BELLE TAKE: HOSIERY FOR MEN

Les Belles’ CEO and founder, Cecile Antier sat down with emerging online blog, Hosiery for Men to discuss gender inclusive fashion and what her approach is in creating a brand for all bodies and all genders. 

Love is Les Belles is love. We stand for self-care, self-expression and the freedom to just be you. Qui vivra verra, as we say in French. - Cecile Antier, CEO 

Can you tell Hosiery For Men readers about Les Belles. Why did you create the brand?

Les Belles is an ultraluxe yet pocket-friendly tights brand on a mission to make tights for every body and all genders in a sustainable and responsible way. We’re forever inclusive, never conventional, a bit mischievous and a lot independent.

Our collants (that’s French for tights) are reimagined: 100% recycled, buttery-soft, "partially" seamless (i.e. our "basic" collection and some of our patterns are seamless), vegan and made with perfect-fit 3D-knit technology in an emissionless, zero-waste factory in Italy. Our goal is for all “Belles” (our customers)—he, she or they—to step effortlessly into their comfort zone and feel unapologetically themselves in our tights.
I was born and raised in France, a country filled with affordable, easy-to-find, très chic collants, and I was shocked to see what the US had to offer. I’d either pay $40 to $60+ for a nice, durable pair or $5 to $8 for ones that would annoyingly (and embarrassingly) run on first wear, fall and itch. And it was incredibly hard to find quality brands that prioritized sustainability and inclusivity (two things I value), so I created my own.

I aimed to bring my French tights experience to the US by offering comfortable, on-trend, high-quality collants at an accessible price. And I wanted them to be Earth-friendly and enjoyable to wear for all sizes, genders and personalities. By merging science and fashion, we’ve successfully created a superior, completely liberating, consciously crafted tights to live in and breathe in.


How does the Les Belles subscription plan work?

It’s pretty simple: All you have to do is pick 1 to 4 pairs, select your style(s) and size, and voila! Comfy, chic collants will be delivered to your door (in a cute recyclable packaging) at a discounted price every month. You can pause, change or cancel at any time. No stress. No commitments. You can customize the recurrence, and mix and match our Sheers and new limited-edition monthly pattern drop. 
 
Prices start at $14.40/month for 1 pair (which is 20% off the regular "eshop" prices) and includes free US shipping and taxes. For now, international shipping is an extra $10.

Subscribing takes less than a minute. You can literally do it before falling asleep. I wish I had a service like this when I was a corporate lawyer. With a monthly Les Belles subscription, our goal is that you can check “shop for tights” off your to-do list for good.
What tights are currently available from Les Belles? What features do they have?

All of our tights are buttery-soft, unisex, available in wide range of sizes (XS to 3XL - in American sizes) and made of 100% double-covered recycled yarn (by industry-leader Fulgar, of course). Currently, we have two deniers: 20 (Sheer) and 50 (Semi). And we’ll be launching a warmer 80-denier Opaque in November. Crafted with the highest-quality of eco yarn on the market, our tights are made to last, which is step 1 of sustainability.

The Sheer is available in four skin tone-blending hues (Naturel 01, 02, 03 and 04) and Noir.
The Semi comes in Noir and Bleu. All are seamless, have a cozy no-roll/pinch/sag 3.5 in /9 cm waistband and are reinforced at the toe.
In addition to our not-so-basic Sheer and Semi classics, we’re dropping a limited-edition “extra” patterns every month. Subscribers are guaranteed to get it. Other Belles will have to snap them before they're gone. Note: Most of our patterned tights have flat seams; some are seamless. All are eco luxurious. And we sell really cute socks and other merch made of recycled and/or ultraluxe organic materials, too!
Like many hosiery brands, you take sustainability and environmental issues seriously. What is Les Belle's approach to recycling and sustainability?
 
All of our tights are “eco,” which means they’re made of 100% recycled yarn. Specifically, the yarn we use is crafted from waste material from our supplier’s main production cycle that cannot be reused in any other way and would otherwise be thrown away.

So we take that high-quality recycled Italian yarn and use it to make our luxe, robust tights that last (you know, “we make ’em like they used to”). But now, instead of using unsustainable cut-and-sew techniques, we craft our collants with precise 3D-knit technology in an emissionless, zero-waste factory that conserves and reuses water, and never uses hazardous chemicals or heavy metals (aka OEKO-TEX certified). Sustainability is indeed our top priority. 

Another step we’re taking to protect the planet is plastic-free packaging. Our packaging is 100% recyclable and can be used to upcycle your well-worn pairs. In every Les Belles package, you’ll receive a label addressed to an organization in NYC, a creative reuse center that provides free materials to NYC’s arts nonprofits, public schools and city agencies. All you have to do is throw your old pairs (of any brand, not just Les Belles) in the mailer, attach the label and voila! Set them free to be imaginatively transformed.
Currently, there’s no way to make new tights from used tights, but we’re keeping a close eye on the latest progress of our various partners. One day we’ll be able to recycle our tattered go-tos and make you brand-new ones. We’d love to rid the planet of run-and-done tights forever.


Do you welcome men as customers?

Yes! 100% yes! For us, that’s not even a question. We welcome every body and all genders. Inclusivity’s our main goal. This is 2021, so whether you identify as he/him, she/her or they/them, you should wear tights if you want to wear tights! End of story. As of today, about 40% of our customers are men. We're proud of that number.

Being a Belle is a mindset and attitude toward life more than it’s a gender. It’s a belief that style is not about hiding your true self for the sake of others but about showing the world who you truly are—fiercely, wholly and unapologetically. Belles bend rules and know who they want to be.

You’ll notice that our online imagery is more inclusive/fluid now. We strongly believe that our seamless Sheer and Semi tights offer unparalleled comfort for men. And, unsurprisingly, that’s the feedback we’ve been getting! 
For men thinking about trying tights, what are the benefits of wearing them?

Comfort, warmth and support. As mentioned previously, we strongly believe that our seamless design offers unparalleled comfort for men. And that's the consistent feedback we've received from them. Our size inclusive offering (up to 3 XL in American sizes) suits the particular needs of our male customers (with a comfortable waistband and wider and longer legs). There’s nothing like slipping into luxe, buttery softness that caresses your body at the start or end of your day. It’s ridiculously pleasurable. 
What are Les Belles planning next?

Within the next year, we plan to expand our tights collection, offering more seamless, classics and trend-worthy patterns and colors. We’ll also like to add gender-free and sustainable items like underwear. It's a lot of work, but we’re excited to give the gendered hosiery industry a fresh, new, inclusive look.

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