Why is a stocking like a side table? No, it’s not one of the Mad Hatter’s lesser-known riddles – thanks to Swedish Stockings’ recent collaboration with Swedish furniture designer, Gustaf Westman, on the Innovation Table.
Using tights received through Swedish Stockings’ Recycling Club, an initiative that encourages customers to donate used tights from any brand to be recycled into commercial water filtration systems, Westman and Frisinger have created a collection of minimal and functional tables.
“Approximately 2 billion pairs of tights are worn once and then discarded every year [most of which end up in landfills]. We have taken the responsibility upon ourselves to show other hosiery brands how to take responsibility for their products at the end of their life. We hope to inspire, challenge, and change things for the better,” explains Frisinger of her decision to find innovative uses for the tights and socks that have seen better days.
The technology isn’t currently available to recycle old stockings into new, which involves separating polyamide from elastane. The material can be ground down and reformed into objects, however.
“Since tights are a petroleum product and never degrade, they should be recycled just like plastic bottles. We started a recycling program and felt that we just had to do something, we got so many!” Explains Frisinger.
“My dad has a factory that makes oil and grease traps out of fiberglass, so he started to use the tights as filler material in his tanks. It might not be the most glamorous solution but it’s the best one we have right now.”
It’s this solution that influenced the table design. Using the molds available at the factory, the tables start out life in exactly the same way as the fiberglass tanks, though they’re sanded and finished by hand.
“We knew that we were limited to working with cylinders only in order to produce them in Sweden,” says Frisinger. “We told Gustaf about our idea, he started to sketch, and so the process began!”
The result itself is impactful, as the ground and reformed plastic has an appearance that mimics stones and marble – as though the man-made material is trying to return to a more natural form. The tables can be grouped, stacked, or used in isolation, making them distinctive yet versatile. Depending on its size, each one uses from 80 to 350 old tights.
When it comes to finding new uses for old tights, this is just the beginning. “We haven’t decided [the next project] yet, but we have some ideas. We believe that cross-industry collaborations are the way forward and will lead to more sustainable innovations ahead.”
Collaboration is key for Swedish Stockings, who so desperately require innovations in other areas to help make the dream of 100% recycled tights come true.
“Collaboration isn’t only important for our industry, but for all industries. We currently live in a linear economy, so moving into a circular one would be difficult to do alone. For us, we need other industries to help us be sustainable. We all need each other.”
Shop the Swedish Stockings Innovation Table.
To celebrate the launch, Swedish Stockings will stage their first installment of #swedishstockingstalks – a live-streamed conversation on cross-industry collaboration
Three very different Swedish brands across diverse industries – Swedish Stockings, Rscued, and Note Design Studio with moderator Per Styregård will discuss how to collaborate across sectors and develop unique and innovative solutions to problems.
Tune in live on Thursday, June 11th, 2020
4:00pm CEST (3pm GMT, 10am EST)
Please sign up here to receive the link to join in. The link to the discussion will be sent out one day before the event.
The talk will be live-streamed in English.