Saturday, 5 May 2012

Spotlight on Emilio Cavallini

There has been a huge amount of press coverage in the UK and internationally in recent months about 'mantyhose', a media-created term for men's tights.

A great deal of the media coverage, which in general has been positive, has been focused on the range of unisex tights developed by the Italian hosiery manufacturer Emilio Cavallini.

Hosiery For Men is pleased to publish an interview with Francesco Cavallini, the vice-president of the Florence-based company.

When was Emilio Cavellini founded? Can you provide Hosiery For Men readers with some background information?
It started when Emilio Cavallini visited London in the 1960s and met Mary Quant. He became passionate about tights and wanted to dress women's legs.

In the 1970s Emilio opened the Stilnovo stocking company in San Miniato, near Florence, where he produced hosiery for some of the biggest names: Mary Quant, Dior and Celine, and later adding Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Gucci. He also collaborated with major hosiery brands such as Pretty Polly and Elbeo.

In 1980 Emilio started his own Emilio Cavallini brand. It was an immediate success. Emilio has made Stilnovo into one of the most competitive hosiery companies in its field. The Cavallini style has become known as innovative and ahead of fashion trends.

Why did the you decide to move into making mantyhose-unisex tights?

When we started our online shop in 2009 we noticed that a lot of tights sized medium-large were being purchased by men. So I did a search on the internet and discovered there is a cult following for mantyhose. Many men in Europe wear tights for warmth under pants during cold weather months and also at home to lounge around in. Some men also wear tights with shorts.

Men’s tights, or ‘unisex’ tights, have since become an important niche business for us.

We recently decided to cater to our male customers by creating a range of unisex tights that allow for greater 'breathability', which is important since men perspire much more than women do.

The unisex tights collection was first introduced in 2009, made from a knitted blend of cotton and nylon that has more 'breathability'.

200 denier unisex cotton tights

How successful have the unisex tights been? Which of the styles in the mantyhose-unisex range have been selling particularly well?
Purchases by men now make up 2 to 3 percent of the company’s annual production of one million tights. That is up to 30,000 pairs of tights being purchased by men every year.

In the current unisex range, the tights with the side stripes are the best sellers, followed by the tights with the skulls design.

80 denier tights with white or grey side band

70 denier skulls tights

What developments can we expect in the future? Are you planning to develop and market any new styles of tights specifically for men, or are you planning to stay with a unisex range of products?
We are currently creating a new line that will be called Emilio Cavallini Cult for women and men.

It will feature all the historical patterns from the 80's designed by Emilio and will be presented in a special box. This line will be available shortly.

Do you feel that tights for men are a growing trend? What are the prospects of men's tights becoming more acceptable as a mainstream item of clothing?

Nowadays everybody is talking about mantyhose, but the quantities sold are still relatively small. Our idea is not to make a line just for men, but a unisex tight, because in many cases men and women can wear same item without any problems.

American model Tyson Beckford wearing Emilio Cavallini tights

Francesco, thanks for talking to Hosiery For Men. I hope readers will take a look at the unisex range in your online shop. We hope you can keep us informed about the new range and any further unisex tights you develop.

1 comment:

  1. It is fantastic that they are doing unisex tights... The problem is i find them far far too loud for me..... Some nude sheers would be helpful for the warmer weather...