I’d bet good money that if you see a pair of khakis in an office, it will have the Dockers logo on it. Dockers has been successful in capturing the American business casual pants market, and they have used that success to expand their brand to other areas of clothing, like socks.
Dockers is a relatively young brand. Launched in 1986 by its parent company, Levi-Strauss & Co., it initially only sold men’s clothing. Within a year, it had expanded to also sell women’s clothing. In fact, Dockers’ khakis really helped Levi-Strauss’ financials in the late 1990’s. Levis tried to sell off Dockers for what was expected to be close to $1 billion in 2004 when they were having financial difficulties, but not buyer was found.
Dockers and Levis are known for making pants not socks, so like many other big companies, they license out the right to use the Dockers logos on non-pants items. In this case, Royce Too LLC is a company that licenses the Dockers brand to make and sell socks.
Royce Too is a small company that recently moved their headquarter from inside the Empire State Building in New York City to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Many large clothing companies like Hanes and Gildan have laid-off workers in the Winston-Salem area, so Royce moved in to capture this talent. They were bought by the Japanese sock manufacturer Okamoto Group in 2008, giving the large Japanese firm a US presence. The group employs around 1,500 people worldwide and makes socks under license from companies like Nike, Mizuno, Dickies, Nautica, and Dockers.
American Alternative Review:
It’s amazing how complicated the history of a sock can be. The century-old Levi-Strauss company created the Dockers brand and eventually licenses it to Royce, a small US manufacturer. Royce is then bought out by a large Japanese company and ends up making socks all over the world to be sold in America.
Levi’s customer service representative was not able to confirm where Docker’s socks are made or where the materials or sourced. Looking through the catalog of Dockers socks, it seems like the vast majority of socks are made in China, with some socks being made in Pakistan or Korea. We expect most brand name licensed socks are similar – a small company licenses the logo and imports the socks from abroad.
With the licenser owned by a foreign company and almost all manufacturing done overseas, at least Dockers gets some points for being parts of Levis, an American company with a lot of history.
*While Dockers may have multiple licensers for socks, we were only able to find Royce Too LLC, so scoring is based off this company.