Monday, 4 November 2013

Spotlight on Compression à la Mode

Compression à la Mode was launched in 2013 with the aim of offering stylish and comfortable alternatives to the compression hosiery currently available on the European market.

Hosiery For Men recently interviewed Compression à la Mode owner Emma Cahill, and we are pleased to now publish this feature.

Can you provide Hosiery For Men readers with some background to Compression à la Mode? When did you start the business and how has it developed? 

CalM was founded earlier this year (2013) after I realised that I couldn’t be the only person in Europe struggling to find attractive compression options. It started with one brand, (RejuvaHealth from the US) and nine products and now stocks several more brands from all over the world and has over a hundred products online and counting.

When you started Compression à la Mode did you plan at the outset to stock products for men as well as women? 

The idea for CalM came from my (I’m female) struggle to find attractive and comfortable compression options but as soon as I started to talk about it I realized that there were definitely more of us out there. My grandfather for example had been prescribed flight socks to wear to combat his edema. After noticing him struggling with it and constantly elevating his legs, I suggested he actually wear the socks he turned into a sulky child. He pulled the out and they were nude and lacy and very difficult to put on and he said he’d been getting teased about them by his friends. Straight away I broadened my search for compression options to incorporate every style I could think of.

You are selling the Solidea Men's Dynamic Tights. These are a new product from Solidea. Can you tell us a bit more about this style? 

As I’m sure you know, most tights are designed with women in mind. The Dynamic tights incorporate all of Solidea’s amazing patented technologies with some adapted features aimed at making them more comfortable and practical for men to wear. The Dynamic offers 18-21mmHg compression which is perfect for men who need to care for venous problems above the knee. They are also a better fit for the male shape than the models designed for women. The Dynamic comes with an option for an open-toe which is great for men who don’t like any tightness around the toes (often a problem for taller men in women’s tights)

Are there any particular styles of tights or other compression hosiery that are popular with your male customers? 

The Catherine model (also from Solidea) is popular with men who need full-leg compression but don’t want to shave. A lot of men struggle with the silicone band of hold-ups as it is not designed to accommodate coarse male hair. The silicone often catches and can be uncomfortable. We tested some of the glues available to help with this problem but haven’t found any products we’re happy with yet.

The Catherine model can be worn comfortably with a suspender belt and comes in a range of compression classes and colours.

For men who have lower leg venous problems or who travel a lot, our range of cotton socks have been very popular. A lot stick to “plain black socks” whereas others go for cheeky colours and patterns and leave them peeking out of their work wear.

You also carry a much larger range of support and compression tights. Would any of these also be suitable for men, who might wish to try other styles other than opaque tights? 

As mentioned, the Catherine thigh-highs have proven very suitable. Our RejuvaHealth compression leggings would also be a good option in my opinion. All our knee highs and ankle highs are suitable once they are sized correctly.

Are you planning to further develop your range of men's tights? 

I have some new styles for men’s knee highs and sports compression leggings in mind. As the Dynamic are a new style, I don’t yet have a full picture of what men are looking for in a pair of tights. I know the higher denier options are great for when hair is an issue and I looked into dance skins as well on the recommendation of some of our male clients, but that’s about it. I’d appreciate any feedback your readers would have to offer.

What kind of service will male customers receive at Compression à la Mode? Do you welcome enquiries and requests for advice? 

As CalM is a small and new operation, when you make an enquiry you are talking to me directly. I welcome questions, concerns, feedback and am always happy to do some research to try and source something for a client. I’m happy to chat away to anyone with an enquiry. I must add that I am not a medical professional so when it comes to medical advice, I will always suggest you consult with your GP.

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? 

I welcome it! Men shouldn’t have to be labelled because they wear tights. Many are putting their health at risk by avoiding wearing compression simply because they view it as feminine! Athletes run around in sports tights all the time because of the comfort and benefits. Why can’t everyone else do the same and wear what they want. I was scrutinised for wearing medical tights, “at my age”, I don’t know if that compares but it had an awful effect on my morale and pushed me to start CalM.

Thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men, Emma. I am sure readers will find this feature very informative and useful.

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