Fantasy Stockings is pleased to present this interview with CJ from TightsFashion, a UK-based website that provides comparison of hosiery brands and presents a lot of useful information and beautiful photos.
How did you decide to start your site? Many people like the product, but only a few decide to go as far as you with the idea.
It might surprise visitors to TightsFashion on to know that there was a time when I had no interest in tights and knew nothing about them. An engineer by training and careful with money by nature I was alarmed by how often my wife threw out tights and bought new pairs. To cut a long story short I did some testing together with my wife to find a brand and style of hosiery that would offer the optimum value for money… the most durability for least cost while at the same time looking good.
TightsFashion was more of an accident than a plan. I was experimenting with a few things relating to search engine rankings for another project and decided to set up a site in another area entirely to test the ideas. I had some data on tights/pantyhose to hand from my earlier research with my wife so decided to use that as the content to save time and effort.
Then I was approached by a hosiery retailer wanting me to become an affiliate and carry advertising… the rest as they say is history.
Do you have any totally wild and outrageous ideas for hosiery photoshoots that you would like to create?
I have one idea, but perhaps not one to share with your readers. I would love to shoot a transsexual model, but in such a way that it was not apparent what she was; that is pass her off as just another young woman.
Why? You might ask. Well there was a rumour some years ago that a major hosiery retailer was using a model of this type on their packaging, the suggestion being that people who are genetically male don’t get cellulite. I have no idea if that is true, but if they could get away with it then why couldn’t I.
You probably meet men who actually enjoy wearing hosiery. Do you feel that there is a good market for men’s hosiery?
Hosiery for men is a tricky topic. I think men make up a significant part of the hosiery buying and hosiery wearing population, particularly on-line. The problem is that many/most of those men are not buying for reasons of fashion.
Some men are buying to keep warm or for medical reasons, a lot of specialist make hosiery has more in common with thermal underwear than fashion hosiery and on the whole I find it uninteresting.
My view is that for most men buying hosiery there is a fetish aspect and the fact that tights/pantyhose are made for women is part of the appeal. My own view is that "female" hosiery is generally nicer to wear, and usually far cheaper to buy.
I can’t help but notice your photography skills, did you learn yourself or did you enroll in some formal training?
Aside from a few hours of very basic tuition I am entirely self-taught as far as photography is concerned. I would like to get a lot more time in the studio with models to try more things and to learn more. Some of my shoots are purely for learning and never get published.
I am always interested in how producers choose their models. What is important to you and based on what criteria do you choose them?
Generally I use girls who are new to or hoping to get into modelling. Partly this is to give new talent a chance, plus it lets me take complete control and work at my own pace.
I also try to choose models who live close by and perhaps most importantly like hosiery… the one shot I did that really disappointed me was with a model with a great body but no love of hosiery.
I avoid tattoos because they distract from the tights. I don’t demand perfect skin as the whole point of the hosiery is to cover the imperfections.
Do you have any other interests or hobbies that you enjoy in your spare time?
I am not quite sure what "spare time" is. I have rather a lot of hobbies and interests and not enough time to do them all. I really enjoy hiking/walking and I often combine this with a love of travel. I am very interested in wine and I run a wine tasting club that meets once a month… my holidays tend to be to places with vineyards too.
I enjoy working on my garden and I have a pond with koi carp. Photography of course, outdoor rather than in the studio.
I am a member of a clay pigeon shooting club … (for those not familiar with the sport the "pigeons" are clay discs fired from a catapult launcher, they replaced live pigeons many decades ago), and a badminton club.
Why do you think that pantyhose and stockings sales declined in the past 2 decades?
I don’t have any firm data on this, and of course I can really only look at the UK, but my feeling is that compared to 1992 the market is smaller but growing fast. The growth in the number of on line retailers, and the success of more established sites like UKTights is testament to this.
You say that “what is right for a girlfriend and what is right for a wife are different”. Can you explain to us how so? In my ideal world there wouldn’t be a difference, but I realize that it may not be the case for others.
This is just an observation based on many years of experience. A girlfriend will love it that you bought her something sexy and expensive, a wife will probably complain at the waste of money and the fact it is not the style she usually wears. Of course it varies from woman to woman but I expect most married men will know what I mean.
You mention that in your tights review you talk about sizing. I usually take size Medium, but I find that it really varies from brand to brand. Why do you think they can’t just make these sizes standard worldwide to keep it simple for the consumer?
This is an easy one. Look at the average woman in the USA. Now look at the average Japanese woman. Then consider the varying heights and shapes across Germany, Italy, France, Spain, UK… there is simply no way that you can make any small/medium/large system work across the whole range. I do find it frustrating that the European size schemes all use similar notation but the sizes are different.
e.g. Kunert size IV is 44-46 in Germany, 46-48 in Italy and France and 50-52 in Russia, and what do those numbers mean anyway?
I notice that you really praise seamless pantyhose in your reviews. Do you think that seamless would be the hosiery of the future? I recently tried on an evening dress and realized that seams from my pantyhose were showing through the gentle fabric.
I love seamless pantyhose but they are not the future. I do think though that every premium brand should have a seamless style precisely for the reason that you mention, even the best flat seams can show through light and tight fashion. That and seamless look and feel so sexy.
Why not the future? Well they are expensive to make for one so will never displace hosiery made in two halves and seamed together. The seamless knitting process makes it hard to knit a deep body section so they tend to be hipster styled unless you are very slim in the hips and bottom, they you can get them waist high.
In your tips for gift ideas, you mention that it’s best not to go with hosiery less than 10 den. Does this mean that you personally are not a fan of ultra-sheer hosiery?
On the contrary I am a huge fan of ultra-sheer hosiery, and I suspect many men buying hosiery as a gift might love the idea the ultra-sheer material on their loved one.
My advice is aimed at men who need advice and I am trying to avoid the situation of a guy buying sheer hosiery for his lady who is not a regular wearer of sheer hosiery and ruining it either taking it from the packet or putting it on, particularly if the ultra-sheer hosiery is not top quality. I have had 10 denier 40% lycra pantyhose from the supermarket literally fall to bits as I stretched it prior to wearing. Some of the best hosiery is 5-9 denier, but this is not for the beginner in my experience.
It is quite rare to see pantyhose in a fashion magazine unless it’s some kind of a winter jacket commercial that obviously won’t be styled with summer sandals. Do you have any opinion on why this bare leg look is promoted in the fashion industry?
This is an interesting question. It shows in some ways how North America lags behind Europe in terms of fashion. Two years ago the fashion press would still be saying "steer clear of sheer" but now sheer hosiery is popular even among, or maybe particularly among, younger women.
Some women of a certain age who never wore hosiery still go for the bare leg look but now they are the ones out of step with fashion. It will be interesting to see if the look transfers over the Atlantic in the coming year.
TightsFashion is unique on the web, although there have been attempts to copy both the content and the format. First and foremost it is a site for lovers of hosiery as a fashion item, designed to provide information on as many styles and brands as possible and to provide price comparison between the leading on line retailers. The information on the site is provided for all to use free of charge, to promote the wearing of hosiery for the beautifying of legs everywhere.
If you would like to stay current with the updates from TightsFashion, you are welcome to follow CJ on Twitter, @TightsFashion, or connect on Facebook through the Tights Fashion Fan Page.