Tag Archives: AL

Made in the USA – Zkano Organic Socks





This is Fort Payne, Alabama’s  W.B. Davis Hosiery Mill, established in 1907, and the beginning of what became the Sock Capital of the World.  This was also where entrepreneur Gina Locklear’s grandmother knit socks.  That’s important, because Gina is now in the sock business herself, her operation Zkano, and that of her parents, Emi-G Knitting,   having weathered the storm of plant closings in the Fort Payne area caused by the importation of cheap socks from China.

At one time, Fort Payne made half of the socks produced in the USA.  Today, the industry is all but gone.  Gina’s parents Terry and Regina had established Emi-G Knitting in 1990, and two years ago, Gina found herself wanting to do something to incorporate her love of green living into the family business.  After spotting organic cotton socks while standing in line at the grocery store, she knew she had found what she had been seeking.

She named her venture Zkano, based on a Native American word that means “state of being good.”  Today Emi-G makes 8 styles of Zkano organic socks in white and natural.  Here’s a look inside the factory:

Emi-G Knitting Mill

Gina Locklear in the factory

Rows of knitting machines with spools of yarn ready to be made into socks.

Threading the knitting machine

Seaming up the toes

Plant manager Vance working on a new kid’s line

The finished product


Several weeks ago I stumbled across Zkano’s website, and ordered a few pairs.  I’ve never liked the feel of synthetics on my feet, and thought I might like these even better than regular cotton socks.  I’ve got to say they really are the softest, best feeling socks in my drawer.  I highly recommend them.  If you live in Alabama, you can buy them at Whole Foods.  They are working on getting the socks into all Whole Foods Markets in the Southeast, so that will be nice.  In the meantime, you can order from their website, and for now, shipping is free.

This is a bit of a win-win situation.  You get a finely made organic sock, and at the same time know you are making a small green step while helping out a fledgling American company and helping to preserve a town’s traditional industry.

All the above images are copyright and courtesy of Gina Locklear.

Here are some of the socks I bought:


Comments:

Posted by becca:

When I saw your title, I knew you MUST be talking about Ft. Payne! James and I spent our anniversary there and in Mentone and Chattanooga one year. There’s an antique mall in the old factory.

Sunday, October 10th 2010 @ 1:21 PM

Posted by Catwalk Creative Vintage:

Wow! A thoroughly enjoyable read as usual. 🙂

Tuesday, October 12th 2010 @ 2:37 AM

Posted by Lynne:

After reading this intriguing post, I immediately went to Zkano’s site and ordered some of their socks. They just arrived a few minutes ago, after which I threw off my shoes and put on a pair of the socks. I believe my toes are actually twinkling now…the socks are so soft and so comfy. Thanks for directing me to them.

Wednesday, October 20th 2010 @ 10:22 AM

3 Comments

Filed under Made in the USA, Textiles

Roadtrip: Chattanooga, TN

I just returned home from a little trip I took with my sister.  We went to Chattanooga, TN, and then ended up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama.  This was a general all-purpose vintage shopping trip, but we managed to throw in a bit of scenic splendor.  This is a view of “Lover’s Leap” at Rock City.  Rock City is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the country, opening in 1932.  It has a very interesting history that you might want to read about on their website.

We didn’t go in, because we had too many other things to do, but we did take the ride up Lookout Mountain for old time’s sake.  Our parents had taken us there around 1966 or 67.  My sister was pretty young, so she only remembers a little about the trip, but I was 11 or 12, and to me it is one of the highlights of my childhood.

The birdhouse symbolizes the 100s of barn roofs around the South and MidWest that were painted to advertise Rock City.  Some of them still exist.  And below is the original ticket house, constructed in 1930,  And yes, that is a rare sighting of me!

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is an outfit in Alabama that buys all the lost bags and their contents from the airlines after 6 months goes by and the owners cannot be located.  It was pretty amazing some of the stuff they had for sale.  There was everything from a 2008 Dior gown (Originally $5670, they had it for $250!) to bottles of partially used shampoo.  I actually found a pair of great Kedettes, circa 1966.  They looked to be practically unworn.

If this had been our only hope at shopping, I’d have been pretty disappointed.  I spent a grand total of $10.71 there.  But the town also had quite a few nice antique stores and we managed to pick up the slack!  And we stopped at every antique and shop we could on the way home.  My favorite place?  Sweetwater, Tennessee.

I’d been to Sweetwater before, so I knew how great it is.  There are three antique malls, and several more smaller stores.  Here is a shot of one:

And on the top floor of that building is this wonderful room:

I could just picture that fab space converted into a modern home.  Loft living in the little town!  And in closing, I did manage to make a new friend…

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Filed under Road Trip, Shopping