How our GS Socks are Made | Celebrating Traditional Craftsmanship
Beautifully designed, thoughtfully crafted socks are one of the key products that we offer.
Organic cotton socks and merino wool socks, sparkly socks and knee-high socks, walking socks and lounge socks – all keeping your toes nice and toasty while providing a little something extra to complete your outfit.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about where and how our socks are made (and discover my ‘secret weapon’ socks), read on.
How and where our socks are made
I first had the idea to introduce socks to the collection after falling in love with a yarn that was too fine to knit with for jumpers. Inspiration struck: this would make the perfect pair of socks!
I knew a gentleman named George who owns a socks factory in Derbyshire, who I met through the Worshipful Framework Knitters Livery. George’s family-run factory was established in 1927, giving his factory almost 100 years of experience in crafting socks. One day, George offered to give me a sock knitting master class, where I studied one-on-one with him to learn how the machines fashioned the socks, how to program the patterns and change knitting tensions, the technical processes of finishing, and the quality control of making sure the socks will fit, stretch and recover to its original shape. George and his team now create all of the socks in my collection, using traditional methods and hand-finishing to create high-quality, beautifully designed socks which will stand the test of time.
I loved the slow, considered process that went into making each pair of socks, finding that this fit in perfectly with the brand’s ethos. Working with and learning from George, I gained a huge appreciation of what goes into knitting socks, paying attention to all the small but important details which have to be considered in a high quality pair of socks – such as seamless toes that do not irritate your feet, and cuffs with a good stretch that don’t cut into your calves.
On that day, I created my very first pairs of socks, which are still amongst my favourites in the collection: the Samar merino wool sock and the Solline sparkly silk tweed sock. In the years since, I have worked with George and his team to create a comprehensive sock collection that offers high quality and great design, pairing quintessential Genevieve Sweeney pops of colour with interesting details. Some of the machines I design on are very rare, such as an intarsia machine which creates patterns without loops on the inside, such as the Serora spiral stripe sock. I utilise leftover yarn from previous seasons to make my socks, ensuring that there is zero waste in our production. I love to combine my creative and technical skills to make the knitting more efficient, using these small amounts of yarn to create beautiful socks, but also running machines during quieter periods and making very exclusive colour ways that will not be repeated.
One of the most unique types of sock in my collection are my sparkly socks, which are ideal for adding a fun element to your outfit, particularly for an evening event. I use sparkly yarns with OEKO-TEX, FSC and Eco VERO certifications, meaning that these may look like fun, fashionable accessories but they are crafted from sustainable fibres and are also manufactured in small batches to reduce waste. Unlike other sparkly socks, our designs feel incredibly soft and smooth against your skin that are a joy to wear.
Our sparkly socks are crafted using a combination of traditional machine-led methods combined with hand-finishing techniques. The Sigi zig-zag socks, for example, are created using a highly complicated and time consuming technique that uses traditional intarsia machines, followed by hand-finishing.
Another popular category is our GS walking socks, designed for everyone from seasoned hikers to daily dog walkers. These stylish yet practical socks were designed with functionality firmly in mind, to be as comfortable and supportive as possible on long walks on tough terrain. All our walking socks are made from responsibly-sourced, non-mulesed merino wool, and are machine washable and easy to care for. Merino wool is a natural fibre which, thanks to its breathable and insulating qualities, is commonly used for walking clothes. Socks crafted from merino wool will keep your feet warm in winter and cool during the milder months. Due to its moisture-wicking qualities, wool is naturally antibacterial, odour-resistant, and also helps to keep your feet dry, thus reducing the risk of blisters.
Our walking socks have double-density soles, ensuring lasting comfort by adding essential cushioning to the foot. The ribbed detailing around the ankle and foot provides extra stability and support, creating the ultimate pair of socks for long treks in the hills.
MY ‘SECRET WEAPON’ SOCKS
I don’t like to pick favourites, but I always reach for my Sia knee-high zig-zag socks when I want my feet to be warm and cosy but also want to bring a pop of personality to my outfit. These are a knee-high style of socks, crafted from merino wool with a contrasting zig-zag sparkle of colour. Expertly pairing comfort and style, I love to wear these socks under mid-length skirts and dresses instead of tights, or with cropped trousers and jeans to add interest. The subtle sparkly allows the socks to instantly transform an outfit from day to night, without being too obvious. They are made from soft and cosy merino wool, paired with a sparkly yarn that has both FSC and Eco Vero certification.
Our lounge socks are designed to be the perfect footwear for curling up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine. I love taking them with me on trips away in the UK, especially if I’m staying in a cosy cabin during the colder months. They’re also ideal for wearing in bed on chilly nights. Our waste-free Sasha cashmere bed socks are crafted from repurposed Scottish cashmere, and are irresistibly soft.
This autumn we will be launching our new Salpaka alpaca merino wool socks, which fuse together the luxurious softness of alpaca with the durability of merino wool for the ultimate lounge socks. I have sourced and twisted the yarn myself to create a totally unique yarn knitted with a contrasting bold stripe. They are perfect for wearing with a pair of Birkenstocks, pulling on with your winter boots, or for simply cosying up on the sofa.
ORGANIC COTTON SOCKS
Not everyone loves a wool sock, so we also offer a selection of classic cotton socks for everyday wear. Our Sotto organic cotton socks are a simple sartorial staple, making them one of our best sellers. Knitted in the highest quality Italian cotton, these socks are available in a rainbow of colours, and are perfect for wearing with any kind of footwear, from loafers to trainers. The seamless toes ensure all-day comfort, and the soft cotton keeps your feet warm yet is breathable. Our Samar organic cotton marl socks are another alternative if you like to make more of a statement with your socks. These innovative socks were conceived after I spotted the unusable end-of-line yarns in the Derbyshire factory and thought of a way to use them, thus reducing waste. Custom-spun by myself, vibrant coloured yarns were twisted together to create completely unique blends in a process that was all about embracing slow manufacturing.
Discover my collaboration with That’s Not My Age with these vibrant Samar Cotton socks here.
They may be a bit of a cliche gift, but as we get older we all secretly love receiving socks as a present – especially when they are luxurious! Our colourful, cosy and sparkly socks all make great gifts for Christmas and birthdays; a little something extra to tuck into a stocking or to send in the post to put a smile on the face of a new mum or someone who is going through a tough time. If you’re looking for the ultimate self-care treat for a loved one, our GS sock subscription delivers a little piece of luxury to their door each month with a surprise pair of socks.
I always say, once your feet have experienced a high-quality, expertly crafted pair of socks, you can never go back!
GS Sock Subscription
Subscribe and each month you'll receive a surprise pair of socks showcasing Genevieve's signature blend of premium yarns and contemporary patterns in seasonal, statement colours.