CARROLL GARDENS — Before Christina King began selling tights, socks and garters out of her home and online, she made a hobby of collecting them.
King, 32, has personally amassed more than 500 pairs of tights of different patterns and colors over a span of seven years before she turned her passion into a full-time job, selling them online.
She initially became smitten with the accessory during her previous job working at M.A.C. cosmetics, King said.
“We always had to wear all black,” King said of her work uniform. “I didn’t have tattoos, so I wore tights. It made me a little more different.”
She even keeps the tights that have rips and runs, King admitted.
Soon, her obsession started bearing fruit. When her friends and co-workers began stopping her to ask where she had bought her tights, she realized she might be able to make a living selling them full-time.
She started the business in September 2011, dubbed it Peek Brooklyn, and began buying up styles and brands from Paris, Italy and London. Some of the brands in her collection include Pretty Polly and Gaetano Cazzola.
“Some of the styles in Europe are a little too bold for American taste, so they haven’t really been trickling in over here yet,” King said.
Most people don’t know that styles of tights change from season to season, much like clothes, she added. Big department stores usually just sell the basics like the classic opaque or fishnet.
“You see a brand like Wilfred come up with a style, and then they slowly start trickling down to other stores like H&M,” King explained.
This season, polka dots, snakeskin and pre-ripped tights are all the rage. New Yorkers tend to wear darker clothes, so bright colors are not as popular in the city as they are in Europe, King said. In the city, black, purple and ox-blood red are the popular colors.
Despite the countless selection of patterns available at Peek Brooklyn, no two patterns look the same. King brandished a few of her most popular items, including one called the “executive power suit,” which comes in gray and brown and feature pin-stripes, reminiscent of the business pants suit.
King says her collection of tights — not to be mistaken for stockings, which don’t go up to the waist, or panty hose, which are more sheer — fall at around a medium price scale. Most of her products are imported from Europe and average about $50-$55 each.
“They are an investment piece,” King said. “They are still delicate, but I think buying something of quality makes people want to take care of them better.
"I always make sure my fingernails and toenails aren’t sharp when handling them.”
Since she opened her business last year, orders have been flying out, she said. Even comedian Sarah Silverman enjoyed King’s tights so much, she asked her to style her for a gig she was doing in the city on Monday evening, King said.
While she mostly sells online, many customers come to her home for consultations, King said.
Her next venture is to set up a pop-up shop in the Carroll Gardens design studio called Orange You Glad. Her products will be available for viewing and purchase at the studio on Oct. 13, from noon to 6 p.m.
“Tights are something that were dying for a while,” said King. “I’m so glad to see that people are bringing it back.”
For more information, visit www.orangeyouglad.com/blogs/join-us-october-13th-peek-pop-up-shop.