Each year 2 billion pairs of stockings are produced,
worn once and then discarded, contributing to the textile industry
being the second most polluting industry in the world.
Those are some pretty ugly facts. Fortunately they have been the motivating force behind Nadja Forsberg and Linn Frisinger's vision to revolutionise the hosiery industry by launching the world's first sustainable brand of hosiery:Swedish Stockings.
If you have ever worked in a profession, as I did for many years, where you are required to wear pantyhose on the job, you will be well acquainted with the frustration of the constant cycle of purchasing, snagging/ripping/laddering/catching/puncturing and inevitably binning - all in a scandalously short period of time. Even from a purely economic point of view, this is clearly not sustainable and then when you begin to consider where all these briefly useful garments are ending up, let alone the packaging they came in, it is befuddling. Back in my professional pantyhose days I was not aware of any options being available for recycling textiles that are no longer wearable.
The unfortunate reality is that, even with recycling options available, the majority of used hosiery items will end up in landfill and the majority are made from nylon which is derived from environmentally harmful petrochemicals.
Prior to the 1930s, pantyhose were made from natural silk, but were eventually replaced with nylon as longer lasting alternative and from there the quality declined to the point where we have today's "disposable" flavour of hosiery, despite the fact that it is environmentally damaging to manufacture and is non-biodegradable.
So how is Swedish Stockings tackling this fashion quandary? With a 5 pronged approach which addresses all aspects of the production process:
1. Producing from sustainable materials.
2. Using sustainable production processes.
3. Securing quality.
4. Packing and shipping sustainably.
5. Waste management through recycling.
Over the next few blogs I will be covering each of these areas in some more detail.
But for now, I'll leave you with a question. Materials like nylon are prevalent throughout the fashion industry, not just in hosiery - what other fashion items would you like to see being recycled and reproduced in a sustainable way? Do you know of any other companies that are taking the initiative already? Looking forward to hearing your ideas!