Did you know there are 2 billion pairs of nylon stockings produced every year? Often these nylons are worn only once and then discarded. Nylon tights are made with petroleum which is super polluting and environmentally damaging. Obviously, this is hugely wasteful and part of the problem of fast fashion in general, but for me, nylons are really tricky. They help protect my legs in the winter. I don’t buy nylons planning to throw them out after one use. The fabric is so thin they rip super easily. I’ve put on a pair of nylon tights and had them rip immediately and had to throw them away. Super wasteful. So I’ve gone looking for more sustainable options for the tights I wear so much, and you’ll be pleased to learn, there are options.
Swedish Stockings are nylons made with recycled yarn. They are made some of the best environmental practices including eco-friendly dyes, solar power, and post-dye water treatments, no extra water used, and the factories are zero-waste. They use 87% less energy than normal nylon production. Another plus! These pantyhose don’t rip immediately and are made to last.
These tights are an alternative to straight nylon yarn. They are made with bamboo-derived nylon and recycled polyester. But they still feel cottonish. Thought Clothing employs ethical garment workers and has strong, lasting relationships with the people they employ.
These tights are bright and the total opposite of mass-produced hosiery. Every pair is made on antique handlooms in Italy. The materials are cashmere, linen, silk, alpaca, all biodegradable and natural.
Fairtrade and slow made, these tights from Nomads are super affordable and very ethical. They are by ethically paid artisans with azo-free dyes and nylon. Celebrating traditional artisan skills is still a core element of our design process – from handloom textiles to intricate embroidery detail.
Smartwool tights are made with the same ethically sourced natural merino wool that fills most of Smartwool’s product line. Wool is a natural material, which means it will degrade naturally, but Smartwool goes further. Their merino wool partners are New Zealand Merino, who makes sure that their wool is fully traceable and New Zealand Merino Company which has developed the world’s first merino accreditation program that focuses on best environmental practices, animal welfare, and social and economic sustainability. The sheep the merino wool is sourced from live free-range lives, are ethically treated, and mulesing-free, and the farmers receive a fair price for their wool.
Dear Denier uses tech to turn waste nylon into new tights, they also have tights that come from bio-organic nylons, man-made fibers with that are produced sustainably, and natural fibers. They try to work with the best fabric suppliers and look for GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and Global Recycled Standard certifications, to name a few. They produce their tights in Italy at a zero-waste factory that runs on solar power.
Kunert Fashion is a yarn company that has made tights for over a hundred years, and while most of their options wouldn’t fall into the sustainable category, their latest partnership with ECONYL has me super excited. The Kunert Blue line of tights is made with 100% ECONYL yarn, that comes from recycled fishing lines, and is delivered to you in ecological packaging.
A sustainable Finnish brand that is releasing their line of hosiery Made in Italy this coming month. Their production is REACH Certified, and they source sustainable natural materials with Oeko-Tex® and GOTS® certifications.
I scrolled by this brand on Instagram and was immediately drawn to their bright colors, and cool patterns like the tattoo nylons featured above. They are designed by Vilma Wallinmaa who up-cycles products to prevent new waste. The printing is done with various recycled and ecological printing services.
Another established brand that is dabbling in sustainability. They have recently released Cradle to Cradle Certified™ certified leggings that will biodegrade at the end of their life. They use sustainable, bio-organic, and natural materials when possible. They have signed the Klimaaktiv Agreement and are currently using a hot water and steam system that saved 300 tons of CO2 production last year. They’ve also been working with Bluesign to eliminate unsustainable substances throughout their supply chain.