Elevate your lifestyle with these indie socks

Sponsored feature: presented by KingxPortland


The concept of craft has taken on new meaning in the last few years, most frequently when describing beer made by independent brewers who create small batches and carefully experiment with the ingredients they use. But the notion of caring about what you do and how it’s shared with the world is also being reflected by companies like King x Portland, who provide subscribers with monthly deliveries of well-designed socks.

Derek Polson, a men’s lifestyle blogger and Instagrammer, believes socks like these play a key role in presenting a confident look in the workplace and social settings.

“You sometimes see people get a little overzealous with their socks, and they look like bright rainbows or whatever is the loudest thing,” he says. “All that does is show a lack of nuance or subtleness. It’s a bit like wearing a really loud shirt with a nice suit.”

The artisanal aesthetic, whether it’s beer or fashion, is grounded in paying attention to your choices and being more conscientious in how those choices reflect who you are. For Polson, making his personal style more front-of-mind begins with zeroing in on a desired impression.

“Your clothes are a canvas, and you have to put something on every day,” he says. “I think everyone starts off with some goal or ideal they’re trying for. Some people want to dress like their boss, some people want to dress flashy because they want to they want to display wealth or success – that’s their goal.”

A good sense of style starts with finding balance, which is an aspiration King x Portland has recognized they share with a number of craft brewers. In a new collaboration available only in the months of May, June and July, they partnered with three breweries who all showcase the same dedication to craftsmanship: Toronto’s Mascot Brewery, Gananoque Brewing Company and The Signal Brewery in Belleville.

Each pair of socks was designed to visually represent the sensory impressions you would get from tasting one of the beers from these featured brewers.

“Our end goal is to have high-quality of products in everything that we do,” says Mascot owner Aaron Prothro. That means working with local, boutique-sized food suppliers who prize quality over quantity, while also curating their menu offerings to align with a craft-centre mentality.

“It’s like paying homage to old techniques and evolving those techniques to make them our own.”

Collaborating with King x Portland was a natural fit, as the two Toronto businesses shared an affinity for elevating lifestyle choices. And as with Polson’s take on men’s fashion, Prothro says a lot of his brewery’s success comes with designing great beers that achieve a sense of balance.

“We really try to elevate our beers as much as we can and understand the science behind brewing,” he says. “We never want one flavour profile to stand out over everything else because that wouldn’t be part of how we want to create things.”

Polson and Prothro echo one another on how it’s possible to portray a craft aesthetic in everything you do. It’s all about choosing the best quality available and supporting those who are as dedicated to their work as you are to yours.

While it’s important to make the right impression, rules shouldn’t get in the way. 

“Sometimes we don’t always follow the guidelines and we’ll end up creating something that’s pretty unique,” Prothro says about Mascot’s beers. “We try to make our own styles. That’s our process.”

“You’ve got to break rules,” says Polson. “Sometimes you just have to try new things.”

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