Image: Sock It to Me

Portland-based sock company Sock It to Me is known for its radical designs, which include everything from donut spaceships to sloths in hot air balloons. Now, would-be designers have a chance to enter their own ludicrous ideas to the company's Design-a-Sock contest. The 14th annual edition of the contest closes September 30, and a grand winner will take home $2,000 in cash and have their design integrated into a Sock It to Me pair.

This year, the contest's special guest judges include indie dream team Matt and Kim, Miz Cracker of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Portland band the Doubleclicks, local artist Ryan Bubnis, and internet celebrity cat Lil Bub (yes). Bubnis, a multidisciplinary artist who has lived in Portland for the past 18 years, notes the unique challenges innate to sock design.

“It comes down to simplifying,” Bubnis says. “There’s only so much imagery you can put on a sock. I love the challenge of doing artwork that’s not just going to be looked at in a museum, or some sterile environment, where you have to whisper and can’t touch anything.”

Bubnis, who has his own 4-piece capsule collection releasing through Sock It to Me in spring 2019, says he uses his art to explore “memory, nostalgia, good vibes, and the human condition.” When asked if he thinks he can translate these themes into a pair of socks, he expresses hope.

“It might not be something that is super straightforward, with an obvious narrative," he says. "But maybe a feeling, or a color, or a look of a character or icon can affect someone subconsciously.”

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