There is something wonderful about coming across a brand that takes you completely by surprise. Strathcona is such a brand. Based out of Vancouver, Strathcona specializes in ultra cool, fine stockings that feature photo collage style prints. With various prints from photo real citrus and flowers to watercolor-esque geometric shapes and star-strewn galaxies, these quirky stockings mirror designer and founder Ryley O’Bryne’s decidedly unique artistic point of view. Now boasting rave reviews and styling by several influential publishers including Vogue Italia, Bullett Magazine, Nylon Magazine, and Refinery 29, it is only a matter of time before Strathcona makes its way into wardrobes everywhere. Here, to kick start your newest obsession in hoisery (and firmly cement ours), Ms. O’Bryne answers our questions.
When did you first become interested in fashion?
If you ask my mother, there was never a time that I wasn’t interested in fashion. Even when I was a little kid, I wouldn’t let my mom dress me – I always had to do it myself.
What made you want to create printed stockings?
I become a little obsessed with the idea of printed socks a few years ago. I found that I was always looking for special and interesting socks, but I had such a hard time finding them anywhere. Whether it was on the internet or when I traveled – they didn’t seem to be around anywhere. I finally realized that if I was going to get what I wanted I was going to have to make them myself. And that’s when the R+D started.
Where do you find inspiration for your products?
Whenever I can’t find exactly what I want I think about whether I could make it myself. In terms of the prints themselves, everything inspires me. I will be inspired by obvious stuff like a trip to the museum. Or a beautiful lunch. A carpet. Youtube. One of the prints was a little painting I did while visiting a friend in Mexico – the colors and patterns of the tile work there inspired me.
What other creative projects are you involved in?
Film is my other passion. We are working on a music video for a friend’s band this month. But I work on a pretty wide array of projects. Before Strathcona, I worked as a creative art director so that got me involved in quite an assortment of projects. I still take on that type of work on occasion but I am having less and less time for it. Really, I just really love working and creating.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would say fun and diverse. I don’t like having to be one thing or another. I want to wear wild colors and a bejeweled baseball hat one day and pajamas or all beige the next. I like being able to experiment with fashion. That’s what makes it interesting and enjoyable. That being said, we were talking about style the other day and decided the term “Casino Grandma” was pretty great…I definitely lean that way from time to time.
What is your favorite article of clothing?
A pair of extremely baggy sequin pants I got at a Halloween sale 4 or 5 years ago. If you have seen me “out” in the last 4 years, I have most likely been wearing those pants. They are quite literally my “party pants.”
Which recent purchase are you most excited about?
I recently bought a very utilitarian army-green duffle bag from MEC (Canada’s version of REI). It has made my nomadic life a lot easier in recent times.
What is your favorite place in the world?
My parent’s home in Roberts Creek and Paris. Two of the most wonderful places I have lived.
Ready to start rocking a bolder pair of hoisery? Share your love in the comments.