Sancho's Dirty Laundry

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11 August 2015 by Sancho Murphy

Social Media and the Internet has given brands some essential tools at which to connect with, inspire, and delight the masses. Here at Sancho's Dirty Laundry, it played a big part in how we sourced our products and marketed ourselves in the early pop-up / market days - before we had a temporary brick and mortar shopfront home to call our own.

In what can seem like an endless scroll on the feed, o
ne of the brands that caught our eye is independent Melbourne based label - Unempire. When we saw these socks about 2 years ago, we were late on rent for that month - we was like, 'Shit Yeah! We need this product in Canberra, we NEED this on our shelves, for the love of foot!" and used what money we had left in our budget to do our first order #noragrets.

We took some time out to talk to Queenie B - Zoë Lea, the Unempress of Unempire.

What / Who is Unempire?
Unempire is me (Zoë Lea) and it’s my offspring.

When did you come up with the idea for Unempire? What was the inspiration? 
I’d been working as a designer in the ‘fashion’ industry for almost 10 years and was starting to become real jaded and wanted out. At the same time it was the only industry I knew, so decided instead of running away, to stay put and start something of my own - and run it my way - which is basically just be nice and don’t shit on people. Treat other businesses and customers the way you wanna be treated. KARMA.

It seems to me that Unempire is more than just a sock brand, what would you say it represents?
It started with socks - it was an everyday, unisex item that I could really go to town on artwork wise. But the plan was always to expand. There’s no method to anything I do - except I make stuff that I personally like. Unempire is and always will be whatever I’m into at the time.

These socks are cray – in a good way, can you describe the creative process behind designing each foot glove?
I have insomnia and I lurk on the internet when I’m in that Fight Club state of awake-but-not, the results of which are weird notes I leave myself about ideas…If I can decipher them when I’m actually awake they lead to becoming Unempire things.

You’ve done some collaborations in the past, could you touch base on a couple of those, why collaborate? And are there any collabs coming out in future we should all look out for? Or is it all hush-hush, come on, spill one bean from the can!
Collaborations are rad because you get to create something bigger than yourself. Either collaborating with an artist who has different skills and aesthetics to you (my boy MIO), or a brand that makes items that you don’t & vice versa - that together you get to make a whole collection…. New collabs are mos deffffff happening. I can’t say anything jusssst yet tho. Snitches get stitches and what not.

It seems there are independent labels popping up everyday on the Book-Face / Instagram, how do you do such a good hu$tle to separate yourself from the rest of the brands?
Ummmm I dunno. I know Unempire certainly can’t be 100% unique, not when we’re all feeding off the same conscious and subconscious triggers of the internet and lyf. I just make stuff that I personally like / want / will wear, and post shit on social media that appeals to me / i find hilarious…and if it doesn’t sell or get likes, I just really give zero fucks, because I know I’m staying true to myself (and not shitting on / biting anyone else to leverage myself)

What does the future hold for Unempire? What should your followers expect to see in 2016?
More errrthang. Ima start doing more clothing. And more accessories. Short run limited edition mini-ranges. Annnnd non gender specific. I want Unempire to always be as unisex as poss.

I like to finish all interviews with a novelty question, just for lols. Would you rather be at the front or the back of the human centipede?
Dayyyyyum gurl. After talking repeatedly about NOT shitting on people…I’m gonna have to awkwardly renege for this one exception. I’d “rather” eat food. Instead of eat shit. 2 people’s shit. fuq. Zoë OUT. *MIC DROP*

And there you have it, The Unempress dropping them truth bombs! You can purchase Unempire Socks from the Sancho's Dirty Laundry web-store.

Click here for UNEMPIRE's Facebook // Instagram