Playful Socks X Henry Steiner

Playful Socks X Henry Steiner

About our Collaboration 


Playful Socks is proud to be collaborating with Henry Steiner, a cross-cultural graphic designer who has contributed to Hong Kong's visual culture since 1961. These HS special edition socks are inspired by Henry's work over the last 60 years and are a celebration of his passion and dedication to his craft, and an enduring design legacy. Playful, witty, iconic.

Let us go through the behind story for each socks in this collaboration!


TYPE Socks 

The original TYPE poster was designed in 1991 for the Japanese typesetting company Morisawa. The concept behind it was to blend different cultural elements into a cohesive word. The Chinese characters "" and "" represent the English letters "T" and "E", while the Greek letters "Upsilon" and "Rho" stand for "Y" and "P". All these diverse characters are harmoniously integrated with a Japanese logotype cover of the magazine “Katakana”. This TYPE socks design successfully captures this bold fusion of cultures, which is my favourite choice.  


HOPE Socks 

HOPE was originally created for the cover of Asia Magazine in 1961. It highlights the Chinese characters "希望" (meaning "hope") and uses a vibrant red color to convey a sense of optimism and aspiration. 


COLOR Socks 

The COLOR socks design beautifully demonstrates the idea that "color is the universal language." By pairing Chinese characters with their corresponding color representations, this concept is made accessible even to those unfamiliar with the script. The playful use of contrasting white and black backgrounds on the socks adds an engaging touch. 


New/Old Socks 

The New Old socks presents a playful experiment in exploring the contrast between the "new" and the "old." It cleverly splits the Chinese character "" (meaning "new") in half, with one side rendered in a modern typographic style and the other half depicted in traditional Chinese calligraphy as the character "" (meaning "old"). This visual juxtaposition creates an intriguing narrative about the coexistence of the contemporary and the vintage. 



These socks feature a blend of Western and Eastern facial features, combining a white face with blue eyes and a yellow face with black eyes. 


Apple / Pearl Socks 

For an HSBC annual report cover, the apple and pearl was designed to put together a direct comparison between western and chinese culture. These socks draw a direct comparison between two iconic financial centers - the "big apple" of New York and the "Pearl of the Orient" of Hong Kong. The socks playfully present one side with an apple and the other with a pearl, allowing the wearer to visually showcase this cultural contrast. 


Ban the Tie 

This design was created to challenge the common dress code requirement for men to wear ties when attending the opera or a concert. Especially in Asia, where air conditioning was not as prevalent in the past, wearing a tie can be unbearably hot and uncomfortable. By placing a banned symbol on the tie of a Japanese opera performer, this design aims to call out and question this restrictive attire convention. The message behind it is to advocate for more comfort and flexibility in formal event attire, particularly in warmer climates. 

HS Opera Mask

This design was inspired by the Henry self-portrait when he sits suited up in a chair with a Peking opera "Hualian" (painted face). This socks captures Henry's expression to his path as a cross-cultural designer.  


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