Lancaster’s teen fashion trend, the accent sock, is traveling beyond just Western New York.
Since it started in fall 2015, this fashion statement has gathered a steadily growing cult following. The official accent sock Twitter account (@accent_sock) is just over a month old, and already has more than 175 followers and a passionate fan base among Western New York’s teens.
The concept of the accent sock is simple: Wear one plain sock, preferably a neutral color such as black or white, with one patterned one. The theory is that the plain sock makes the interesting one pop more.
“I originally created the trend as a part of my campaign to win ‘best dressed’ for my senior class,” says the originator of the accent sock concept, Walter “Cal” Hoag, a senior at Lancaster Central High School. “It worked too; I did win best dressed. Now I want to see just how far this incredible trend of mine can go.”
Senior Anna Donnelly has been an accent sock enthusiast since its inception.
“The accent sock makes one truly unique,” Anna says.”No matter how many people participate in this trend, you never have the same look as anyone else.”
However, others have less favorable views on the accent sock, such as Lancaster senior Jenna Schlager.
“I think that this trend is plaguing the high school,” she says. “It’s a dumb trend. I consider the creator a close personal friend, but not even our close relationship will make me support this madness. I can’t go on Twitter without seeing the nonsense.
“I think that I have a safe haven from it at home, but my sister asked me if I heard about it,” she continues. “I will admit I used to be a supporter, but it has gone too far.”
Despite dissenting views on the accent sock, the trend is gaining momentum. The fashion statement was featured on the Fredonia College Radio’s Morning Inferno and in the Lancaster Sun, and one only has to look around Lancaster to see its impact.
The movement doesn’t end in the halls of Lancaster High School, either.
“The trend caught like wildfire and now the accent sock is being represented in at least five different states that I know of, as well as Canada,” Cal says. “After being spread by my friends at a leadership conference, I contacted friends in my former hometown in Ohio. Through my friends in Ohio, the trend spread throughout their school and others in the area. They talked to their friends, and soon the trend caught on. Word-of-mouth took this thing pretty far.”
The conference Cal referred to was the Lead conference – a gathering of young leaders that took place in January in Washington, D.C.
“It was a great conversation piece,” says junior Connor Carrow, who helped spread the trend at the conference.
“That’s the beauty of the accent sock – it’s a way to start talking with someone,” he says.
Connor isn’t the only one passionate about the accent sock. One thing can be said about the fad; it’s a polarizing topic. Since the creation of the official Twitter account, several accounts have been created regarding the movement, both supporting and satirizing it.
“The AccentNot account supports the correct and accepted opinion on how socks should be worn,” says Jacob Noawark, who created @AccentNot, one of the more significant parody accounts. “Your socks can be crazy, and have anything from bacon to superheroes on them – but ultimately, they come in pairs for a reason.”
Several fan accounts, such as the one maintained by Junior Patrick Uhteg, Jr., have sprung up in response to this and similar parody accounts.
“The name of my account is the @AccentSockFanatic, and I created it mainly to generate even more hype for the accent sock,” Patrick says. “I use it to showcase my own accent sock, as well as the accent socks of fanatics like myself.”
So whether teens support the accent sock or despise it, there are people on both sides of the aisle ready to welcome them.
And regardless of people’s opinions, the end of the accent sock is nowhere in sight.
“This is just the beginning,” says Cal. “Trends like this tend to gain momentum until they’re massive. You’re going to want to hop on board with this trend now before it really takes off so that you can say ‘Yeah, I was there when it all started.’ ”
Gabriella Folsom is a senior at Lancaster High School.