If you follow Snoop Dogg on Instagram, you're likely aware that heart-shaped sunglasses, memes, weed, and socks are a few of his favorite things to post. Snoop loves his socks and his collection could one day be a museum exhibit. It's full of rarities and obscurities, from a Brick phone-themed pair to East Coast vs West Coast rap socks and ones printed with Biggie's Ready to Die baby. So when Happy Socks announced they were teaming up with Snoop Dogg on a line of socks, let's just say it wasn't the most surprising move we've seen from the rapper who not-so-long-ago randomly rechristened himself Snoop Lion.
In fact, the only thing about Snoop's impending socks line that was unexpected was the inspiration behind it: his abstract paintings which have sold for upwards of five figures. As it turns out, that's not the only thing that will be printed on Snoop's Happy Socks line. We rang up the Swedish company's PR director Malkiel Berry who revealed that the collaboration will show off the artist's three sides: Rainter Snoop, Rastafarian Snoop, and "Gin and Juice," Bandana-Loving Snoop. The three pairs will be sold together in special Snoop-approved box sets for $40 on November 1. As for how the project came together? It started with Snoop's Instagram, naturally.
How did this project come about?
Malkiel: It started when we noticed that Snoop was posting pictures on his Instagram of Happy Socks. We were thinking ‘Ok, maybe we should contact the guy’ and then I came back to my computer and had an email from his agency, Cashmere, asking us to connect because they wanted to talk to us about working together.
Did Snoop come up with the concept to use his own artwork for the socks?
Yes, he had already been painting and he and his team thought it would show him in a less obvious way; that it would be a great thing to angle this collab around his passion for painting.
When you say less obvious, that’s exactly when I thought when I saw the collection. I think anyone who knows Snoop Dogg would assume that if he’s designing something it have a Rastafari theme or a weed leaf on it.
Well, actually there are two angles to this collaboration: There is the photo shoot, where we’re basically showing Snoop while he’s painting. It’s inspired by the concept of what makes you happy—basically everything about our brand. That part is very important for us because we always invite an artist to give his take or her take on Happy Socks at the end of the year, which is November/December. The first year we had Terry Richardson and last year we had David LaChapelle. Both of them were photographers, this time we wanted to have a talent that would be in front of the camera instead of behind. That’s also why it all fell into places when Cashmere that they would be interested in doing something around Snoop’s painting.
The second angle it is to represent the concept of three sides of Snoop that we all know. One sock is going to be a Gin and Juice sock with a blue-and-white bandana pattern—something that everyone can relate to. The second pair is going to be more Snoop Lion, which is Rastafari and does indeed have a marijuana leaf on it. It would have been incredibly hypocritical to hide that part of him. Actually I don’t think that would have been possible—he does that but he’s so incredibly sharp when it comes to talking and being professional. The third is an interpretation of his artwork on a pair of socks, representing Snoop the painter.
Did he come up with the designs himself for these other pairs?
Yes, absolutely. That was done while our co-founder/creative director/designer Viktor was in LA with Snoop for the shoot. Viktor is more savvy about the technicalities so he suggested things, and then Snoop came back like, ‘OK, I like that. I don’t like that. How could we change this one? Etc.’ I know that Viktor was super happy because it was a great project. It was more interesting than what sometimes happens, when Viktor does everything on his own and people just sign off on it.
Were there any surprises during the shooting of the video?
I think that Viktor and Miki weren’t necessarily used to working with people that are super famous and known worldwide like Snoop. We’re still a small Swedish brand. It’s great to see that the brand is getting bigger and bigger.
Do you feel like Snoop is a good ambassador for Happy Socks?
Absolutely. I realized through he touches so many people through his music and personality. My little cousin who is 14 years old was amazed when I told him we were working with Snoop but also my uncle is completely sick about it like, ‘You have to get me a pair.’ We can’t wait until it’s actually released because now it’s just this teasing period.
Socks are pretty great way to bring together all of his fans— everyone wears socks.
Exactly, it’s a product that has been very popular for maybe five years now. It started with the trend of guys wearing their pants rolled up so you actually started to see the socks. When you’re studying our customer base, it’s exciting to see that there is the cool dude who rolls up his pants but there’s also the business guy who has to wear very boring, typical suits everyday and loves to wear his Happy Socks because that’s his little corner where he can express himself let loose.
Will there be any special art by Snoop that comes with the socks?
The boxes all have the cool bandana pattern. So it’s a really nice box to have and to keep. We will have installations in our stores with the art, where people can actually see it. It will of course be available to see on our website and and we will also have pop-up stores, at the end of the year, around the world, which will be dressed with Snoop’s artwork.
Is this going to be a one-off collaboration or have you talked about doing more projects together in the future?
We have but at this stage we don’t really know if it’s totally sure or if it will change. It’s really funny because to be honest with you I’ve been with the brand almost from the beginning and it’s been quite an insane journey. The first collaboration we did with the British designer Giles Deacon put us more on the fashion industry map to rather than the mass market map. Giles Deacon was paid, if you can use that word, in socks. David LaChapelle happened because he had an opening in a really big photography museum in Stockholm and Viktor and Miki were there and walked up to him and said ‘Hi, we have this brand. What do you think about shooting our socks?’ He was like, ‘Why not?’
We really want to keep working with people who are interested in collaborating with us. It’s not about money. It’s not about doing it for the fame of the other person that we’re working with. It’s because it’s actually fun. Our brand has the name happy in it, so we want to be happy and have fun when we’re doing our job.
You should work with Pharrell next!
Absolutely, that is also in our head. It’s very funny because so many people have told us that they associated us together. You never know, maybe we’ll get an email from him too.
Marissa is buying all three pairs of Snoop's Happy Socks. She's on Twitter - @marissagmuller.
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