Founder and creative director of TaleSocks Ahmad Afiz Danial on how the brand is expanding its footprint

He shares some exciting growth plans as well as the Malaysian cities and towns that inspire him.

The idea for TaleSocks started in Ahmad's university days in Manchester, the UK (All photos: TaleSocks)

Options: We hear TaleSocks is expanding its footprint. Congratulations!
Ahmad Afiz Danial: We are thrilled to announce our upcoming expansion into airport duty-free shopping. Renowned for our distinctively Malaysian designs, featuring intricate batik patterns and captivating Malaysian art, TaleSocks have become a sought-after souvenir for tourists and expats alike. This played a key part in our decision to establish a presence in airports nationwide. Our many loyal customers have also recognised how our unique socks make versatile and cherished gifts, ideal for those who want to share a piece of Malaysia with loved ones abroad. Our vision isn’t stopping there, though. We also plan to include shopping malls and, with our recent foray into Singapore, we are also eager to broaden our reach further and showcase Malaysian culture and craftsmanship to the world.

Remind us again how and when you started TaleSocks and how it got its name.
TaleSocks dates back to late 2019 but the idea really started in my university days in Manchester, the UK, in 2015. I had developed a penchant for collecting socks from the places I visited, each reflecting their place of origin. When I started work, I noticed how my eclectic socks often sparked conversations and even became a unique talking point among colleagues and industry peers. It then dawned on me how a humble sock can have a story to tell!

Tell us also about TaleSocks’ distinctively Malaysian personality.
Drawing on my passion for Malaysian art and design, particularly the intricate beauty of batik and the country’s rich heritage, I decided to focus TaleSocks’ aesthetic on these cultural elements. I like to think about how each pair celebrates culture, creativity and a sense of connection.


The socks celebrate local culture and creativity

What are some of the designs you are working on now?
We launched our monochrome colour batik socks just before Raya, to overwhelmingly positive response. Building on this success, we are excited to introduce a wider range of colours and variants based on this design as well as some exciting collaborations with local artists. We are broadening our offerings to expand from men’s dress socks to include casual, sports and women’s socks. We also welcome corporate partnerships. So if your company is interested in uniquely Malaysian gifting or branding initiatives, we would be delighted to work with you! All we want is to ensure that everyone can find a pair of TaleSocks that speaks to them.

We know it is hard to pick just one but do you have a favourite pair of all time?
It would be the Lereng Timur as it was among the first batik designs I created. Seeing them come to life exactly as I had envisioned was incredibly gratifying.

How do you feel when you spot your socks being worn by members of the public?
Surreal and heartwarming! There is also a sense of pride and fulfilment knowing that something I have created has made its way into someone else’s wardrobe and is being proudly showcased to the world. It is also a humbling reminder of the impact that even the smallest of creations can have on others. Seeing my socks out “in the wild” reaffirms my passion for creativity and fuels my drive to continue designing pieces that bring joy and connection to people’s lives.

What are you reading right now?
Right now, I am immersed in Kobe Bryant’s biography The Mamba Mentality. Although his story has to do with his relentless dedication to basketball excellence, I, as an entrepreneur, find myself constantly striving to elevate my business to new heights. Whether it is perfecting our designs, refining our business strategy or fostering creativity within our team, Kobe’s mindset inspires me to push boundaries and pursue excellence in every aspect of our journey.


What are you listening to right now?
Currently, I am jamming out to J Cole’s latest album Might Delete Later, particularly to the track Ready ’24, which sets the perfect mood for any day.

Do any cities and towns inspire your creative side?
Definitely my hometown of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, which has provided me with the roots and cultural heritage upon which to ground my work. My formative years, however, were spent in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, so its quaint charm and rich history have also left an indelible impression on me, shaping my artistic sensibilities and fostering a deep appreciation for tradition and craftsmanship. And of course, I must include Kuala Lumpur, the vibrant capital city of Malaysia, for its dynamic energy, diverse cultural tapestry and thriving
arts scene.

What is your travel schedule looking like for the rest of 2024?
I will be travelling extensively in the second half of the year — to Brunei, Dubai and, if there’s a chance, London as well — to promote TaleSocks and share the beauty of Malaysian art and batik socks with people worldwide.

Describe your idea of a perfect weekend.
It would have to include a mix of relaxation, exploration and quality time with loved ones, ideally starting the day with a leisurely breakfast before embarking on outdoor adventures and then enjoying meaningful conversations over dinner. It’s all about finding balance and cherishing the simple joys of life.   

This article first appeared on Apr 29, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.


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