The time of year has come when people begin to dig through their closets for their summer clothes. While the winter only allows for a limited number of outfits, the summer really gives people the chance to experiment with their fashion choices. Some may do this by trying different patterns or colors, but UCLA student Tina Li takes this experimentation to the next level by wearing wacky socks that she designed herself.
Li began designing her socks earlier this year, with each one drawing inspiration from her immediate surroundings, whether that be the school’s dining hall or her dorm room. Consisting of designs such as bananas, eggs or cats, Li’s socks never fail to draw the attention of other students on campus.
Since launching her sock business called “HapiThreads,” Li has received many positive comments of how her creations have helped brighten people’s days. The socks have not only helped bring a smile to someone’s face, but they have also helped start interesting conversations between complete strangers.
Being a business major, it only made sense for Li to launch “HapiThreads” as a way to gain hands-on experience in bringing one of her ideas to life.
Michele Mendez: Can you explain what HapiThreads is and what the name means?
Tina Li: HapiThreads is a small sock brand. I came up with the name because I wanted my brand to bring people happiness and to give off positive vibes when people thought of it.
MM: What made you want to start this project?
TL: Honestly, it was very spontaneous. I really wanted to create something that people would love and enjoy wearing. I settled on socks because they were something small and simple, but something that could do so much. That was exactly what I wanted my brand to represent.
MM: What kind of designs are there and what were they inspired by?
TL: Right now, there are three designs: “The Most APPEALING Socks,” “The Most EGGCELLENT Socks” and “The PURRFECT Pair.” My designs are inspired by things I see in everyday life. I also named the designs after puns to bring a wholesome laugh to my customers.
MM: Which is your favorite design and why?
TL: My favorite design is the banana socks — “The Most APPEALING Socks” — because they were inspired by the funny UCLA one-banana policy at dining halls. The navy blue and yellow design looks sleek and well put together and can make any girl or guy look full of class.
MM: What goal are you trying to accomplish with this project?
TL: I am just trying to have fun and express my creative side. Hopefully, I can create something I am proud of.
MM: You said that you wanted the socks to have bright colors because you associate colors with happiness. Would you say this project reflects your personality?
TL: I know that I typically wear a lot of black, but a bright pair of socks can make my outfit look instantly more youthful and free. Though I consider myself more of an introvert, I hope that I can make a large impact on the people around me. That’s how I want my socks to be. Though they may look small and insignificant, I hope that it can encourage people to be confident and happy.
MM: How does it make you feel to receive such a positive reaction from something that you created?
TL: It’s definitely very rewarding and makes me more inclined to venture on similar projects in the future.
MM: In a previous interview, you said that these socks fit into the “trend-oriented” generation. Can you elaborate on that?
TL: As we see in social media, socks have become a big part of outfits, especially crew socks. Being a college student, I know what my peers like to wear and what styles are “in.” I try to orient my brand by keeping those ideas in mind.
MM: You’re a business student. Why did you pick your major and have your studies helped you at all with this project?
TL: My dad had been a business major and it seemed like something fun and practical. Since I am only a first year, I still haven’t taken classes that have completely exposed me to the major, but I will say it has inspired me to look for the opportunities to start this project.
MM: On the flipside, what experience will you take back with you to the classroom?
TL: If there is something you want to do, just do it!
MM: Will you continue making more socks or possibly working on other projects?
TL: I definitely hope to expand my market and possibly make other items of clothing like hats, headbands and fanny packs.
MM: Where do you see yourself after graduation?
TL: I hope that when I graduate, I will be able to stay in Southern California and work in one of the accounting firms while running my sock brand on the side. I also hope that I will be able to incorporate my passion for food blogging, dancing and singing into my life.
MM: Is there anything else you would like to say about HapiThreads?
TL: Thanks for your interest in my brand and vision! If you are interested, please follow me on Instagram @hapithreads for more updates.
To purchase one of Tina Li’s creations, visit her Etsy page.