Changing public perception of a product through smart storytelling

Stockings are one of the world’s most universally popular fashion garments, constantly reimagined and adapting to the trends and styles of each decade. Designed to be worn a handful of times only and quickly replaced, this easily disposable clothing item is made from inexpensive, non-biodegradable textiles.

Unfortunately, each year, two billion pairs of tights are produced, worn once and then discarded. This helps to make the textile industry the second most polluting industry in the world after oil.

As a result, landfills everywhere are twisted up with modern pantyhose made from nylon yarn, which is created from an environmentally harmful petroleum-based manufacturing process that leads to damaging carbon emissions. Not only are they bad for the planet, they don’t last. But that wasn’t always the story of stockings.

Entrepreneur Nadja Forsberg was working in the TV industry and became fascinated with the way stockings production had evolved over the years. "When they were invented in the 1920s, women’s pantyhose were knitted from fine materials such as silk, and carefully worn and stored, like a good quality suit. Women valued their pantyhose and kept them for years. Many stored them in paper, and if ever damaged, they had them repaired by tailors."

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The turning point for the industry came in the 1940s, with the introduction of nylon in manufacturing by chemical company DuPont. Almost overnight, the hosiery industry was transformed by a much cheaper material, perfect for mass production, easy disposability and vast commercial success. Soon up to four million pairs of stockings were being sold around the world every day.

In 2013, determined to set a new agenda, Nadja Forsberg teamed up with a friend Linn Frisinger to reinvent production of one of the world’s most popular fashion garments. Convinced that disposability should not be the goal for any item of clothing, they created Swedish Stockings, the world’s first sustainable hosiery company.

"Inspired by the rituals of the 1920s, Swedish Stockings are beautifully designed, high quality and long-lasting pantyhose - but founded on a deeper, more holistic concept. This hosiery is produced in the most eco-friendly way possible - from recycled waste in solar-powered factories using environmentally friendly dyes and water that is purified before being sent back into the environment."

Read: The Dollar Shave CLub guide to storytelling

Nadja and Linn’s vision created a powerful story behind the Swedish Stockings brand which their customers also buy into. By being transparent and open with both their intentions and their production techniques, customers don’t just buy a pair Swedish Stockings, they become involved.

How Swedish Stockings are made

Swedish Stockings are created from the by-product of other nylon products that are non-biodegradable. Not only is this recycling process highly efficient, it also means a big reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • 87.6 per cent less energy is produced compared to normal nylon production.
  • Production is driven by solar panels (25 per cent of the total energy needs, The rest of the energy is from green production).
  • No extra water is used to create stockings or 18.M3/Ton yarn of water saved.
  • Factories are zero waste.
  • All water used in dyeing is purified, then recycled back and once treated, flows back into the agricultural landscape.

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Consumers play a role in the story

As consumers, every time we buy something, we vote for how it has been made. But with Swedish Stockings that’s not the only way to get involved.

Anyone can send their old stockings (purchased from any retailer) to Swedish Stockings and they’ll ensure they’re recycled rather than ending up in landfill where the non-biodegradable fabric releases CO2 emissions and leeches nasty chemicals into the soil. They’ll grind them down to become grease traps in glass fibre tanks (no one ever said fashion was always glamorous).

Send your old hosiery to:

BIA HÄRDPLAST,

ATTN: SWEDISH STOCKINGS RECYCLING CLUB

ORRTOP, 73189

KÖPING

SWEDEN

Nadja and Linn launched Swedish Stockings as a powerful statement to not only change and influence the entire hosiery industry for good, but as a commitment to closing the loop. In 2016, Swedish Stockings partnered with Virgin Tribe (a global employee programme for the Virgin group) to involve a wider international audience, and continue to build awareness for their vision and their brand.

Help Nadja and Linn as they continue their push to reach more ethical and environmentally sustainable outcomes for their products, while maintaining a sleek aesthetic, great design and directly addressing the biggest challenge our world faces today.

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