How Pregnancy Inspired Kathryn Eisman to Create Chic Socks Designed for Heels
Photo: Kymberly Marciano
Fact: The sudden urge in pregnant women to organize and decorate every corner of the house is a very real thing, but for Fashion Mamas LA member Kathryn Eisman, pre-baby nesting really kicked itself into high hear. (Speaking of nest, have you seen her stylish crib?) While awaiting the arrival of her second daughter, the Emmy-nominated TV journalist and High Heel Jungle blogger — among many other titles — decided to add "designer" to her resume with her new fashion sock collection, which recently launched on her website's online shop.
More than just a finishing touch for every outfit, the luxe line features playful embellishments — think embroidered flamingos and butterflies, chic pearls, and 3D crystal flowers — on colorful sparkling fabrics, lace, sheer tulle, and more. Each pair is priced from $20 to $30, making it affordable to make a fashionable statement on your feet.
We chatted with the author, former E! News Fashion and Lifestyle editor, and soon-to-be mama of two weeks ahead of her second little one's due date. [Editor's note: Eisman has since given birth to her baby daughter, Monet.] Read on to find out why she opted to hit the gas instead of the brakes when deciding to create her new line, why she gravitated towards designing socks, how motherhood empowered her to pursue her idea, and more.
What was the "a-ha" moment that inspired you to create the line?
I’ve worked in fashion for over ten years, first as a model in Australia, then the feature fashion reporter for NBC in New York and most recently overseeing all fashion and lifestyle coverage at E! News so I’ve seen every type of fashion item imaginable, but I had never seen a really luxurious and fun fashion sock line that instantly transformed one’s outfit. You can wear them with your favorite jeans and sneakers by day, pair them with a slip dress and strappy sandals at night, wear them with leather pants and killer pumps or with a flowing dress and ballet flats or loafers…and immediately your outfit has a point of view.
Who or what were your design muses for your socks?
For the debut collection, I’ve designed over 20 styles and each of them will speak to different women and different mood, so there isn’t one “type” per se. There’s the whimsical flamingo tulle sock, the cheeky "Leave Me Alone" sock, the sexy butterfly net and catch 'em fishnet, the adventure loving Glitterati sock, and the romantic Crystal lace. Every day you can express a different feeling simply by adding these socks to your usual outfit. The common thread is that these socks are about women using fashion as a tool to joyously and powerfully express who they are. Our High Heel Jungle woman loves fashion and loves life.
"I felt modern women were looking for a statement item that costs a fraction of the price [and] even more individualistic."
Photo: Kymberly Marciano
As the author of two books about the psychology of fashion, why do you think you gravitated towards designing socks?
Having written a couple of books on the psychology of fashion including How To Tell A Woman By Her Handbag and How To Tell A Man by His Shoes, I truly believe that the clothes we wear are a visual expression of what’s going on below the surface. Why in a world of infinite choice at every price point we pick a certain item of clothing says so much about who we are. For the longest time we’ve had the “statement” bag or the “statement” shoe — but I felt modern women were looking for a statement item that costs a fraction of the price that is perhaps even more individualistic. A way of expressing who we are and how we feel. It was time to bring the “statement sock” into the world, it was time to make fashion fun again!
How did motherhood inspire/empower you when you decided to pursue your idea?
I’ve found motherhood to be my greatest inspiration in so many ways. It has made me much more aware of how I spend your time and ensuring that if I’m not with my family, I really want to be using that time on projects that have meaning and bring beauty or joy into the world. I’ve always believed that in order to be a good mother one needn’t sacrifice their passions or dreams, after all, what mother would want that for their daughter?
I feel very lucky to be an example of the importance of a strong work ethic. It’s really about knowing yourself well enough to understand what’s the best fit for you and never judging another mother. For me, I love working, I’ve worked since I was 13 years old and find it gives me more energy than it takes away. It was part of the reason why I accepted the position at E! News six weeks after having my first daughter. It made me a better mother and cherish my time with my daughter all the more. I have also walked away from senior positions that meant I wasn’t spending enough time with my daughter and husband, it’s about finding the right balance.
You're also pregnant with your second child — how did that effect your decision to go full steam ahead instead of hitting the brakes?
As we do this interview I’m having contractions so it’s a very relevant question! I am just so whole-heartedly passionate about High Heel Jungle socks that that spurred me on to launching it as soon as possible. I know how time-poor mothers of newborns are so waiting didn’t seem like an easier option! The passionate response we’ve received from everyone from the top magazine editors and stylists to celebrities and bloggers to our glorious customers fills me with gratitude and energy. The idea of seeing my creations of women and have them enjoy getting dressed each day and get excited about introducing a new category of accessory into their wardrobe lit a fire within me.
How do you hope people — and mothers in particular — feel when they wear your socks?
I hope they feel empowered. I hope they feel like they can pick up a luxury item without breaking the bank that expresses who they are and how they feel that day. Mother’s have so little time for themselves and without having to purchase OR style a whole new outfit they can feel fresh and look amazing simply by slipping on some socks. High Heel Jungle socks not only make all our shoes fit more comfortably but just as importantly are designed to give you a skip in your step. I’m excited about the conversations they may start and that they might just change the course of your day. That’s when fashion fulfills it’s potential.
Do you have any fun sock-related memories that you'd like to share?
I was recently interviewing Lupita Nyong'o for Black Panther wearing my HHJ socks at 8-and-a-half months pregnant and her hair stylist Vernon [Francois] stopped me as I was walking into the room and said "Wow, tell me about these socks…we need to get them on Lupita!" I pointed down and said "Thanks, I launch next month!" Looking at my giant pregnant belly he said, "You launch next month?!" thinking I was referring to the baby! We both cried laughing because in many ways I’m launching two babies at the same time.