If the name Hansel from Basel smacks of a European children's fairytale, that's not totally off the mark. As Hannah Byun, founder of the sock and tights line in question, tells it, she’s been enchanted by Switzerland for ages (hence the Basel), and as for Hansel? "A childhood alter-ego."
The name isn’t the only aspect of her company with a trail of breadcrumbs leading to her formative years. When Hannah was growing up, her dad was a manufacturer of footwear, including, of course, socks. After getting a degree in art and art history from UCLA, Hannah decided to add her own spin to the family biz. “I was dreaming colorful legwear with quirky prints and embellishments—the kind of things you could plan an outfit around,” she says. So in 2007, she launched a flair-filled collection of cozy cotton and wool tights and crews with balloon prints, mismatched abstract stripes, and tiny-critter patterns. Basically: the sorts you’ll find you way back to, over and over again. —neha kulsh