What I Know About Style

Vahan Hovhannisyan

June
13

Founder of Look Mate London Vahan Hovhannisyan shares his thoughts on luxury socks by post, the importance of quality design, and collaborating with astronauts and robots

What’s the collaboration process for Look Mate?

Look Mate is all about our designers and their stories—our job is to bring them to our design-savvy community to enjoy. We have a list of aspiring designers who inspired us along the way. Some of them are really hard to get on board and it takes time.

Recently, we’ve been receiving a number of offers from the design community and we say yes when we see similar values. We only focus on one collaboration per month so we can give our full attention to our designers, who have complete control of their ideas.

Do you have a favourite sock within the Look Mate collection?

That would be our first collaboration, with industrial designer Nick Rawcliffe. It was the longest and most challenging so far. Think of it as a “how to make a sock” crash course, as my background is finance. I believe it is our most iconic sock, designed with an urban Londoner in mind.

I love your monthly sock subscription. Where did this idea come from?

London is an extremely demanding, fast-paced city. We want the little things taken care of as simply as possible so we can focus on the big things—that’s where the subscription comes in.

We have also noticed that our subscribers like to redirect their socks and send them to friends as a present from time to time.

As an entrepreneur and graduate from the London School of Business, what advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Don’t spend a lot of time on the business plan. Look Mate’s business plan is a one-page mind map that everyone involved easily understands. An outstanding product will get you a start, and a good story will get you going. The rest will take care of itself to begin with.

Are there any types of creative you would love to collaborate with in the future?

  • Someone who has been in space, a NASA astronaut. Tim Peake ideally!
  • A creative robot that can make patterns using data and a specific algorithm.
  • A Michelin-starred chef who can give us a recipe-inspired design.

How would you describe your personal style?

Simple with attention to small details. My daily go-to outfit is a white Oxford shirt, dark blue denim jeans and trainers. This look is also comfortable for navigating around town on a bike.

Other than luxury socks, what are you passionate about?

I believe design is a need and anything involving designing and creating something excites me. I also love running through the streets of London and meeting friends for a meal.

Who are your go-to brands for beautifully made socks, other than Look Mate?

Falke, founded in 1895 by Franz-Peter Falke, for its years of tradition and quality. Chup for Japanese craftsmanship and patterns inspired by different cultures around the world.

Look Mate was founded in 2015. Where do you see the company in 2025?

I believe in the “one brand, one product” philosophy. If by 2025 humans still need socks, then our vision is to be one of the best brands out there.

Any great west London hangouts for a bite to eat or drink with friends?

The Rabbit on King’s Road.

Do you have a favourite building or view in London?

The new Tate Modern designed by Herzog and de Meuron is a recent favourite. It has an amazing 360-degree view of London.

Any mottos for business or in life?

Business: Get comfortable with uncomfortable.
Life: Find out what makes you happy and do more of it.

Look Mate London

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