The Making Of....Kupe'e (Hula)!

Posted On : Feb 26, 13

By : Ryan Kent

First in an exciting "making of" series - offering a rare behind the scenes glimpse at the dark and secretive world of dress sock design!

Our Hula-themed Kupe'e socks were one of the very first designs pulled together for Soxfords way back in October, 2010!   We were looking for a kind of a summer theme, with a lazy day, relaxing feel to it. I loved the nostalgic look of vintage Hawaii, picturing hula girl images from the 40s and 50s, like the hula bobble head toys you see on the dashboard of cars, or the women they painted onto WWII planes (the "Sailor Jerry" look).

It started with a simple email to our designer, Allison (who we'll write more about soon), with a photo of a Hula dancer and a vintage Hawaiian pattern:

Soxfords.com - Hula Girl Dress Sock

Soxfords.com - Soxfords Kupe'e Hula Dress Sock Patern


 Allison was spot-on with the inital design, leading to a fantasistic Hula Girl render used to guide the embroidery:

Soxfords Hula Girl Sock Design Embroidery       



We spent a while on the first round getting things just right - going back and forth about colors and pattern sizing before a mix of cool design with a more formal pattern spacing was finally decided on close to October, 2011:

Soxfords Hawaiian Hula Sock v1Soxfords Hawaiian Hula Dress Sock v2Soxfords Hawaiian Hula Dress Sock v4

Some initial Hula sock mock-ups

(Designs typically don't take us a full year anymore - we finally hit a stride, and we were working on more than one pattern at a time!)

Back then we really didn't have a clue as to how to properly appease the sock gods, naively thinking that anything we put to paper would be transferred exactly to the cotton canvas:

Soxfords.com - Soxfords Hula Dress Sock Pattern

Initial Hula pattern image for production


We were rudely awakened to the fact that designing for a sock pattern is basically like drawing an old-school 8-bit Nintendo game..pixel by pixel.  Eventually we translated our initial design into an grid pattern for the factory to follow:

Soxfords.com - Hula Dress Sock Pattern Image

Grids for Pineapple and Palmtree pattern

We understood by then that the detailed Hula girl would need to be embroidered - it adds to the final cost, but was totally worth it so we didn't end up with a stick-figure in a pixelated green skirt!


Finally we were all set...just a simple matter of getting the sock made, right???  Yeah, right...stay tuned for Part 2 of the Making of...Kupe'e (Hula), where we follow the winding path towards production!

In the meantime, feel free to check out the end result - we think it was worth it!

Tags: 2013designskupe'emaking of.


“designing for a sock pattern is basically like drawing an old-school 8-bit Nintendo game..pixel by pixel” Ha! You’re a pixelsmith too now! —Rick Davies (March 20, 2013)

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