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Tights Are One of Fashion’s Most Disposable Items – Buy Sustainable Hosiery From These Brands Instead

They're said to be the 'single-use plastic of the textile industry.'

Last Updated on July 31, 2022

Many of us are making sustainable swaps to create an ethical and stylish capsule wardrobe, but despite being one of fashion’s biggest culprits when it comes to our environment, tights are still going under the radar.

Daniel Clayton, Managing Director of Legwear Company, told the Guardian in 2019 that tights are ‘the single-use plastic of the textile industry’ and estimated that there’s around ‘103,000 tons of hosiery waste created every year around the world … the equivalent of more than 8,000 double-decker buses.’

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Tights are mostly made from nylon, a synthetic fibre essentially made from plastic.

feet wearing gucci tights

Derived from crude oil, it takes up to 100 years for them to break down – so while consumers will throw their tights away at the sight of one tiny ladder, they will be in landfill for three more decades.

With many labels including Gucci and Fendi releasing monogrammed hosiery and statement tights having a moment, many will be disheartened to hear how damaging tights are for the planet – but luckily, there are people out there doing things differently.

These days, tights can be manufactured in a variety of eco-friendly ways. Whether made from recycled nylon or recycled ocean fishnet, there’s now no excuse not to shop consciously.

So for those looking to change their habits, here are the best stores to shop your tights for a healthier planet.

Wear Next may receive a small commission if you click a link from one of our articles onto a retail website and make a purchase.

Swedish Stockings

woman wears swedish stockings sustainable tights

Swedish Stockings offer tights made from pre and post-consumer nylon waste.

All their tights are manufactured in zero-waste factories powered by the sun and renewable energy, using vegan dyes and purifying water used in the dyeing process after use.

They also have a recycling program, offering customers who send them 3 pairs of synthetic tights from any brand a 10% discount in return.

Instead of simply throwing your tights into landfill, Swedish Stockings will melt them down and use them as filling in fibreglass tanks.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that their ethical and sustainable approach to tights must make them boring. They collaborated with Ganni to create a capsule collection of sustainable tights featuring the Danish brand’s eclectic prints, while they have a variety of statement tights of their own too.

Shop Swedish Stockings here.

Svea premium tights swedish stockings

Tights, £20 – buy now

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Pretty Polly


Biodegradable tights, £15 – buy now

Everyone knows Pretty Polly, but did you know that they’ve upped their sustainability game and now stock biodegradable tights, leggings and underwear?

These tights will biodegrade in 3-5 years when properly disposed of in landfill, as they’re made from biodegradable polyamide – the first in the world.

If you’re worried they’ll start disintegrating as you wear them, there’s no need. This process only happens when they’re disposed of, so until then, you can wear them to your heart’s content.

Shop Pretty Polly here.

Legwear Company

20 Denier 2 Pack legwear company

20 Denier 2 Pack, £29.99 – buy now

Aussie brand Legwear Company offer sustainable tights, made from melting and extracting elastane found in the nylon fibre blend.

Unlike the majority of hosiery sold on the high street Legwear Co. offer a 60-day warranty, meaning you can return tights you’re unsatisfied with free of charge. While a 2-pack of 50 denier tights made from recycled materials will set you back nearly £30, that makes it well worth the higher price tag.

They also offer the chance for customers to recycle old synthetic tights with a pre-paid postage label, making it as easy as possible to do your bit.

Shop Legwear Co. here.

Billi London

Coco Biodegradable Billi London
Billi London

Tights, £25 – buy now

Despite being a relatively unknown brand, Billi London are making waves by offering the world’s first 100% biodegradable tights, which decompose after just five years – instead of 40-100 like regular tights.

Billi London’s tights break down into organic matter and biogas, making them disappear completely.

They currently have two pairs available: 30 denier and the patterned design seen above, while they also sell tights boxes containing two pairs for a discounted prices.

Shop Billi London here.


bamboo essential plain tights

Tights, £18.95 – buy now

From mustard yellow, to classic black, Thought offer a variety of wooly tights spun from bamboo yarn and recycled polyester.

Bamboo is said to be both breathable and naturally anti-bacterial, making them even fresher than regular tights.

Shop Thought here.

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