Andy Warhol was a huge fan of compression socks. In 1975, he wrote about buying eight pairs of his favorite brand SuppHose; he loved the tightness because it let him stuff more money in his boot. It is easy to picture Warhol grabbing the socks–dull, ugly and functional–before zipping off to a completely opposite (read: glamorous) task. So coming across VIM & VIGR, it’s a shock to see that these colorful, cute socks are actually designed with compression technology. Just like Warhol would buy, just like you hoped to never have to wear, and they look amazing! For both men and women, the legwear company is combining style with true function; people with chronic conditions can get the support they need without being a fashion victim. We chatted with founder Michelle Huie to find out how she did it.
What was the inspiration behind the brand?
Well, I actually have a background in healthcare and biotech, so I was already halfway in the industry. I was in marketing and product development, and then I moved from New York City to Missoula, Montana. I found myself sitting and driving five hours a day and feeling very lethargic. I kept wondering, if I didn’t move all day, why am I so tired? Turns out for optimal circulation, a sedentary office job doesn’t help! Even though I was exercising every day, I was still sitting at a desk for long stretches of time. And even if you’re standing, gravity affects circulation. So my friend, coincidentally a physical therapist, recommended compression socks. The drawback was that I found most of them too medical looking–weird colors and some were just too athletic. So I came up with some fun styles and just took it from there. Now we have a full range, the entire team here wears them every day, and they make you just feel better and they look really good too.
Tell me about the science behind the socks. What is mmHg?
Compression is measured in mmHg, which is millimeters per Mercury, same as blood pressure. We use a special medical knitting machine in order to create graduated compression legwear, and we have two choices: 15–20 mmHg, which is perfect for everyday wear, and 20–30 mmHg for people who need more. So, the way they are produced, we have 20 mmHg at the ankle and then it graduates to 15 on the leg and so forth. You want higher compression at the ankle to push the circulation up. Plus, to back it up, we’re FDA approved and ISO (European) certified.
So who are these socks and tights made for?
Everybody! We have partnered with the American Diabetes Association, and our socks work great for diabetics. However, everyone can use compression socks. We have testimonials from nurses, gynecologists and vascular surgeons; anyone who wants to reduce leg achiness and feel less tired every day but also wants a stylish sock or tight. They also work great on planes, they reduce lower leg fatigue and help with varicose veins and are a godsend for pregnant women. Plus, we design great seasonal patterns and colors, we’re constantly looking at the runway and major high fashion houses and using our own style instincts to create fabulous legwear. They should and can be pretty much be worn by everybody.
Available at vimvigr.com.