A month before he became South Africa's President, Cyril Ramaphosa rocked a pair of Ronald McDonald socks while walking along the beach in East London. Locals spotted him, he took selfies with them, and the word was out: Ramaphosa has a sense of fun.
“Whose socks was he wearing, do you know? Because they certainly weren’t mine,” asked Nicholas Haralambous, the owner of Nic Harry, a men’s underwear and socks store in Cape Town.
Haralambous keeps a close eye on who does wear his socks.
So far he has not landed a top-tier politician from the ruling party, but certainly one from the opposition. DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, wears Haralambous' socks. Haralambous cold-called Maimane's assistant one day. To his surprise he got through.
“I just asked him if he wanted to support a proudly South African brand and he agreed,” Haralambous said. He believed that the politician should, as a show of patriotism, wear his iconic South African flag socks.
But statement socks aren't necessarily for everyone. And that's OK, according to Chelsey Wilson, co-founder of FEAT. sock co.
“I believe that a fashion statement is only successful if it reflects something about who we are, rather than what we believe people want to see us wearing,” she said.
“Some people might be drawn more to bold pattern and colour, while others might be drawn more to socks that tell a story through pictures and scenes," Wilson said. “I don't think it's possible to get socks wrong.”
If they make you happy, wear them, she said. The designs you choose, whether bland or bold, should reflect your personality or mood. If you want to be bland sometimes, then that's ok. Wilson said that the most important thing is that the socks we choose to wear say something about us, however small.
“And if you were so busy you forgot to think about what socks you chose to wear, I don't blame you. They are just socks, after all. They can be a little mobile art work, or they can just be something functional that keeps your feet warm, either option is perfect if it's perfect for you,” say Wilson.