SUNDAY TIMES - Pushing the creative boundaries of men's fashion, one sock at a time
Sunday Times Fashion By Yolisa Mkele, 2017-05-18 00:00:00.0

Pushing the creative boundaries of men's fashion, one sock at a time

Nic Haralambous is on a mission to encourage men to add more individual touches to their outfits - starting with socks.
Image: Supplied

Retailer Nic Haralambous is tossing navy-blue, grey and black out the sock drawer and encouraging men to say YES to kooky accessories that show off their personal style

Men's fashion is a strange place. For the most part it's characterised by muted, safe colours and some variation of the latest GQ cover.

Accessories beyond a watch and cufflinks are often seen as taking a chance. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but quirky sock retailer Nic Haralambous of is tired of being shackled by "male conformity".

"Walk into any men's retailer and what you'll see is grey, black and navy-blue, the safe colours. The colours that make sure that no man will make fun of your style. This is everything that is wrong with men's fashion," he said.

Through his boutique online socks and accessories store, Haralambous hopes to spur men into eschewing orthodox fashion choices in favour of something that better reflects the wearer's own tastes, however kooky they may be.

"Fashion is what other people tell you is cool. Style is what you believe is cool and every man should embrace that, regardless of what the world tells them. We need to stop judging and instead embrace individuality, however that may look," he said.

Haralambous is targeting men who pay little mind to clothing thanks to social conditioning and perhaps a deep-seated fear of being judged.

"For many men, dressing is just something you have to do to get to work without being arrested for indecent exposure. These are the men that we target to educate about self-expression and the joys of wearing crazy accessories to make you feel happier."

Nic Haralambous at his Waterfront kiosk. Image: Supplied

Who is to blame for all of this male introversion where style is concerned?

"The truth is, there are many fashion companies destroying the world and destroying the image men have of themselves.

"[There are also] men who are unhappy and uncomfortable with themselves shouting the loudest and telling other men how to look. This, in turn, affects what men buy, which affects what fashion houses produce and so the cycle continues. Men unconsciously dress the way the world is forcing them to."

Obviously this doesn't apply to all men, but for Haralambous it applies to enough of them that he felt this crusade was a necessity. Whether it works is yet to be seen, but the idea of arriving at work in fuchsia and blue polka dots because you feel like Willy Wonka does warm the cockles.

Some of the unique socks in the Nic Harry collection. Image: Supplied

This article was originally published in the Times.