Unempire Socks

Photo © We Heart

Stuff CrushFashion

Empire State of Mind

Fruitcake Melbourne sock designer lays foundations for very own realm of madness...

“The meatballs, spaghetti and garlic bread sell well”, Zoë Lea tells me. “The tuna, and the sausages too”. The folk at the table next to us probably think we’re conducting a stocktake of sorts, Lea the restaurateur, I the supplier perhaps. We’re not. We’re talking socks. Barmy socks. Zoë is a Melbourne-based former accessories buyer for fashion retailers, a designer, artist, and Unemperor to her very own Unempire. Named with a clear two-fingered-salute to dominant authority, Lea’s product is a clear two-fingered-salute to dominant authority. Complete with dippy eggs and soldiers.

Manufactured by Lea’s ‘friends in Taiwan’ – who stringently comply to all manner of ethical trading standards – Unempire socks are as nicely made as they are nicely dutiful to moral principles and nicely designed too, of course. Just plain nice. But nice isn’t the half of it. As we sit over coffee in delightful Fitzroy café Tomboy, Zoë is entirely compos mentis, capable of stringing sentences together and conveying herself perfectly well. I can only assume that when she returns home, the curtains are drawn, baked beans are strewn on the floor, and Lea rolls around in them, naked, screaming “I AM AN ANCIENT AZTEC”.

What’s that? You want to know why I’m slandering a perfectly lovely young lady on a public forum? Here me out: Zoë Lea has designed a pair of socks based upon Carl Linnaeus’ 1735 theory Systema Naturae (something we know today as: Linnaean Taxonomy), that states all things in the natural world can be whittled down to three kingdoms: animal, vegetable and mineral. Lea’s socktacular interpretation of this is a cat, some broccoli and a gold watch (bearing the words, Party Time). Your honour, I rest my case.

Certifiable. Bonkers. Fucking brilliant. Unempire socks are my new jam.


Unempire Socks Unempire Socks Unempire Socks

Photo © We Heart

Unempire Socks Unempire Socks Unempire Socks Unempire Socks

Photo © We Heart
Photography © UNEMPIRE,
unless otherwise stated.