You already know how good you feel in our meggings, but have you ever wondered who’s behind them? Below is an exclusive, never-before-shared interview with the Maker of Matador Meggings, Valentine Aseyo. He spills the tea on anything and everything about Matador Meggings, from how he gave birth to this new brand to his vision for the future to everyone’s favorite topic: VPL. It’s time that you got to know the man behind the meggings and the method to his madness. Check out Part 2 of the interview to hear him talk about entrepreneurship, his biggest mistakes, and his pro tips for young entrepreneurs.
Let’s get to know you first—who is Valentine?
I am the Maker of Matador Meggings. First-time entrepreneur. Executive coach. Ex-Facebooker. 200-hour certified yoga teacher. Burner. Spanish & Turkish. And of course, meggings aficionado. On paper, I’m the CEO of the company, but I’m also the designer, developer, marketer, accountant—even the customer service representative. As a one-man team, I get to wear a dozen hats on a daily basis. My last role was SVP of Product at Bandsintown, the #1 concert-discovery app. Prior to that, I spent 8 years working at Facebook in Ireland, India, and the US, spanning many different roles from Product to Advertising, Marketing to Sales, User Experience to Community Operations, and Outsourcing. Prior to Facebook, I worked at Colgate-Palmolive and IBM.
Tell us about Matador Meggings.
Matador Meggings was born out of the idea that guys should have access to quality leggings made specifically for the male anatomy, and they should wear them with confidence—just like the original bullfighters of Spain. Our signature men’s leggings are made with sweat-wicking performance fabric and offer a soft molded crotch cup with No-VPL* Technology™ (*visible penis line), which conceals the groin department and offers support where it counts. Numerous features like an open pocket for a phone, a zipper pocket for valuables, and a t-shirt/towel loop make these meggings functional for the modern man’s needs. If you’d like to read more on this, check out Our Story.
Where does the brand name come from? We get “Meggings” but why “Matador”?
Though athleisure is a newer concept born in the last decade, matadors have brought elegance and sophistication to athletic wear for centuries. Matadors are hyper-masculine but also emotional figures who needed tight-fitting pants that wouldn’t slow them down. They aren’t afraid of loud colors or bold prints. So, we took a page from the history books—and now we’ve added our own: men’s leggings for today’s matador. My signature design of the stripes that spiral around the legs represents the horns of a bull. It’s also an homage to my Spanish heritage.
How did you come up with the idea for Matador Meggings? Did you notice poor fashion choices in the gym?
The seeds of this product were planted 5 years ago when I showed up to the first day of my yoga teacher training. There were 20+ women in yoga pants and I was the only person who didn’t—or, better said, couldn’t—wear them because typical leggings expose the groin department completely and leave nothing to the imagination, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing on some occasions...but I’m not sure if those women were ready for a show. (And no one paid for a ticket, so…) I had been wearing leggings at Burning Man or other festivals for years but that was the first time VPL (visible penis line) had become an issue. I said to myself, "It's 2015. Surely someone needs to invent leggings for men, right? I mean, women have cups in their bras to hide the outline of nipples, so why can't men have a similar feature in their leggings?" Fast forward 5 years and we’re still the only ones doing it. There are some brands that claim to manufacture leggings for men, but their products either make your crotch completely flat (which is far from flattering) or they expose the outline of your pocket rocket. I personally am not a fan of either, so I decided that this would be my contribution to humanity: meggings! Men's leggings specifically designed for the male anatomy.
What makes Matador Meggings different from other brands?
Matador Meggings are men’s leggings on steroids. We pumped them with several features to fit modern men’s needs: soft molded crotch cup concealing VPL (visible penis line), an open pocket for your phone, a zipper pocket for your valuables, a loop at the back for your t-shirt or towel, an inner drawstring for extra security, and feather-weight sweat-wicking performance fabric. These are not your grandmother’s leggings! We thought of everything; you can wear them for everything from intense workout sessions to festivals to Sunday brunch. We also differentiate ourselves with the wild colors and bold prints we offer. As a man, you’ve typically had only 2 options: go to big brands to get high-quality leggings that only come in boring colors like black and gray, or purchase funky colors/designs from Amazon that are incredibly poor-quality nylon/spandex that will give your skin a rash. Matador Meggings combines the best of both worlds: high-quality performance compression pants with designs that (finally) match your personality.
Let’s talk about VPL. Why do you think this is such a big issue for guys?
Because people shouldn't tell your religion by your leggings and some things should be left to imagination. Most compression pants give cause to “moose knuckles,” which inevitably creates insecurity and forces guys to wear shorts on top of meggings. Our signature crotch cup makes your man parts look rounded like a superhero without showing the outline. Think about it: very well-rounded, perfectly proportionate, and generous. Compression pants don’t need to compress your junk and make it flat; we combat this issue. Thanks to this No-VPL™ (visible penis line) Technology, you no longer need to wear shorts on top of your meggings. If you're feeling brave and you’d like to expose your money-maker...all the more power to you! You can remove this cup and give people the show they’ve been waiting for. The stage is yours! Just make sure to put it back when you’re visiting your parents. If you have more questions about VPL, our meggings in general, or the intricacies of life, check out our FAQ page.
What do you envision for the future of Matador Meggings? Where’s this brand headed?
