Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Spotlight on Legwear International

Legwear International is a long-established hosiery manufacturer and retailer in the UK. I recently interviewed Kirsten Taylor, the Product Development and Marketing Manager at Legwear International, and am happy to now publish this feature.

Can you provide Hosiery For Men readers with some background on Legwear International? When did the business start and how has it developed? 

Legwear International Ltd was established 16 years ago by Allan Falconer, an ex Pretty Polly MD, who wanted to set up on his own.

Originally, suppliers to wholesale and housing solely the Silky brand, Legwear International has now expanded to house four brands offering a vast range of hosiery products.

Joanna Gray and Cindy being the value ranges, Silky offers products in the middle banding with sub brands Scarlet, Party Signature, Dance and Ballet, Tattoo and Silky Everyday Basics of affordability and Couture at the top end with sub brands such as Little Ladies, Vixen, Future etc.

We have proudly moved into manufacturing our own products here in the UK just over a year ago. In addition to this, we continue to source goods from China, Italy, Serbia, Turkey and Lithuania.

Are male customers buying tights for themselves is part of your customer base? 

We do have a loyal following of male hosiery wearers and are currently developing and trialling new products with some of these customers in the hope that we can offer a wider range of goods to this genre of people.

We welcome feedback from our consumers and would love to become specialists in this area.

Would you say that that segment of your customer base is growing? 

Yes, definitely.

There are now many brands and styles of tights made for men now. Are you planning to stock any of these? 

No, we only manufacture and stock our own brands.

From the range that you stock, which brands or styles of tights would you particularly recommend for men?
I would particularly recommend the following:

Our Ballet and Dance Shimmer Tights. These offer great leg coverage and a good skin tone colouring. This is the most popular seller with men. They are available in three sizes and two lovely shades: Toast and Light Toast.

Silky Smooth Knit Extra Size Tights. These are available in X-Large and XX-Large sizes and are great value at £1.99 and £2.09 respectively.

Silky Supershine Tights. These are very comfortable and durable tights and are available in X Large.

Silky 40 Denier Soft Opaque Tights. These are great value at just £2.19.

Silky 140 Denier Fleece Tights. These are great for insulation on colder days. A X-Large size is available. These tights are also available in a footless style.

Couture Ultra Sheer Tights. These are very durable sheer tights and the X-Large size is available for £4.49.

Couture Future Ladder Resist Tights. These are a new cutting edge range of hosiery developed using an innovative bonding procedure on the stitch structure of the garment. These tights have incredible strength and durability but still gives the wearer a silky sheer feel with enhanced fit. They would be perfect for men who need harder wearing tights. They are available in four shades and the X-Large size costs just £5.49.

Cindy 70 Denier Opaque Tights. These have a great matt appearance and are available in X-Large.

What kind of service will male customers receive at Legwear International? Do you welcome enquiries and requests for advice? 

We are very open to requests and regularly give advice. We are very consumer focused and pride ourselves in our customer service i.e. being out of stock on lines very seldom and offering a next day delivery service on orders placed before 12am within the UK.

There has been a huge amount of media coverage of 'mantyhose' (tights for men) in recent months. What are your thoughts about the greater visibility of men buying and wearing tights these days? 
This an area that I have very little knowledge about but am hoping to learn more through improved contact with this type of customer.

Essentially mantyhose have very few, if any, differences from female hosiery and I would be interested in whether packaging these products in specialised packaging is a positive or negative move? Would this make consumers more or less comfortable when purchasing these products? 

That's an interesting question. For some men I feel that might be a positive move, if the tights were packaged more neutrally or as 'unisex'. However, I feel that any style packaged like this needs to be carefully designed to make sure that the fit would be suitable for both men or women. That means attention to the range of sizes, including sizes that extend to at least 6'0". Perhaps Legwear International could develop an opaque tight aimed at men for next autumn/winter season as see how that goes?

To men thinking about trying tights, what would you say are the main benefits of wearing them?
There are three particular benefits that I would mention.

Firstly, comfort and warmth: there are practical reasons for men to wear tights and many do in the winter months for warmth under their suits etc.

Secondly, there are health reasons for improving circulatory problems etc. We have a range of flight socks and Sheer Relief products under our Couture Brand that are excellent for this. Manufactured in Italy they are possibly some of the most accomplished products in existence in this genre.

Lastly, fashion: with the skinny jeans trend growing and developing, I think we could see men moving more openly into wearing hosiery.

Thank you very much Kirsten for speaking to Hosiery To Men, and for providing such detailed information about a wide range of products. I hope this feature increases interest in what Legwear International has to offer.

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