Have you heard, have you seen? There are new socks in town and they're absolutely DOPE! I can proclaim myself as slightly obsessed, because I've been eyeing them from the moment they first appeared on the market and I've also been wearing them ever since. I'm talking about the fresh socks brand Zulu Zion, a contrivance of Dijana and Miha Rolc, husband and wife, who felt the need to transform their work into something more, something fun, something hot. The couple was sick of always buying the socks with the same old pattern (the well known oh-so-boring polka dots and stripes), so they decided to take a plunge and create something that all the hip souls out there would wear. All of their socks are made from quality materials in vibrant colors that instantly change your mood. The source of inspiration were African tribes, 90's hip hop cultural and fashion movements, and urban environment. Ready to step into the world of coolness? Meet Dijana, Miha and their baby star: Zulu Zion.
Hi Zulu Zion crew, how are you doing?
Well, it's been pretty hectic the last couple of days, but we are still alive and kicking, so we're good.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? Where did you two meet?
Oh, us two? We met in high school and kind of stuck to one another and hadn't let go since then. That was ten years ago - in the meantime we got to study and live together and have now been married for almost three years. Oh, and we're expecting a baby in the next few weeks. Pretty standard, huh?
How did you come up with this awesome idea of making the coolest socks on the block?
It was actually Miha's idea from two years ago, but due to other work there was no time to work on a project of our own. It wasn't until we moved from the city to the country side that we decided to go with it. We immediately connected to a local factory of socks and the story of Zulu Zion started.
What exactly made you want to venture into the realm of those unexpected and fresh patterns - what was the inspiration behind it?
Well, once we decided we're going to do this, we started sketching - mainly Miha, he is the designer behind all of our work and I'm the critical eye as he likes to joke. We searched for our inspiration in the patterns of African tribes, streetstyle culture of the 80' and 90' and urban architecture.
How involved are you in designing and producing processes and how does it all look like? Any special equipment needed?
We spent quite a lot of time during last year's summer at the factory, working tightly with them. Being perfectionist we strive to make the socks exactly as we have envisioned them. But of course there are always obstacles when you start from scratch and on a budget - we had to compromise and work with the color palette of threads they had (which was limited), and learn how to design the patterns for their machines. All in all it has been a great learning experience.
How long does it take to produce a pair of socks - from scratch to finish? Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?
It depends on how much you complicate things and how complex the patterns are. If you have a simple sock with polka dots, it's relatively quickly done, but if you try to bring something new to the table you always have to jump back and forward and search for new solutions if things don't go your way. That's actually the part that we enjoy the most and is the most rewarding.
How do you handle the challenge of running a brand? What are the main pros and cons about it?
We are at the beginning right now and we are actually launching a Kickstarter campaign today to raise funds for the production of socks and get the Zulu Zion message across the pond. So a lot of work has been put into the campaign (production, video, photography, rewards, etc.), and creating the brand image and identity of course. The pros are that you get an insight into a line of business you didn't know before and learn more about that as well as finally making your vision real. The cons would have to be the paperwork! But the feedback from our customers is the most rewarding, and it's what keeps us going and validates that what we are doing must be right.
What do you think sets the Zulu Zion socks apart from other brands?
What sets Zulu Zion apart from other labels is that we are not afraid in experimenting with patterns and colors. We like to offer out customers patterns that are more complex than stripes and polka dots - we work from our guts, to be honest. Since this is our first collection, we will see which of the models will work best with the customers, and go on from that. For now, we are not afraid to step out of the box and be loud with our designs.
What's your favorite Zulu Zion pair so far?
That's a hard one, they're all our babies :). But if we had to choose: Miha's favorite is Yoko and my favorite is Pablo.
Do you have any advice for young folks who want to make something out of a simple idea?
The advice would be to go for it. But first make sure that the idea you have is not just one of many on your list. It has to stand out and stick with you for a while. You need to feel the need to realize it and have the drive to do it. If you lose the drive after a week or a month, it's probably best to stop thinking about it. You should never lose focus.
Thanks so much for your time Dijana and Miha, I really appreciate it! Best of luck in your future, you rock!
So, are you as enthusiastic about Zulu Zion socks as I am?! If so, find them over on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr and from this day on you can also support Zulu Zion on Kickstarter. I tell you, every time I put these beauties on, they simply make my day brighter, more positive and I'm feeling über swell. Now I can finally get rid of all the boring ones in my drawers and it was about freaking time. C'mon, let's start stomping!