By Tessa Climer, Social Media Manager
To Miles Davis, dean of the Harry F. Byrd School of Business, branding and nonconformity are more than classroom topics. As students began to notice his brightly designed socks, an opportunity arose.
“It’s a way to express brand, it’s what we do here at the Byrd School of Business,” Davis said.
The students began to challenge Davis with who had the better socks creating the famous Sock Challenge. As these challenges began to spread from the SU campus to our local community to even across the country at conferences, the Dean is making sure each victory ends in the same place: Froggy’s Closet. Froggy’s Closet is a nonprofit organization created to help insure children in foster care have the clothing they need.
“I’ve learned to step up my game and be ready at all times now,” he said after explaining a few of his favorite socks that have won the sock challenges, which included: bicycles, batman, and beautifully-stitched butterflies.
“I like socks that in a subtle way, pull an outfit together. There’s a piece in there so that when you see it, you’re like ‘Oh…I like what you did there,’” he said.
Davis brought up a more serious topic that blossomed from the discussion of expressing himself through socks.
“To realize that you don’t have to conform, it takes a high degree of confidence in order to move past conformity…when you’re able to wear brightly colored socks, or express yourself with blue hair or whatever it is, it’s a desire to state that I am me and that I should be accepted on my terms and not just the standards that are there,” he said.
As Davis’s socks continue to break the boundaries of fashion in business, it also opens the doors to acceptance. Something as simple as socks can lead into a much bigger idea for change.
“The reality of it is…there is nothing wrong with men in color, being able to express yourself, and not be daring. Maybe if we were more in contact with who we are and were willing to wear socks, we would be less inclined to label someone for what they wear, and yes, I am sending a subtle message without being direct,” said Davis, “As we become comfortable enough to wear wild and crazy socks, maybe we can accept people who do other things differently…”