Our journey is 1% complete; this is just the beginning. While we’re proud to offer a wide range of product categories in addition to meggings (such as tops and joggers), going forward we will focus on our core and double down on everything spandex, and mostly below the belt. We will be introducing wrestling singlets, short meggings, spandex shorts, swimwear, underwear, and more. Why? Because real men wear spandex. As for the meggings, we will continue to release new colors and prints on a regular basis so you'll always find something new when you come back and visit (unless you stalk us every day, which we totally welcome). Scroll to the bottom of any page on our site and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about new styles.
How has the reaction been from your target audience and the media?
Amazing and incredibly humbling. We’ve been in the business for only 6 months now and we’ve already sold thousands of meggings to every single state in the US. 70% of our customers returned to the site to purchase a second pair of meggings within the same month. This speaks volumes about the customer satisfaction. We received a 4.9 overall review score from our customers. Our return rate is less than 1%, which is too good to be true considering average return is 20% in the US. Many customers reported that Matador Meggings inspired them to be healthy, get fit, and be their best version athletically because these meggings boost their confidence and make them feel like a superhero. Most said they didn’t have the courage to wear meggings until they stumbled upon Matador Meggings. Women were outraged and are super jealous of what guys get to have now. Sorry ladies, it’s our turn!
I hear you have a community called Bulls of Matador Meggings—what is this all about?
99.9% of athletic wear brands portray a sexy, ripped muscle man figure to market their products, which is not necessarily wrong. At the end of the day, it’s called marketing and we’re guilty of it too. But the truth is, this is not what we stand for as a brand, so we started our own community called Bulls of Matador Meggings to foster diversity, celebrate all body types, appreciate the beauty of all ages, and spread inclusivity. We welcome all fan submissions regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. We cherish everyone’s photos by posting them on our Instagram @BullsOfMatadorMeggings.
You target gym-goers, crossfitters, and bodybuilders heavily. Do meggings really have benefits for when you’re working out?
A resounding yes! Compression pants enhance your performance during intense workouts by boosting the amount of oxygen muscles receive. More oxygen = more energy and power. They can help improve post-workout muscle recovery by increasing blood flow to help speed up the muscle repair process and reduce muscle fatigue after workouts. Lastly, you’re likely to experience less muscle soreness because meggings can help reduce fluid buildup by constricting muscles. Less fluid buildup = less soreness. If you’d like to read more about the benefits, here’s a great summary we put together. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: when you wear meggings, you look good. If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.
You’re also a big advocate for soaring beyond the boundaries of the gym in your leggings, right?
Amen to that! Yes, go out, go wild. When yoga pants became a thing a decade ago, women would wear them strictly for working out—at yoga (duh), pilates, and aerobics. Many wouldn't even walk around in leggings at the gym as they found it intimidating to wear them outside of the “workout classroom.” Fast-forward 4-5 years later, women wear yoga pants anywhere and everywhere. Stroll around your neighborhood on a weekend and I guarantee you’ll see more women in leggings than not. Well, guys typically follow women’s trends about 10 years behind. So hey, the time has come. It’s time to sport your meggings from Sunday brunch to grabbing groceries. Plus, (in our opinion and in so many others) meggings are the best festival attire for men: they’re comfy, stylish, and fun. Are you not quite sure how to style your meggings outside the gym? Well, we put together a style guide for that, too. Check it out.
Your collection features unique, flashy, bold designs? Why did you decide to go “loud” instead of blending in?
Why not? When you look at the leggings selection available for women out there, you see every single color of the rainbow. There’s a plethora of funky prints and cool colors for women, but when it comes to men, we’re stuck with black, gray, and more black (did I mention black?). Simply put, this is not fair. Black may be fashion-forward, but we aspire to be fun-forward. We want men to express themselves fully and get energized with their apparel.
What/who inspires you?
I got my inspiration from 2 concepts that are very dear to my heart. I’m from Spanish lineage, and I’ve always admired matadors. Even though I’m completely against bullfighting, I’ve appreciated this hyper-masculine yet emotional figure who is not afraid of wearing the tightest pants with the brightest colors. If you look at their clothing alone, no “macho” would really wear them: incredibly brave colors, super tight-fitting, very intricate embroidery…but they didn’t give two shits, and I absolutely love that. So they’ve been my primary design inspiration. The second element of inspiration is “the bull.” If you look closely, you’ll notice that the stripes on the sides spiraling inward, represent the horns of the bull. So this animal directly influenced our design choices. Every brand has design elements, and I snatched this one as my unique identifier.
We heard you are a Burner aka attends Burning Man yearly. Did this experience influence Matador Meggings?
Burning Man certainly influenced my design process like it did every single aspect of my life. For the past decade, every year at Burning Man I’ve been collecting the elements I enjoyed seeing on art, installations, costumes, and how others expressed themselves. That being said, I had to let my meggings marinate a bit more until I was ready to share them with the world. Our very first collection was primarily targeted toward gym-goers, and I think we played it safe. My second collection, which was supposed to launch in April 2020 but got delayed due to COVID-19, is totally psychedelic, funky, and on a completely different wavelength as our focus has shifted to festival-goers with this collection. I’m bummed that all festivals including Burning Man have been canceled, but I’m sure our fans will find many occasions to sport these pieces. I’m sure the brave souls won’t hesitate to wear our festival collection to the gym or out to run.
For those who are still looking to attend their favorite festivals virtually, we’ve put together a guide with some of our favorites. Check it out here.