Zulu Zion aims to make some noise in the hosiery market when the sock label launches March 31.
“We’re not afraid to step out of the box and be loud with our designs,” said creative director Dijana Rolc, who has a background in communications and started the Slovenia-based brand with her husband, Miha, a graphic designer.
The unisex socks, fusing lively patterns and vivid colors, will retail for $18 per pair. One of the duo’s initial goals is to build a presence in the U.S.
The label — named for an African tribe and the Rastafari movement’s word for utopia —also plans to mount a Kickstarter.com campaign this month to help finance its next steps, including creating a wholesale network concentrated on fashion-forward boutiques.
Here, the creative director sounds off on the challenges of being a newcomer in the legwear industry, the secret to standing out from the crowd and why the Fresh Prince makes a fine muse.
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1. How will Zulu Zion outshine its competitors in the increasingly crowded novelty sock market?
DR: In fashion, it is always challenging for a young brand to position itself in the market, but at the same time, stepping into the game as a fresh player, you are able to bring a new wave and your own aesthetic. … We are not afraid of experimenting with patterns and colors. We like to offer our customers [looks that are] more complex than stripes and polka dots. We work from our guts, to be honest.
2. What has been the most difficult part of the launch process so far?
DR: Creating a brand with no past experience in the fashion industry is a challenge, but we have learned a lot along the way. … The whole preparation for the [Kickstarter] campaign was the biggest challenge, as there were a lot of things we needed to take care of, [including] production, video, photography and campaign images, but it is a great learning experience.
3. What inspires you most, in terms of design?
DR: We are both children of the early 1990s and have been heavily influenced by MTV, sitcoms like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” pop art and graffiti. We’re inspired by the patterns created by the women in African tribes, as well as the abstract shapes of urban architecture. We try to merge all of these into our designs.