Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Exclusive! Interview with Selim de Somavilla

I have been quite interested, and also surprised, to learn that there are a considerable number of contemporary fashion designers who are incorporating tights into menswear fashion.

You can see an impressive collection of examples on the Men Wearing Tights With Shorts Tumblr page that collates images from designer fashion shows.

One of the designers featured is Selim De Somavilla who has incorporated tights into several of his collections.

I recently interviewed Selim for Hosiery For Men and I am sure readers will be really interested in this exclusive post.

Can you provide Hosiery for Men readers with some background information about yourself, and your career as a designer? 
I was born in Barcelona and I am based there. In 2005 I graduated here but I also studied in London at the London College of Fashion.

My first major collection was called MAELSTRØM and was shown in February at the last Fall-Winter 2012/13 edition of Valencia Fashion Week and later in Move Sevilla in Seville.

KNOCKOUT is my latest and current collection and was shown in September 2012 in Deebee Lab, an art gallery in Barcelona. Inspired by boxers in the 30s, the collection brings a fresh summer breeze with bold colors like green or fuchsia contrasted with metallic copper or bright black.

What was the inspiration behind the Autumn/Winter 2012/13 MAELSTRØM collection? 
It’s a collection full of contrasts: a mixture of cold and fire. Men come in from the cold to dress up with certain delicacy. Red, orange, gold …mixed with gray and black. Printed silks, cool wool and angora are some of the fabrics I used. Maelstrøm is a solitary cottage surrounded by woods on a quiet and dark glimpsed by red dawn sun.

In the MAELSTRØM collection you style shorts with opaque tights in various shades. You also included tights as part of the outfits in your Spring/Summer 2009 MOORLAND collection. Are tights central to the concept and aesthetic of your collections?
In both of those collections tights were quite important. I think they are an interesting item of clothing for both men and women to wear. They give you an easy chance to change the way an outfit looks.

In recent years a number of menswear designers have created collections that have featured tights, including Givenchy, Prada and agnès b. Were you influenced by their work, or were you inspired from elsewhere to include tights in your latest collection?
I admit that Givenchy is an important inspiration for me. Anyway it was more about creating a unisex garment that everyone could wear. It’s amazing how many possibilities you have for using different tights just with the various prints or fabrics you use.

Did you use any particular hosiery brands for the latest collection? 
Not any particular brand. Some of them are from vintage markets, others from traditional hosiery shops.

Has there been a positive reaction to the inclusion of tights in your men's collections? Was this picked up in media coverage? 
It has been a bit difficult. Here in Spain, people generally like the idea of it but they’re not very ready for using them daily.

You state that your clothes have a 'unisex' influence. Can you say more about this? Lots of my garments are unisex, especially shirts, t-shirts, jackets and pants... I like the idea of anyone be able to wear what they like. The man I dress has a bit of a feminine touch and the other way round with the woman.

Tights were, of course, originally won by men. In recent years they are clearly to be coming popular again - for their comfort and practicality, as well as a fashion trend. Do you see this trend continuing and tights for men becoming more mainstream?
I’m hoping so. As I said before here in Spain it’s not strong a trend but… soon!

There has been a huge amount of media coverage of 'mantyhose' (tights and pantyhose for men) in recent months, with some brands, such as Emilio Cavallini, now marketing tights as unisex. Do you have any plans to create a line of men's or unisex tights?
Sounds interesting…You’re giving me new ideas now! Thanks.

Do you think collections such as yours are encouraging men to be more adventurous in how they dress?
I think so. That’s what I’m trying to do. Day after day men are being more open-minded and a little more daring in how they dress. 

You are based in Spain where there are a number of high quality hosiery manufacturers, such as Cecilia de Rafael and Janira. Do you think that these brands might be encouraged to develop a range of tights for men, or do you feel that their current products can be seen as 'unisex' items? 

They should start creating a new trend with products for men at first. Eventually tights will be seen as and will become a unisex garment.

What plans do you have for the future? Are you working on ideas for further collections? 

Just two days ago we had the catwalk show for the latest one. So we can say that it is is fresh out the oven!

KNOCKOUT is the new Spring/Summer 13 collection and was inspired by boxers in the 1930s. It showed showed in an art gallery called Deebee Lab here in Barcelona where the brand is based.

Selim - thank you so much for talking to Hosiery For Men. It's been a pleasure to speak to you and I hope that the readers of this blog will enjoy reading about your work. Do keep us informed about future collections where you might feature men's hosiery.


  1. Excellent interview! Thank you for sharing it.


  2. Very interesting! Great photos!

  3. Congratulations.
    Good Interview.

  4. Love the one with white tights.