Legwear/Accessories Report WWD, Monday, July 29, 2002
YORK – The
thong sandal trend may be a thorn in legwear’s side, but it’s no
longer a fashion snag for Karyn Cortani.
The 36-year-old Cortani recently founded Tohos, a new patented
pantyhose with a full sheer foot and mitten like split toe suitable for
thong sandals and other open-toe footwear designs.
“In the Seventies, I used to dig through my sister’s closet and
try on all these ‘Charlie’s Angels’-type dresses and big, platform
thong sandals,” said the Palmdale, California based Cortani. “I always
wanted to wear pantyhose with those sandals, but had to scrunch it up
between my toes. It looks funny when women wear hosiery with sandals.”
Cortani’s background isn’t typical of a budding legwear
entrepreneur. Before graduating from college with a degree in human
communications, she drove a cement mixer, was a bartender and fixed and
resold cars she would purchase at police vehicle auctions.
“That’s when my entrepreneurial spirit started and I got my
first taste of working for myself,” she said.
The idea for Tohos stems from Cortani’s legwear dilemma at a
recent wedding. She was planning to wear black rhinestones thong sandals,
but didn’t want to dress down her outfit with bare legs.
“I have tried toeless hosiery, but they look silly, because if I
wear black hosiery, I have white toes sticking out,” she said.
oriental Tabi socks, which are like mittens for the feet.
tried them on there and eight or nine women said, “You better get a
patent on that , ‘“ she said.
Subsequent inquires by equally frustrated women prompted Cortani to
find a manufacturer and start in the legwear business.
“ It was very tough. I didn’t know anything about the hosiery
and patent business,” she said. “I went through three mills, which
either couldn’t do it or whose product wasn’t satisfactory. A friend
of mine who used to work at Dupont suggested Bossong Hosiery.”
Asheboro, NC based Bossong Hosiery Mills Inc., which is a private
label manufacturer, agreed to manufacture Tohos.
“It is a unique product and our industry is looking for newness
and some novelty items to get people interested in hosiery,” said
Matthew Owens, vice president of sales at Bossong.
Owens said the company projects first-year sales to reach $500,000.
Tohos’ 10-denier style with a control-top pantyhose, a cotton
crotch and a noroll waistband, has a retail price of $12. Distribution is
aimed for department and specialty stores. The company also has a Web site
The whimsical flat packaging features an illustration of a
girl lying on her back with her hand under her hips and her feet – with
split toe-in the air. The brand’s logo is a graffiti-like shape of a
foot plastered with the brand name.
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