This post was sponsored by BuyMeOnce, all opinions my own.
If you are a person who has ever worn hosiery, then you know my frustration.
Alongside the likes of hair ties and bobby pins, tights belong in a special space reserved for somewhat essential products that cause way more hassle than they have any right to. Firstly they’re not the most sustainable product out there, as most tights are created from nylon yarn, a petrol based product that isn’t natural, can’t biodegrade, and produces microfibres, and the production of which releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more harmful than CO2. On top of that, they aren’t designed with durability in mind. Like so many items in the throwaway world of fast fashion, tights ladder, snag, bobble, and holes appear in an instant. Sometimes they’re only worn once before they end up thrown away. More often than not tights are designed for a hyper-consumerist culture: ready to be tossed and replaced by another cheap version at a moments notice.
Well I say no more.
Over the past two years that I’ve been friends with the folks at BuyMeOnce, I’ve learned a thing or two about longevity. The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve become curious, and the more I’ve found there is to discover. On my side I’ve explored the psychology of overconsumption and how we shift our mindset, how to quit trends and find long lasting style, and why discovering sustainability doesn’t mean you should clear out everything you own. On BuyMeOnce’s side they have taught me about the myriad ways that companies can be truly sustainable. I’ve learned about innovative approaches, unique technology and conscious design that thinks in the long term. I’ve learned about solutions to problems that I hadn’t even thought of yet (a football that never goes flat and doesn’t break when punctured? GENIUS), and I’ve become firm in the resolve that, no matter the issue, there is someone out there who will think of a way to fix it.
Sustainably designed to last
Swedish Stockings are ethically made in Italy from recycled and sustainable materials in zero waste factories. They are produced using renewable energy, and utilise a closed loop water system and low impact dyes in the dyeing process. They create their products from both pre and post-consumer nylon sourced from waste material such as old fishing nets, carpet flooring and fabric scraps, making tights that are sustainable, built to last and resistant to snagging. They knit recycled polyamide yarns, sometimes also blending them with organic cotton, into tights using a 3D process, knitting the hosiery into a tube. This results in a fabric that stretches and conforms to the body, without bunching in random places, but is still soft to the touch. Their hosiery is knitted with a flat seam and a broad waistband that doesn’t pinch or hurt, and most of their pieces are reinforced at the toes to prevent holes. This all results in tights that last much longer, stay comfortable, and don’t fall apart.
When these tights do finally reach the end of their life, Swedish Stockings are also dedicated to closing the loop on their production through a recycling programme. While the technology isn’t commercially available yet to separate polyamide in the yarn (the nylon) from the elastane (the stretch) to make new pantyhose, it’s getting closer. And in the meantime they’ve found another way to avoid landfill. They grind old pantyhose down to be used as filler material in fibre glass tanks for oil and grease traps in the commercial industry. These tanks are very hard wearing and last a long time, giving the pantyhose much more use than ending up in the bin, even if it is a little less flashy than fashion. Swedish Stockings accept any brand of nylon hosiery to recycled, and when you mail 3 or more pairs of old ripped stockings to their recycling centres they’ll email you a 10% discount code for future purchases.
The tights themselves
I have two pairs of tights myself: the Doris Dots and the Olivia (although mine are in Bordeaux colour, not black). I have to say, I completely love them. They’re cute, comfortable and super warm. They don’t bunch up or cut into me, and so far they haven’t done any of that annoying drooping at the crotch or slipping down that causes so much hassle on the go. Instead they form to fit to the body, making them almost easy enough to forget you’re actually wearing them. Plus, as much as I make sure to take care when wearing tights, they definitely feel stronger than other pairs I’ve had before. In the past I’ve worn hosiery that have gotten holes in the toes by the end of one day of use, but these definitely feel like they’ll be going for a lot longer.
Going the extra eco-friendly mile
There’s also another trait that both BuyMeOnce and Swedish Stockings share that sets them both apart: the commitment to care over consumption. Beyond a dedication to reducing rampant replacement culture through products that go the distance, they’re also vocal on teaching us how to be better owners of the things we buy; showing a commitment to being truly ethical over the easy money that comes with forcing people to keep replacing broken things.
After all durable design is vital, but so is taking personal responsibility for how we look after what we own. So I’ll take a leaf out of Swedish Stockings’ book, and pass on their wisdom when it comes to making their tights last longer:
- Choose the right size. If you’re between two sizes, opt for the larger.
- Pre-stretch your tights by placing one hand on the foot of one leg and the other at the to of the tights, and gently pulling apart. This prepares the yarn to stretch to your body, promoting a longer lifespan. Do this after every wash.
- Only pull them on from the bottom up.
- Wear with care: keep your nails filed, watch out for sharp jewellery and avoid unnecessary friction to prevent snagging.
- Wash every 5-6 wears, not after every wear, and either hand wash in cold water or on a delicate cycle at 30 degrees in a mesh garment bag, away from anything they can snag on.
- Don’t use fabric softeners, as they damage elastane, and air dry instead of using the dryer.
Dispensing advice like this is a telling way to show who really cares about being sustainable and who only cares about PR; hiding planned obsolescence behind fancy branding, all the while raking in more money without a care for the waste caused.
I’m glad to say that both BuyMeOnce and Swedish Stockings are instead the real deal. And, furthermore, their commitments to conscious creation will save money, reduce waste, promote the circular economy AND prevent the hassle of tights that come apart at the drop of the hat. It’s a revolutionary time to be able wear skirts in the winter, and now I’ll never go back.