I am starting a sock company and need my first sock design created. My sock company will serve the mental health market. It promotes the idea that all feelings are valid and part of the human experience. The intention is to remove the stigma around feelings and the social pressure to only feel 'positive emotions'. Positivity and positive affirmations can actually be very harmful to someone experiencing emotional or mental stress because it sends them the message that there is something wrong with them, or that they need to be fixed or changed because who they are/how they feel is not normal or accepted or right. So many people are judged, isolated and shut out for having less then positive feelings (the feelings we have everyday but avoid, shut down or pretend don’t exist because we think, deep down, that they make us bad or less attractive or successful or broken somehow). We believe in feeling and facing the hard stuff. We believe ALL feelings need to be normalized, acknowledged and validated.
The unique element of the design is that on the bottom of the sock will be a strong, grounding message for the sock wearer. It is on the bottom of the sock because then only the sock wearer knows about it, and its purpose is to be a grounding reminder to them throughout their day. Kind of like the idea of people wearing secret empowering underwear, but instead its on the bottom of the sock. The message on the bottom of the sock will likely be provocative, daring, bold or compassionate, warm, reassuring. The outer design essentially paints a picture or a visual representation of the message on the bottom of the sock. It will express the message on the bottom of the sock, but in a lighthearted or fun design so that anyone seeing the person wearing the sock will see a cool design, that perhaps piques curiosity, but doesn’t leave the sock wearer vulnerable to more judgment or criticism then they may already feel anxious about as they go about their day.
The feedback I received from my market is that they want something for them to know about, to help them and ground them throughout the day, to encourage them to acknowledged, validate and accept their emotions and their experiences. But they don’t want something that obviously displays their emotions to others (like sad or angry), which could leave them open to unwanted remarks if the person is not safe or trusted with emotions, and talking about mental health.
The brand is creative, expressive and its purpose is to stand up for its customers and help them create a healthy emotional model, where they can acknowledge, accept and validate their feelings to themselves, ALL their feelings, and ALL their experiences. Not just the ‘positive’ ones. Emotions are meant to be fluid, but when we ignore and shut down feelings they tend to get buried deep and get stuck and cause deeper problems. The brand is also daring because it is standing against a lot of spiritual trends to be positive and happy and think good thoughts. The brand is original. Its about living in reality and being real and honest about our experience as human beings. The brand is about common humanity - my intention is that the designs on the outside of the socks can bring people together, that people can see it and laugh with relief because someone understands them. I want them to have the thought “I relate to that”, “they get it”, “they understand me”, “I feel like that too”. Therefore the outer designs can be playful and bring about an experience of common humanity. And then the message on the bottom really anchors in a strong, powerful, grounded message about the experience we have as humans, and that it is okay and normal. Its not bad or wrong or broken or needing to be fixed. When customers wear these socks, my intention is for them to feel reassured, validated and seen by us.