Subscriber OnlyFashion

Gordon D’Arcy and Aoife Cogan pair substance and style for new luxury socks venture

Form School business partners make a play for a new market in accessories

When former Ireland rugby player Gordon D’Arcy met Aoife Cogan, one of Ireland’s most successful models, on a fashion shoot in Killiney, it not only began a love affair that led to their marriage in 2012, it also brought them on a journey in their professional lives.

Ten years ago, they became business partners in Form School, a Reformer Pilates boutique studio on Dublin’s Grattan Street. “We both had short shelf lives [in our professions],” says D’Arcy, explaining the reasons for the venture. “We wanted to make a space that was visually pleasing, warm and welcoming,” adds Cogan.

The business took off almost overnight, and having weathered the challenges of Covid by transferring the operation online while looking after their three small children, they are now launching an associated project, a line of luxury nonslip socks.

“It is a response to customer demand,” says Cogan. “People wanted good grip socks for Pilates. When I started to look into it, I thought the socks should be good enough to wear all day and not just for Pilates, so we started to do research and look for manufacturers. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but eventually we found the right one in Korea.”


The socks, which can be worn on their own for the gym or with trainers for street wear, come in two styles to suit different ankle lengths, called Classic Crew and Shortie, and several colourways. “I wanted a classic style and a big percentage of cotton with a breathable mesh upper, so the socks, which have a silicone base, would feel great on the feet all day,” Cogan says.

Often overlooked, socks are a fun and frivolous way to express personality. Designers like Miuccia Prada have made socks with pumps a signature look and Billie Eilish wore pink ones with her Mary Janes to the Golden Globes in January.

In Paris, a recent exhibition at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs explored the connections between fashion and sport.

When it came to grip socks, Aoife, who oversaw every detail of the knitting and silicone process, wanted to avoid anything “girlie or frilly”. “I am a perfectionist and I wanted something that was my style, quite boyish and classic. We both wanted high quality, well-made socks that could be worn with any outfit all day long,” she says.

Plans are already in progress for further expansion into sports socks for men and kids. For more, see or Form School, 24 Grattan Street, Dublin 2

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author