Nadja Forsberg and Linn Frisinger, Swedish Stockings. Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg, Swedish Stockings.

Nadja Forsberg: “Our main goal is, and always has been, to be able to close the loop. But it’s hard!”

Swedish Stockings is no doubt pioneering the market for sustainably produced pantyhose, challenging an industry that is proven to be quite reluctant to change. Co-founder Nadja Forsberg talks to us about the difficulties in trying to be conscious and environmentally friendly in every step—bringing it full circle.

“I got the idea for Swedish Stockings in the summer of 2012, after watching a documentary called ‘The Light Bulb Conspiracy’. At this time, I was working at SVT. The film highlighted the fact that products are purposely designed to age quickly in order to boost general consumption. Pantyhose where brought up as an example of something that used to be a high quality product—tailors even repaired them in the 1950s—and that is now a common wear-and-tear.
In the winter of 2013, I pitched my idea to Linn, who is now my business partner, and she got really excited. Knowing that pantyhose are a petroleum product, and that the production of these is very harmful to the environment, we decided to create Swedish Stockings—a sustainable hosiery brand for modern, conscious women.

For us, the first six months were all about research: finding the right supplier of yarn and the right manufacturer. This phase turned out to be quite challenging since the hosiery market wasn’t, and still isn’t, at the forefront when it comes to sustainability. Simply trying to do things in a new way turned out to be the most difficult part. We’re always looking for new innovations and materials, while the manufacturers sometimes tend to be a bit more ‘comfortable’. Being first-movers, we’re clearly messing with their routines.

« We’re always looking for new innovations and materials, while the manufacturers sometimes tend to be a bit more ‘comfortable’. Being first-movers, we’re clearly messing with their routines »

Our main goal is, and always has been, to be able to close the loop. But it’s hard! Pantyhose are made from a mix of polyamide and elastane, and in order to fully recycle disposed pantyhose, and make them into new ones, we need to separate the elastane from the polyamide in the melting process. This is a real bitch.
So until we can manage this process, and thereby close the loop entirely, we’ve started a recycling program to bridge the gap. This means that we collect hosiery from all over the world, no matter the brand, and grind them down to use as filler material in glass fiber tanks that can, for example, be used as grease traps in restaurants. In this way, we’re preventing pantyhose from ending up as landfill, and prolong their lifecycle. It’s not very sexy, but it’s sustainable!

Quality and design is as important to us as a sustainable production process, and we believe it’s only a matter of time before sustainability becomes essential to any business model. However, it can be quite hard finding the right balance in communicating this. We want to educate our customers in the right way, and never shame them for not choosing sustainably.”

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Swedish Stockings_pantyhose Photos courtesy of Swedish Stockings.

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