White slip-on shoes are becoming a hot commodity thanks to the wildly popular South Korean survival drama "Squid Game", with sneaker maker VF Corp reporting a small increase in demand for its Vans brand.
The series, which became a global sensation and the No.1 program on Netflix, shows hundreds of cash-strapped players competing in hyperviolent games, sporting shoes resembling Vans' all-white slip-ons.
"We saw a nice spike -- well, I'd call it a small spike, but I'll promise this is not a damned annual event," VF Chief Financial Officer Matt Puckett said on Friday, adding the apparel maker would use this moment to build on Vans' connection to pop culture.
VF Corp missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Friday due to global supply chain disruptions and production shortfalls in Vietnam.
The "Made in Korea" green tracksuits and pink boiler suits worn by characters in the show have proven a pre-Halloween bright spot for the South Korean garment industry struggling during the health crisis.
A 500-square-metre (598-square-yard) garment factory in the Seongbuk district of the capital Seoul was humming this week, green and pink thread flying off stacked spools off serger machines with loud knocking noises in a race to meet orders.
"October is usually a slow month for the sewing industry, but thanks to Squid Game and Halloween, we are scrambling to stitch," factory owner Kim jin-ja, 54, told Reuters. "We are now sewing 6,000 teal-green tracksuits for toddlers and children."
Kim says her annual sales of 1.5 billion won (Sh140 million) plummeted to a third of what she used to make after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Most of her orders came from Japan but travel restrictions forced her to shut down in August and September.