Our interview by HosieryForMen blog: the Who, Why & What of Stop & Stare
Posted on 01 May 2016
We are thrilled to have been interviewed by the amazing HosieryForMen blog earlier this week, so we thought this interview would make a perfect opening post on our own blog as it answers many questions about our brand that you might have always wanted to ask!
As you do these days, we've discovered HosieryForMen over social media and were instantly impressed by the amount of hard work, commitment and dedication that goes into each product review, as well as features and interviews with hosiery retailers and manufacturers - now including yours truly! Here's our Q & A session with the Londoner behind the HosieryForMen blog who appreciates tights for their warmth, comfort and support - just as we do.
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Stop & Stare. That’s a new name and brand on the hosiery scene. Can you tell us more?
Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed by such a household name in the hosiery blogging world! Yes, Stop & Stare is a young Irish brand of tattoo-printed tights and we are very proud of the fact that our hosiery does exactly what it says on the tin - it makes others stop, stare and ask whether it's a real tattoo on your legs! Our products are inspired (and created) by women who love to express their daring and bold side while staying elegant and feminine. Hundreds of our customers and many fashion bloggers have experienced (and enjoyed!) the Stop & Stare effect to date.
And who are the people behind the brand?
Stop & Stare is a collaboration between two mumpreneurs: Marina’s educational and working background in fashion design and textile production is complemented by my [Daria's] extensive experience in hosiery retail. We met at a local pole fitness class – no wonder they say that some of the best ideas are generated during exercise! At the time, I [Daria] as a hosiery retailer, was really bored and frustrated by the lack of exciting and interesting designs among the mainstream hosiery brands – with every new collection, all you see is a slight re-working of a previous design or that of another brand, with no or little innovation. So with the right skillset and experience between the two of us, we started playing with the idea of creating something unique ourselves!
We both have real tattoos, but we never quite embraced the idea of getting them done on our legs, so tattoo-like prints on nude tights have become a perfect idea and solution for us.
There must be some technical challenges in creating a tattoo design on tights. How do you actually create the products?
Once the idea was conceived, we needed to find out how to transform it into a beautiful pair of tights and because it’s not your regular T-shirt printing, you won’t find this information on the web – there are very few niche brands and craftsmen that print on delicate hosiery like ours. So we had to figure out everything from scratch. We flew to several textile printing expos with some blank tights for test printing – and even though some exhibiting printing companies thought we were plain crazy, a couple of them took the opportunity to test a new substrate themselves – one with excellent results! That’s when we knew the dream would soon turn into reality.
The actual process of creating our beautiful tights is very meticulous and requires a lot of precision and attention to detail, both in terms of printing the design and also dealing with a delicate 20 denier material. Once we’ve finished drawing the design, each pair is individually marked based on the size (S, M, L at the moment) and location of the design. It is then stretched over a custom platen and printed on using a textile garment printer. Finally, the ink is cured in a special dryer for delicate fabrics.
Thanks to this individual ‘handmade’ approach to each pair and design, we are able to produce designs that are loud and eye-catching yet look elegant and feminine on the leg, unlike some mass-printed tights which create that wallpaper-like effect and are more suited to a younger market.
Stop & Stare designs start life as tights. Can you tell us more about the quality and specification of the tights you use?
Having spent five years in hosiery retail, we had a very clear idea of the kind of look we wanted to achieve, the technical specification to do that, plus the customer’s needs and wants in terms of the product. As most brands worldwide are made by the same hosiery manufacturers under private labels, we sent our requirements to the factories and received many samples which were tried out and tested both in terms of printing quality, as well as overall quality, features, fit and wear.
There are so many reasons to fall in love with our tights – not the least important one is that at only 20 denier, our tights have been tested to last as many as nine full days of wear in heels! Plus every pair comes with:
- Wide deep waistband that keeps our tights comfortably in place all day long
- Flat seams and cotton gusset for added fit and comfort
- Sheer-to-waist brief for your shortest dresses and shorts
- Beautiful sun-kissed shade for adding a healthy glow to lighter skintones.
What kind of reaction have you had to the Stop & Star tights so far?
We’ve always been confident that the time we took to research and test the product and methods of making it, would result in something special, but the amazing feedback and comments we’ve had so far from customers and bloggers is more than we’ve ever hoped for. Quite apart from the fact that people have never seen such realistic tattoo designs on tights before, they all comment on the quality of the tights themselves comparing them to others that they normally wear: that they stay put without sliding down, they last without snagging for days and of course the best part – you can take your tattoo off in the evening and try on another one the next day. Plus, the rest of your legs get that perfect airbrushed look – perfect for hiding minor skin blemishes while preserving the natural look.
But by far the best compliment we receive is when customers ask for our permission to actually tattoo our designs on their legs – they wore our tights for several days and they knew that’s what they’d like to see on their legs for the rest of their lives. That’s simply amazing!
Which designs are particularly popular?
We get inspiration from our Celtic heritage, as well as classic tattoo designs: think dragons, butterflies, daggers and hearts. Our best-sellers include scattered black butterflies, shaded rose tattoo, musical dandelion and red poppy flowers. At the moment, we have 27 designs on offer, but we are introducing several new designs every month – that’s the best advantage of making these products ourselves and not outsourcing the production in large volumes elsewhere. We can design in the morning, print at lunchtime and send to the customer on the same day. Plus, thanks to the non-marked heel part, you can choose to wear our frontal designs on the back too – just check out our social media pages to see how cool that looks!
We have also worked on and welcome custom projects, which so far included printing company logos for special events, hen and bridal party specials with fun quirky catchlines, as well as strategically placed designs for those wanting to hide existing tattoos, birth marks or scars on their legs.
Next in the pipeline is developing a collection of hold-ups and knee-high socks too – even though we are tights girls ourselves (it’s too windy in Ireland to feel comfortably warm in hold-ups!), we’ve had many requests for them.
Also, we are currently looking for retailers who would love to stock our tattoo tights – with extensive hosiery retail experience, we believe we know exactly what wholesale customers need and want, in terms of high quality product images, lightweight flat packaging, excellent margins and quick turnaround times. At the moment our direct customers are mostly located in the UK, the USA, Germany and France so we’d love to see our products in stores and on virtual shelves there.
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About HosieryForMen blog: written by a Londoner with passion for tights and legwear for men, the blog has gained a large international readership of both men and women since it started in 2011, thanks to the fact that each review is structured in the same consistent and uniform manner and includes detailed information and photos on the product's material, features, fit, sizing, colour range, price and availability. In recent years tights have started to become popular again with men who appreciate them for their warmth, comfort and leg support, and the blog is doing a fantastic job at helping to make men's tights mainstream again, and it has received enthusiastic support from major hosiery brands such as Wolford, Charnos and Cecilia de Rafael.
What we personally love about HosieryForMen the most is the objective and non-biased approach to each style and brand they review, no matter whether it was sent to the blog as a gift by the retailer or manufacturer, or whether HosieryForMen purchased the pair themselves. Keep up the brilliant work!