For fairly obvious reasons, most black Americans haven’t traced their family history back to the days of slavery. Uncovering a black family tree takes considerable time, searching, and immense emotional labor. But imagine if you had a vivid picture of your family tree—like something out of Roots.
Interestingly, Leigha, founder of Culture Socks, named many of her expressive sockwear threads after strong black women from her bloodline: there are socks honoring Janie, her great-grandma; Ruth, her great-great aunt and others. Leigha can trace her lineage all the way back to Freedman’s Village, the government camp established in 1863 on land that’s now home to Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon, where thousands of former slaves migrated in search of a better life. Once Freedman’s Village was shut down (freed slaves evicted) in the early 1880s, Leigha’s family dispersed across the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area from Alexandria, Virginia to Rhode Island Ave in DC.
Culture Socks is Leigha’s outlet to a better life and greater opportunity; after a successful year that featured appearances at staple events like Essence Festival—unable to ignore the entrepreneurial itch while at her nine to five—she jumped into running her brand full-time.
The brand represents a multifaceted interpretation of culture. Yes, there’s the black culture influence, but there’s also a more humanistic and primal urge to fight the status quo. Any creative person can relate: dare to be different. Don’t wear boring socks when you could wear vibrant colors and designs that catch eyes and start conversations.
For as long as she can remember, Leigha’s always loved crazy socks. Her parents didn’t always approve, but once she was old enough to have a little more freedom, she started rocking socks that featured her favorites like SpongeBob. And as she matured, that love for socks didn’t fade, it matured with her. Instead of finding socks, the focus became making them. She started drawing sketches of her own designs and having a friend digitize them. Eventually, she graduated to teaching herself Photoshop and Adobe so that she had full control over her creative process, creating for not only herself but also the rest of us.
Socks are the focus, but they’re really a conduit for a truer expression of self and deeper connection to others. This fifth-generation DMV native beautifully fuses her appreciation for history, social consciousness and style to conceive sockwear that looks good, feels good and is environmentally friendly, too.
To learn more about Culture Socks—and to step up your sock game—visit their website.