Catching Up with Previous Design-a-Sock Contest Winners

Design-a-Sock Contest 2019 kicks off on September 3rd. Maybe you’re considering entering? Maybe half of you wants to enter, while the other half isn’t so sure? We get it. It’s normal to feel some degree of self-doubt. It comes with the territory when you’re thinking about sending your art out to be evaluated.

We want to introduce you to four people. They’re people just like you. They came up with a great idea for a sock, ignored self-doubt and bravely submitted their designs. And now they shall forever be known as… Design-a-Sock Contest Winners!

We recently caught up with these sock-designing dynamos to tell us about their experience–and asked if they have any pointers for anyone thinking about entering this year.

Alina Chetcuti
Breah Morgan
Grant Thackray
Katie Bryant


Alina Chetcuti
3rd Place Design-a-Sock Contest Winner, 2016
Winning Design: Foxes in Boxes

Where were you when you found out you won Design-a-Sock Contest? What was your immediate reaction?
I was in my college rental between classes. None of my housemates were home so I didn’t have anyone to tell in person in the moment, but I was definitely very shocked and excited to the person who told me over the phone. After the phone call I immediately texted my boyfriend and housemates.

“To this day I still see my designs in stores that carry Sock It to Me brand. One time I even saw a person wearing my socks in public and I snuck a picture of him.”

How did you come up with the idea for your winning design?
I heard about the sock contest through my fellow designers at the company I was interning for. They gave me the contest as a project, and we all submitted several designs. We have a dynamic of shooting ideas and critiques off each other—so although I thought of foxes in boxes out of my love for foxes and just wanted to make a fun rhyme out of it, my co-workers helped make it more fun by suggesting to put the box on the fox’s head.

Did your sock-cess inspire you to go out and take on new creative projects or risks?
My sock-cess helped me develop my confidence as a graphic designer, and it makes a stellar portfolio piece that has probably helped me get potential employers’ attention.

What was it like seeing your winning design on an actual sock for the first time?
It was the coolest feeling to get my winning designs in the mail because it was my own illustration come to life. To this day I still see my designs in stores that carry Sock It to Me brand. One time I even saw a person wearing my socks in public and I snuck a picture of him—it was so surreal to see a real person who had purchased them!

What advice would you give to someone considering entering Design-a-Sock Contest this year?
I would say it can’t hurt to enter! Write out a list of ideas that you have never seen on a sock before, because that will make your design unique. Once you have your list choose the designs that you can really visualize looking cool, and create some awesome designs!


Breah Morgan
1st Place Design-a-Sock Contest Winner, 2018
Winning Design: Madagascar Menagerie

Where were you when you found out you won Design-a-Sock Contest? What was your immediate reaction?
I was at my great grandmother’s house helping clean and take care of her weird cat when I found out. I really couldn’t believe that I won. I remember thinking “wow, really? Of all those great designs… they picked mine? What?!” I couldn’t wait to tell my family!

“I was at my great grandmother’s house helping clean and take care of her weird cat when I found out. I really couldn’t believe that I won. I remember thinking ‘Wow, really? Of all those great designs… they picked mine? What?!'”

How did you come up with the idea for your winning design?
I love animals, especially unique and obscure ones. I wanted to adhere to some kind of theme and use different animals that could use the same six colors or less. Fossa, ring-tailed lemur and aye-aye just seemed to work perfectly! Plus my local zoo is home to fossa and lemurs, so they were a great source of inspiration!

Did your sock-cess inspire you to go out and take on new creative projects or risks?
Yes. I was inspired to try different art projects I hadn’t done before like sculpturing pins and magnets. My local zoo also loved the socks and my art, so I donated some artwork to help raise funds for the animals’ enrichment program.

What was it like seeing your winning design on an actual sock for the first time?
Pretty amazing and I couldn’t wait to wear them! I still can’t believe they’re actually real.

What advice would you give to someone considering entering Design-a-Sock Contest this year?
To have fun! Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out *exactly* how you’d hope it would, just give it your best and have fun designing it!


Grant Thackray
2nd Place Design-a-Sock Contest Winner, 2016
Winning Design: Yonder Castle

Where were you when you found out you won Design-a-Sock Contest? What was your immediate reaction?
I don’t remember exactly where I was, but I do remember that after I learned about it, everything that day just felt a little bit nicer, you know? It turned a normal day into a great day, and it became easier to enjoy the little things that normally pass me by.

“Just think of something you love, something unique that makes you you, and draw a picture of it on a sock! More people than you think will also resonate with that unique thing than if you try to appeal to an extremely broad audience.”

How did you come up with the idea for your winning design?
My favorite socks are ones that express love for a specific thing that makes you happy. So I thought about the things that I love–and two things I love that worked well together were spindly castles with fantastical architecture, and hills subtly turning sky blue as they disappear towards the horizon because of atmospheric distortion. It’s sort of a blend between my loves for fantasy and for science.

Did your sock-cess inspire you to go out and take on new creative projects or risks?
As a matter of fact, it was my sock design doing so well in the contest that made me decide to apply for a job at Sock it to Me! I got to spend a wonderful winter working in their warehouse because of that.

What was it like seeing your winning design on an actual sock for the first time?
It’s pretty surreal. Seeing them on my own feet was pretty cool, but the stranger part was knowing that there were strangers across the world wearing them that I’d never even get to meet, and yet I impacted their life in some small way anyway.

What advice would you give to someone considering entering Design-a-Sock Contest this year?
Just think of something you love, something unique that makes you you, and draw a picture of it on a sock! More people than you think will also resonate with that unique thing than if you try to appeal to an extremely broad audience. Although there’s also nothing wrong with loving something that everybody loves. Just you do you!


Katie Bryant
1st Place Design-a-Sock Contest Winner, 2017
Winning Design: Octopi Your Feet

Where were you when you found out you won Design-a-Sock Contest? What was your immediate reaction?
I was at college when I found out. I immediately called all of my family to celebrate. It was the most exciting thing that had happened to me in quite a while!

“Putting yourself out there for the world to see is always hard, so knowing that people liked my socks enough to wear it is pretty huge.”

How did you come up with the idea for your winning design?
At the time, I was trying a lot of different designs. I had some entries with a lot more detail, so I wanted to make something simple to balance it out. I really liked the underwater themed socks that were already there, and it ended up fitting the darker palette I wanted to use. I also wanted it to be wearable anywhere, which is why the bottom of the sock ended up solid black. That way they could be worn with my dress shoes! The octopus tentacles coming up from the deep ocean made all of that work together. My pants hide the top part of the sock, so it looks normal when I have to dress up, but it makes everything better knowing I have a secret on my socks!

Did your sock-cess inspire you to go out and take on new creative projects or risks?
I’ve taken on a lot more design work since then. Putting yourself out there for the world to see is always hard, so knowing that people liked my socks enough to wear it is pretty huge.

What was it like seeing your winning design on an actual sock for the first time?
It was probably the best I had felt all week. I put them on immediately and showed everyone I knew. I have a big collection of colorful socks, so having a pair with my own artwork on them and being able to say “I made that” filled me with a lot of pride. I got several more and I wear them all the time now.

What advice would you give to someone considering entering Design-a-Sock Contest this year?
Try a lot of different things. All of my entries had wildly different themes to them, and it just so happened that the underwater one was the best of them. Making a lot of different designs is not only great practice, but it’s always good to have several entries that you’re confident in. Also, don’t end up like me the first time and make your socks way too detailed! The temptation is great, but less is more sometimes.


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