throughout much of the past century. Over the past 30 years however, their production has reduced considerably with competition from new players in the market leading to the majority of the producers shutting down their businesses. Datang, otherwise known as Sock City, in the Eastern Zhejiang province of China, now produces over 9 billion pairs of socks a year. Turkey has also emerged over the past ten years as a new player in the "sock market". This has forced the remaining Italian producers to focus on quality rather than quantity to compete, and only those firms who have successfully made this shift have survived in what now has become an exclusive market for high-quality socks.
We spent months travelling back and forth meeting producers and settling on a few family-owned, 2nd and 3rd generation run small businesses. We then spent even more time sampling, testing qualities, and designs, in order to get the optimum balance of composition, fit, and style. The little details - such as the type of cotton (we use only Egyptian Long Staple Cotton - one of the best in the market), the amount of needles used to construct each sock, and the right balance of stretch vs. natural fibres, are all what come together to make our socks so special. Socks are built from the ground up. They start as threads on a roll, and then through the magic of the formidable sock machines, are sewn with 168 or 200 needles simultaneously knitting the sock into the form of a foot.
As you can see from the photos, this isn’t your grandma’s knitting kit, but an amazing piece of machinery that works hard (with the help of technicians and designers) to produce each sock to our specifications. Once the sock is knit, the toe then has to be sealed - either by a separate component of the machine or hand-linked. You would think the sock would be ready at this stage? We are only half-way through! Our socks are then pre-washed to ensure the perfect fit and to soften the touch and feel. They are then steamed and pressed - one by one and only at this stage can they be inspected and finally prepared to make their journey to Archer + Peyton HQ here in London. We were fortunate enough to see our socks in final production last week.
The socks featured in this production cycle are our fabulous 100% Filoscozia Egyptian Cotton Red Long Socks. They are light-weight enough for summer but a fabulous bright colour to get you noticed throughout your day! We are still accepting pre-orders up until July 30th for August 1st delivery. Sign-up to our mailing list or contact us here and we’d love to give you a pre-order discount to thank you for your support thus far!
Have a fabulous weekend!