Random Memphis-Named Item of the Week

November 22, 2011 10:51 am8 commentsViews: 33

Memphis lends its name to all kinds of things – barbecue restaurants in other cities, an Austrailian frozen treat, European cigrarettes, an Italian design movement.

And, at American Apparel, a pair of socks.

Memphis Socks from American Apparel

I'm not sure what exactly is so Memphis about these socks. Is it the fact that they're kind of crazy looking? Each pair has at least four colors on it, in a dizzying layout of stripes and solids. These socks match precisely nothing.

Is American Aparrel trying to do something to make their selection more locally appealing? In other cities, are these socks called "Boston" or "Tampa" or "Indianapolis"? Maybe one of you outside of Memphis can verify this for me.

In the meantime, hey, we've got of socks named after us.


  • The Memphis Group was an Italian design and architecture group started by Ettore Sottsass that designed post modern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects from 1981-1987. There was a traveling exhibit that came to the Brooks Museum back in the late 80s. Memphis design involved bright colors and, sometimes, stripes like the American Apparel socks. I'm sure there are other images online, but check out: http://designmuseum.org/design/memphis and also this Facebook page (apparently admin'd by someone here in Memphis): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Memphis-Milano-Movement-80s-Italian-Design-by-Sottsass-Group

  • I HATE it when Memphis is a punchline. I was in a restaurant in Toronto a few months ago and they had something called “Memphis BBQ.”. I asked “what makes these ‘Memphis’?” the server replied, “oh, you know, they’re messy and make you think of down south”. “Really? I’m a Memphian, does this suit, tie and clean shave make you think of “messy and down south?”. Hee hee. She just stopped talking at that point and brought me my green tea. 

  • Hey, Kerry
    Yes, that seems absurd, but I remember in the early 80's the "Memphis" exhibit at the Brooks…the furniture and pieces of art were the "Memphis" art from Milano, Italy. It had nothing to do with here in Memphis.I think it is great that "high fashion" is mistakenly confused with this city where there is not such. The coffee-drinking local populace is trying very hard to get into that idea of "metropolitan". Socks of a different color may be just what they want. Kerry, I love you and your blog and your WEVL show! You have great taste in music! Tampa…uhhh? LOL

  • They're named after the Memphis Design Movement, which was itself named after the Bob Dylan song "Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)".
    So it's connected, but only loosely.

  • Maybe it’s the calves that are Memphis not the socks. It’s a “Memphis calf sock” meaning it’s a sock for a Memphis calf. Huh? Anybody?

  • Olive the Hippie Teen

    I say it does match memphis. It's so odd that it works. But I would rather have it locally made. Sorry A.P. But you have lost a customer. (Not that I shop there anyway, but you know)

  • But, how does AA now use the Memphis Milano (still a company) font and Sottsass’ Bacteria laminate pattern (for Abet Laminatti) now on these sock with no attribution at all?

Leave a Reply