I bought my first pair of Ayamé socks in New York a couple of years ago, when the Japanese brand collaborated with London-based creative agency C53 on a series of patterns that were strong and graphic, but absolutely colour-free. I’d seen a picture of the Basket Lunch designs in a magazine and had to have them immediately. Without me knowing, my husband had also seen them and also felt the same way; it led to a memorable occasion when we turned up to a party, independently, looking like we were “doing a thing”. Since then, “Ayamé sock day” has been by negotiation.
My wardrobe is 95 per cent black, and while I like to break up my outfits with a jazzy sock, I’m still reluctant to go the way of bright colours. This is why I immediately fell in love with Ayamé socks (from £25), which have the energy of something that, say, Missoni might do, but in a Bauhaus mood, entirely desaturated. Ayamé only delivers within Japan, so I was really happy to discover that Liberty have started stocking them, and after spending some time looking at the full range on the Ayamé website I plan to gradually phase out all other brands from my sock drawer (apart from my bright red Gammarelli clergy pair from Mes Chaussettes Rouges in Paris, which I love to wear with some particular jeans of mine).
I still like the digital-look of Basket Lunch best, but I recently bought some of the flag-print socks, and the Moppy Wool designs, which looks like African wax print textiles but scanned and turned into a monochrome graphic. The Marble Yarn ones will be my next purchase (when I can find them in stock again). They remind me of a 1980s TV test card as much as of Carrara marble.
The brand has also collaborated with Agi & Sam on a set of simple, appealing designs (all available at Harvey Nichols). I’m particularly drawn to the Monbear sock monkey (Y9,180, about £65) they’ve created out of elements of the Basket Lunch design, but it’s an Ayamé website exclusive so it will have to wait.