Old Fishing Nets and Carpet Fluff Becomes High Quality Hosiery
Swedish Stockings make conscious pantyhose out of recycled materials using sustainably certified methods. End of October, they’ll be launching their new 20 denier "Elin".
To recycle fabrics made from mixed textile fibers is still very difficult and sometimes flat out impossible. Such is the case with polyamide and elastane blends, which are the two main components of most pantyhose today. This makes running a closed loop practice pretty complicated, but not at all hopeless.
Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg of Swedish Stockings have walked that extra mile to produce the most sustainable stockings possible. Going through long and costly processes (having a lot to do with chemistry) to develop their high quality product range, they set an example for what a circular and sustainable business should look like today.
One of their most recent “breakthroughs” has resulted in a pair of 20 denier stockings, partly made from old fishing nets and carpet fluff. We figured this would make for an interesting conversation.
What can you tell us about the 20 denier stockings called “Elin”?
– Our new 20 denier stocking comes in black and three nude colors. They’re made from ECONYL® yarn, which is a nylon 6.6 (polyamide) yarn produced from pre and post consumer waste. The post consumer waste either comes from carpet fluff, or abandoned or spent fishing nets.
Are recycled stockings in 20 denier more difficult to make than ones with a higher denier?
– Yes, and that’s the reason why we haven’t launched products thinner than 40-denier until now. Developing them has been a long and expensive process.
How have you sourced the ocean nets, and what’s the process of turning them into stockings like?
– The nets are sourced through special projects by the company that produces the ECONYL® yarn. The nets undergo a depolymerisation process that separates the nylon from other fibers in the net, and the recycled fiber is extruded from that.
What in your minds make a good pair of stockings, and what should we look for when shopping?
– Always look for good quality! The difference between cheap pantyhose and more expensive ones has everything to do with quality. In our case, the price is also determined by the fact that all our production is located in Europe, and that our factories have multiple environmental and social certificates. Also look for companies that are transparent about how they do business. Before you buy a product, it’s important to know where and how it’s made, and under what conditions. It’s super important to support businesses that are looking to make a difference, so that other businesses can follow suit.
What are your best tips for how to make ones stockings last?
– We have a webpage dedicated to this now, where you can read all our best tips! Some basic pointers, however, would be to hand wash them, or wash on a gentle 30°C cycle with mild detergent and no softeners; then lay out to dry. We often wear socks over our stockings to prevent friction from the shoes, and some people wear socks underneath their stockings to prevent their toes from poking holes in them. Avoid unnecessary friction at all costs! Stockings are super delicate, and even highest quality ones will eventually rip if you’re not careful.
What should we do with old stockings that we want to get rid of?
– You can send them to us (click here to find out how)! Once we receive your package, you get a 30% discount code to use on your next purchase. Currently there is no way of turning old pantyhose into new ones since the technology for separating nylon from elastane doesn’t exist yet. So we collect old stockings and grind them down to use as filler material in glass fiber tanks for industrial oil and grease traps.
What will be your next step towards becoming an even more sustainable brand?
– There are so many things we could do to become more sustainable, which is why we’re so excited about the future. If only the technology for separating elastane from nylon existed, we’d be able to fully close the loop by recycling old pantyhose into new ones. We don’t think this is far away though. Fingers crossed.
– Then there are little things—some which are already in the works—like redesigning our packaging, expanding our range of materials with natural fibers, and teaming up with other brands to get them on board the sustainability train.
The fibers used for the Elin stockings are made in Slovenia but knitted and dyed in Italy with sustainably certified methods and materials. Read more about their production here or shoot them an email or to get all the facts!
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