Stockholm-based sustainable tights brand Swedish Stockings is going full circle by converting discarded stockings into statement tables. While it is not yet possible to make new tights out of discarded tights, at least they get a new life as a stylish furniture item, which was developed in collaboration with furniture designer Gustaf Westmanis. The tables are now available on the company’s website and come in five different variations, all round in shape, from the size of a sideboard to a dining table, and in various heights.
“Approximately two billion pairs of tights are worn once and then discarded every year. Hosiery is a petroleum product that usually ends up in landfills in which they never degrade, except into smaller microplastics. Swedish Stockings invites customers to send in any brand of broken hosiery for recycling to our warehouse. We have taken the responsibility upon ourselves to show other hosiery brands how to take responsibility for their products at the end of their life. We hope to inspire, challenge and change things for the better,” explains Swedish Stocking’s founder and CEO Linn Frisinger in a press release published on Friday.
How to make a 100 percent petroleum product sustainable?
While most women may not even be aware of how bad tights are for the environment given that they are 100 percent petroleum, Swedish Stockings wants to prove that they can be a sustainable product.
Founded in 2013 by Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg after being inspired by the documentary “The Lightbulb Conspiracy”, the young label set out to make stockings out of spillover nylon from other tights. They are produced in Italy, in a factory driven by solar panels and renewable energy. The tights cost between 12 to 39 euros (13-43 US dollars or 10-34 pounds) and are sold worldwide via the Swedish Stockings website and a network of over 600 retailers.
The brand recently launched a line called Innovations by Swedish Stockings that uses other recycled materials. The first product was a pair of tights made of 100 percent recycled elastane from pre-consumer waste. Tights made from recycled plastic bottles are next and in two years, the company aims to make fully biodegradable tights.
Innovations by Swedish Stockings features other recycled materials
Part of the brand’s sustainability efforts is also to make each pair of tights last longer, increasing their use and giving them a longer life. Thus, the brand reinforces the waistband and toe area of each pair of tights and uses four instead of two layers of thread, increasing not only the quality of each product but also its comfort. In addition, most products are 3D knitted, meaning they are knitted in a tube to ensure a good fit.
To combat the growing amount of hosiery thrown into landfills, Swedish Stocking has decided to accept old hosiery - of any brand - from customers around the world. They can simply send them to their warehouse in Köping, Sweden or to a participating retailer. At the warehouse, the old tights are ground down, mixed with recycled fibreglass and then injection molded into fibreglass tanks, as fibre-to-fibre recycling is not currently possible. Currently, the recycling program receives around 1,000 pairs of hosiery a month, “but this number continually grows,” according to Swedish Stocking.
To launch the new range of handmade tables in collaboration with furniture designer Gustaf Westman, the brand will start a series of live-streamed conversations about cross-industry collaborations called #swedishstockingstalks, commencing on 11th June 2020 at 4:00 pm CEST (3 pm GMT, 10 am EST). Those interested can sign up on the Swedish Stocking website.
The first talks will see three very different Swedish brands across diverse industries - Swedish Stockings, Rscued and Note Design Studio - with moderator Per Styregård discuss how to collaborate across sectors and develop unique and innovative solutions to problems.