By  on February 24, 2012

Stockholm-based Happy Socks will be launching two new classifications this summer and fall: An upscale line of unisex socks called Premium Collection by Happy Socks, and a children’s line called Happy Socks & Crewcuts, a co-branding venture with the Crewcuts children’s label at J. Crew.

The unisex line will be rendered in two-ply yarn and cotton blends with cashmere for warm-weather months and merino wool for cold-weather months. Special treatments will include hand-linked toe details as well as a generous leg length that sits higher on the calf for maximum support and comfort. Suggested retail will be $28.

Isaac Ash, chief executive officer of United Legwear Co. LLC, the manufacturer and distributor of Happy Socks in the U.S. and Canada, said retail reaction has been positive to the high-end unisex line.

“The market demand is there and consumers have been requesting an upscale version of Happy Socks for some time now.…For our most discerning customers, cashmere and merino wool are a must.…Early feedback from retail customers has been positive,” said Ash.

The Happy Socks & Crewcuts line of fashion socks for boys and girls will be carried in June at select Crewcuts stores, including the Madison Avenue flagship as well as the Crewcuts catalogue.

The children’s line will feature exclusive colors to complement the “J. Crew aesthetic,” said Rita Polidori O’Brien, vice president of licensing and marketing at United Legwear. Prints and colors for the launch will include bright orange dots on a purple ground and a trendy brown-and-hot-pink leopard pattern on a cream-colored ground. Prices have not been finalized for the co-branded collection.

Meanwhile, Happy Socks, which is known for combed-cotton socks in bold patterns and bright colors, will also be introducing Happy Socks Kids at the ENK Children’s Club trade show in March. Distribution will be aimed at major department stores and specialty retailers for the fall. Sizes will range from toddler to preteen.

Mikael Söderlindh, ceo of Happy Socks, said he initially did not want to do children’s socks, but changed his mind because it’s an important category.

“Since the beginning of Happy Socks [in 2008], people have asked us about kids’ socks, but our answer was always a ‘no.’ After four years of experience, we began thinking of how cute kids can be and can dress. Happy Socks wanted to be part of that,” said Söderlindh.

A first-year wholesale sales projection was not available, but estimates for the unisex Premium Collection are in excess of $10 million, while the Happy Socks Kids line for boys and girls could generate sales of $15 million or more, according to industry sources. Wholesale sales for the co-branded Happy Socks & Crewcuts line are estimated to be around $1 million.

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