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I’ve always loved the idea of cute socks — I’ve even written about how you can wear them with heels and sandals in the fall without feeling like an idiot. But I don’t actually own any myself, because I’m the kind of person who re-ups on socks and underwear every three weeks when I inevitably, and mysteriously, lose my current supply. (I’m careless, what can I say!)
And I never felt like I was missing out on much, honestly, until Happy Socks announced the rollout of a totally new brand earlier this month called Hysteria. Everything is all! so! good! Good enough to make me want to spend $22 on a pair of socks.
The debut fall/winter collection was inspired by mid-century architecture and optical art, so there’s a ton of geometric prints, bold graphics, and color-blocking going on. Pairs are made of nylon, viscose, fancy cotton, and even cashmere; they’re all fun enough to feel special, but not so over-the-top that they’d compromise your regular day-to-day look. As someone who lives in a uniform of high-waisted black trousers and sweaters from September through March, these make for a playful splash of color in my otherwise underwhelming wardrobe.
But why create a whole new brand? When I had the chance to chat with Paula Maso, Hysteria’s lead concept designer and longtime member of the Happy Socks team, she noted that Happy Socks’ selection for women was selling considerably less than the men’s. (To be fair, that’s not surprising. If you’re not a fan of in-your-face primary colors and huge polka dots and peace sign patterns, there’s nothing really for you.)
“Happy Socks is a very masculine brand. The communication is masculine, and the collaborations we do are a bit more masculine,” she says. “We didn’t just need pink socks, you know what I mean? We needed a different catalog and website, we needed different styling, we needed a different way of expressing ourselves.”
So Maso linked up with two other employees, met with the Happy Socks higher-ups, and presented her case for a totally separate brand. “It was maybe a 10-minute meeting,” Maso recalled. Just like that, Hysteria got the green light.
It’s obvious from the design of the socks themselves — as well as the messaging on the site and the very aspirational lookbook (I want to live in it?) — that the team behind Hysteria is aiming to make buying socks just as cool as shopping for any other accessory. See some of our favorite pairs below, and shop the full collection here.