Friday, June 8, 2012

Meet Your Maker: Tightology

With Winter sweeping in thick and fast, we thought it was most appropriate to chat with Vera Havari about her Victorian based label Tightology. 

cirque tights in copper marle

S: First up, could you tell us a little bit about your background? What path led you to what you do now?

VH: With background in graphic design, I started Tightology to satisfy a personal desire for a unique pair of tights that are good for your legs, good for the environment and very very good to look at.

I love illustrations and I love ink. I never saw myself as an illustrator, but I loved what I created so I had to go with my gut feel. The initial designs were quite different to what you see now. I had to tone them down slightly and think retail. I love the balance of our creations.
S: Where did the name Tightology come from?

VH: Tights + ology,  a combination of words used to depict the "study of tights". Made up one night over a glass of wine.
Raindrop tights

S: Tightology tights are renowned for avoiding current trends and opting for unique designs that are unlike any other! What guides your design process and how do you keep your palette so darn original?

VH: I have never been one to fall for trends, more of a spontaneous type. I love patterns and architecture so with each of our collections you will find a fair bit of  Deco and Art Nouveau inspired detail. I sometimes think for days about what I want to design next. Then I change my mind and start thinking afresh again. But what I do know is that I like it when the designs speak to me. I certainly never find myself browsing blogs or magazines for ideas on trends or on what the others are up to. Maybe just a little bit lately on Roy Lichtenstein… 

S: Tell me about the materials you use – it is so rare to have natural blends in tights. Apart from being remarkably soft, why do you use organic cotton, bamboo and merino rather than the stock standard nylon? I am amazed that these tights never seem to ladder – WHAT is your secret?

VH: They are made mostly of natural fibre, therefore they feel better in warm and cold days. We believe in reducing our impact on the environment so we use environmentally friendly methods. Our tights are made from organic cotton, bamboo and wool blend using 100% recycled paper packaging and environmental inks for printing. I think we all have tried those nylon tights that may last longer than natural fibres, but they sweat and not comfy.

WHAT is the secret? I think you will find that the secret is in the care you take. Handwash and watch your beautiful nails. Watch out for those boot zips too.
S: All your pieces are manufactured in Victoria. With so many Australian countries now having products manufactured overseas, why do you choose to produce Sands Made in Australia? What challenges/triumphs have you faced keeping your production local?
VH: It has been a little bumpy at times and certainly you have doubts about making your product locally. There have been loads of headaches and some tears too. The hardest thing for us so far has been manufacturing locally and meeting our expectations. We are now growing and meeting our demand has been somewhat disappointing. I remember this buyer telling me once that if you want to grow, you have to take your business off-shore.

But being able to meet and deal with all involved in making this business function is something that we appreciate. Knowing that you are supporting the local industry feels very rewarding.

Pop tights
S: Could you give us a bit of insight to the way Tightology functions as a business? Do you have a team of staff working with you or do you fly solo? How does the day-to-day operation of Tightology work- what would a typical day involve for you?

VH: I used to function solo initially, but these days I have two girls that work with me, Jenny and Danielle. Greg helps too whenever he is needed. We can usually manage just the three of us.
The day to day operation goes a bit like this:
Read emails. Reply to emails.
Organise couriers.
Jenny or Danielle arrive at 9.30 - 10.00. They are both working mums so we will cover briefly kid issues.
Work, write invoices and return calls.
Work, write invoices and return and calls.
Pick up kids from school
Turn computer off at 5.30 and dine with the kids.
S: And lastly, which Tightology tights are you currently sporting?
VH: Empire for me in copper marle.

Thanks Vera! It's so good to hear the energy that is put it to create gorgeous local products. Just in time for the cold front, we have just received a hearty new collection of Tightology tights in store at Stockroom - you should check out the 'pop' tights. They are actually wild. And the wooly socks. They are divine. DIVINE!