We may be busy here at Happy Socks HQ, but we've always got time to talk to members of our happy team! We grabbed a few minutes with Happy Socks’ concept designer, Paula Maso, to see what it takes to make it in the fashion sock industry.
Hi Paula! We’d love to hear a bit more about you, and how you ended up here in Stockholm.
I’m a designer originally from Caracas in Venezuela. I have a background in graphic design, then went more towards fashion, then I did some photography and now I’m in textile design! I’ve made a trip around the world, first in London, then Barcelona and now Stockholm. I’ve been here three years.
How did you get into design in the first place?
I did my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design, then from there I went onto do fashion photography. I started doing shoots as a fashion photographer, but I was really missing the graphic part of it so started adding a graphic twist to my photographs. I realised I really wanted to do something that tied back to my design background, so I started doing fashion prints for friends’ labels. It grew really organically and I saw there is a demand for it, especially digital print which is my real speciality. From there, I took a couple of courses. A couple in London and one in Barcelona, before starting to work full time. I freelanced for a bit, doing lots of projects, and I’ve been working with Happy Socks since last March doing print design.
Tell us a bit more about your role at Happy Socks.
I started out as a designer, helping out the Creative Director, Viktor. Initially I was developing smaller collabs and things like that, and sometimes our distributors or different markets would request special socks, so we would develop them. Recently I’ve moved over to a new position, concept designer, so I’m doing more of the conceptual work behind the collabs and categories and trying to come up with a fun new twist behind them, looking at how we can elevate and conceptualise them so they have their own identity.
How do you get your inspiration for you designs?
Pinterest! Like everyone! What I mean is, I do a lot of research. Sometimes it comes from a memory, but sometimes you have to do more research. But really, you can get inspired from everywhere. Then there’s the thing of how we can exploit creativity and self expression further, so it’s about finding the common thread between the collab and Happy Socks.
What’s your favorite thing about your role?
I love everything about working here! I like that we work with color and that in the end we have something physical to present. When I was thinking about my career I knew I never wanted to go fully digital because I do really enjoy having a tangible object to show. So I love going from ideation to seeing the finished product in a shop, and seeing it interact with the customer.
What do you like most about working at Happy Socks?
Free socks! Joking aside, I knew I wanted to work here, so I emailed Micke (the CEO) and told him I wanted to design socks for him. He emailed me back and told me there was a position and that I should apply. I really love the brand, and my personal style is also a bit funny, and really connects with the values of the brand. It’s been so much fun, crazier than I expected - there are a lot of parties! - but it’s great and it’s been a smooth ride stylistically.
You describe your style as “funny”, what does that mean and is it important?
I always like to have a bit of humour and not take fashion too seriously, for example making weird color combinations that are just a bit funny! Happy Socks is like that, it’s just design and it’s just socks so you’re meant to have some fun with it. If there’s something I really don’t like it’s taking it too seriously. This stuff is just supposed to make you happy, and I think there are different ways of going for that but the Happy Socks was is just a bit silly and funny and says, Why not?
What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into fashion design?
Send a bunch of emails! I think a lot of people think it’s a really far off opportunity, but it’s really not. Fashion is a huge industry and there are plenty of jobs. I think people nowadays do care a lot about education as fashion schools become more and more professional and education becomes more thorough. Also you need to build a solid portfolio, and decide exactly what you want to focus on. We are entering the age of ultra-specialisation, and as design is such a broad industry you really have to focus on something and become an expert in it.