If you’re looking to only wear sustainable clothes (including vintage, natural fibres, upcycled or recycled clothes), Dave Hutchison’s recent business venture might be the last piece of your eco-wardrobe puzzle. His new project is an upcycling one, turning material destined for the landfill into funky, sustainable products: Sexy Jocks. You can now buy sustainable underwear.
Dave’s core business Sexy Socks was born in 2015 as a side hustle while he pursued a path in law. It took Dave a trip to London and three days at a big corporate law firm to acknowledge that his heart beat for business. “It wasn’t until I lived overseas for a bit when I realised what excited me and that was where the entrepreneurship bug really bit. Looking back at my life I should have realised this a bit earlier. I started my first business when I was 12 years old.”
During Dave’s time in London, he came across the ‘social enterprise business model’ in a book by Blake Mycowskie who started the one-for-one shoe model called Toms Shoes in 2006. This was Dave’s lightbulb moment. “I love the idea of a social enterprise as a business model because there’s a profit motive which means that it can be self-sustaining, self-funding, and create a way for people to make a difference through their purchases.
Dave started Sexy Socks with a one-for-one bamboo sock model at R199 a pair with unique, colourful designs that were able to add flair to any outfit. For every pair of Sexy Socks bought, a pair of socks is donated to a school child in need. Last year Sexy Socks launched their cotton sock range which is geared towards everyday-wearing making their socks more affordable at R139 a pair. Over 30 000 pairs of socks were donated last year at Sexy Socks’s ‘sock-drops’.
Two years ago he started the Sexy Jocks project but it had been on the back burner for some time before sales showed that it required attention. Only 10% to 15% of their stores in the country stock Sexy Jocks but since rolling them out last year, Dave says they’re battling to keep up with the demand. All jock fabric comprises end-of-roll or offcuts destined for the landfill sourced from factories around South Africa. This fabric is given to Sexy Socks’s team of CMTs who cut, dye, knit and manufacture the jocks.
While the jocks aren’t sold on the one-for-one model, the company runs all its jocks production through women upliftment projects. In other words, every pair of Sexy Jocks bought helps to create employment in factories that aim to uplift women.
Sexy Jocks concept has been a hit in its short lifespan but Dave is transparent about the pitfalls of packaging and sourcing fibres. He says they are still navigating some of the challenges within the sustainable design model. “Packaging is also a really big challenge to navigate. Our socks and underwear are displayed on a stand so the packaging has to be quite durable otherwise it rips and the retailers get upset. The packaging at the moment is covered in a plastic laminate which is not sustainable. We tried brown card packaging but it tore when customers took the product off the display to look at them and then the retailer couldn’t sell them. We are looking into new ways of packaging. We are however also limited in South Africa because we don’t have all of the tech available.”
This year Sexy Socks is fine-tuning their jocks and is due to fit their underwear with a Sexy Jocks jacquard waistband.
For more information visit Sexy Socks. They retail at R199