Every winter in New York City you'll spot lone gloves on the sidewalk or subway platform. That always makes me sad, as I know the person who lost it will undoubtedly throw the other one away. Single gloves aren't much good.
Socks are the same; once you've got a hole in one, the other is rendered useless. But Danish company URU Design has come up with an interesting way to get around this, and it involves selling socks in odd numbers:
Solosocks have been successfully Kickstarted, with USD $19,500 pledged on a $14,637 goal and 35 days left to pledge. A 7-pack runs $38, and URU Design reckons that seven of their socks will last a long as six pairs of regular socks, after you factor in the 2-for-1 waste rate of regular socks.
There's one thing I can't figure out, having no background in textiles. As you can see, the patterns of the sets only sort-of match:
Enter a caption (optional) Enter a caption (optional) Enter a caption (optional)
Why on Earth would they do this? This is probably my industrial designer bias, but I feel that anytime you add differentiation to a line of mass-produced items, you are adding complexity, a greater chance of error and a potential sourcing headache. Would it not be more cost-effective to have all of the socks in a set be identical?
The only possible reason I can think of why they might make each slightly different is that if the socks wear and become faded at different rates, swapping in a replacement would not be as visually obvious, as they already don't quite match. Do you think that's it, or do the textile-savvy among you have a better explanation?