Style Talk With… Stance’s Design Director Madison Cantrell

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Madison Cantrell started working at Stance in 2015. Now she is the design director behind the popular brand that carries a variety of apparel as well activewear for men and women. “It was really exciting to give (customers) something to cover their toes to their head; we like to say that instead of ‘head to toe’ because we started with socks and moved our way up,” Cantrell says.

How did you first get into design?

It all started when I was in high school. I was very much the person who would make doodles for everyone’s binders. I took my first art class my senior year. My teacher’s husband was in the action sports industry as an art director, and she ended up helping me get an internship at Billabong. I got hired—after being their longest intern—as a women’s textile designer. 

How did you get to Stance?

It’s a small world. A lot of people who worked at Billabong had left to help start Stance. I ended up reaching out to them, and their women’s graphic designer had just put in her notice a couple days before. I had my interview … and got the job. I remember in my interview one of the cofounders said, “We want Stance to be a place where you don’t feel like you have to go home and do creative work for yourself to feel fulfilled. We want you to come to work and have the creative freedom to satisfy that itch.” 

What does your role entail?

I help curate the color palette. I help to determine the design direction for the team, and key prints, colors, and new silhouettes for the apparel line. I’m also still designing all women’s products, and then I’ll help with additional collaborations within our sock line. 

What inspires you for new designs?

Anything. Whatever we can get our eyes or hands on. I’m always looking at textile design, old and new—we love vintage. Every season, we’ll go to vintage warehouses and dumpster dive, which is super fun. We’ve gone on trips before and (have taken) pictures of the concrete ground beneath us like, “Wow, this is such a great texture; let’s use this.” 

Founded in 2009, Stance became popular for its socks and has since expanded to include apparel. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What makes Stance different?

I think that we always bring a super fun, fresh take on print and color. Right now, we’re working on incorporating silver ion antimicrobial wash into our active apparel, so on top of the great fabric that we’ve already been designing with, we are looking forward to having additional benefits. 

Is there a correct way to wear the socks in terms of logos?

It’s people’s first question: “Do the logos go on the inside or outside (of your ankle)?” It really depends on the sock. We have some where they’re designed to be worn on the outside, which are our hike and snow socks. Everything else is meant to be worn on the inside of the ankles. 

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