Big reveal: sustainable fashion is not all shoes and bags. The base of our outfits – lingerie, socks, and tights – are crucial to the foundation of our style. When it comes to sustainability and an ethical mindset, there are many more brands working with accessories and even apparel, rather than offering these all-important staples. But there are exceptions, and one of them is UK-based Hëdoīne – a label focusing on creating beautifully made, durable tights that you'll reach for over and over again.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
Durable, soft and sag-free, Hëdoīne's hosiery is addressing every pain point that, as tights-wearers, we've all faced on many occasions. The brand also offers a biodegradable range made in Italy, using a yarn that is compostable at the end of its lifespan.
Founders Alexandra Tymann and Anna Alexanian created the label in 2018 after coming from quite diverse backgrounds: Alexandra was a restructuring consultant, assessing distressed companies' business models, as well as at a startup incubator, both which laid a great ground for running her own business. Anna worked in banking, with names such as JP Morgan, in places such as London, Singapore and Frankfurt. “All of these experiences prepared me well for my role as a co-founder of Hëdoīne,” says Alexandra. “I feel incredibly lucky to have had such a diverse background and to have learned so much along the way. And, of course, I'm always eager to learn more!”
Anna echoes this. “All of these experiences prepared me well for my role as a co-founder of Hëdoīne. I was able to bring my financial expertise, my passion for innovation, my experience on scaling businesses and working in fast-paced, high-growth environments to the table. And now, I'm excited to continue learning, growing, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible with Hëdoīne.”
So how did the entrepreneurs get the idea to start their brand? “It all started with a question: why are female brands either too sexy, too cute, too boring, or too serious? Where was the modern woman of today, who is witty, playful, driven, and yet still feminine? We felt like there was a gap in the market, and we wanted to fill it with a brand that combined all of those qualities - modern femininity, if you will.” These questions became the initial spark that brought Hëdoīne to life: “We wanted to launch a brand that would innovate and create products for this persona, products that would make women feel confident, comfortable, and stylish. And that's when we had our lightbulb moment: we realised that one product that women wear all the time, but never really think about, is tights. We've all worn tights at some point, and let's be honest – they can be super annoying! So we started talking to women and asking them about their experiences with tights. And what we heard confirmed our suspicions–- women were looking for a better option.”
Oh, how true that is indeed. Hands up who hasn't ever had tights sliding down, sagging, digging in, or being otherwise uncomfortable. And what about durability? Most high-street tights break in no time, frustratingly often when you need them the most. But perhaps the biggest pain point when it comes to tights is fit – most of the above problems can be easily attributed to the garment not fitting correctly. When it came to perfecting Hëdoīne's products, Anna and Alexandra focused on perfecting fit: “There have been many challenges along our journey with Hëdoīne, but one that stands out in particular was creating tights that actually fit and stay where they are suppose to. We knew that creating the perfect fitting pair was critical to our success - after all, there's nothing worse than tights that don't fit properly!”
But the entrepreneurs soon found that creating the perfect fit was anything but easy: “We spent months researching and testing different sizing, but nothing seemed to work quite right. We wanted to create a system that was accurate and easy to use, and that would accommodate a diverse range of body types.” Never ones to settle, Alexandra and Anna consulted textile engineers and pattern makers until reaching a solution: “We created a low and high waistband that fits the majority of body shapes and creates a personalised fit for each individual customer as you can place the waistband on your hips where it fits best for you.” The road to the finished product, however, was not simple, but it paid off: “Creating this waistband wasn't easy – it required a lot of research, testing, and development, as well as a significant investment in technology. But we were determined to make it work, and in the end, our innovative waistband was a huge success. It set us apart from our competitors and helped us to build a loyal customer base. It's just one example of how we're always pushing the boundaries of what's possible with Hëdoīne, and never settling for anything less than the best.”
When it comes to the person they design for, Anna and Alexandra have modern womanhood in mind: “We truly believe that everyone should feel empowered and confident in their own skin, and we want our products to reflect this belief, uplifting and elevating our customers. That's why we reinvented luxury hosiery that's designed to fit like a second skin, providing both comfort and support all day long, and looking amazing whilst doing so!” They quickly add: “Our commitment to quality doesn't stop there. We're also dedicated to ethical production practices and sustainable materials, so you can feel good about your purchase in more ways than one.”
And this is how their biodegradable line, made for the conscious consumer, came about. Today's fashion lovers scrutinise their clothing, more curious than ever about its journey. So working with a yarn that is compostable speaks to that consumer, and keeps the brand on the forefront of what is still a very niche area of sustainable fashion: hosiery and its impact. The environmental issues connected to tights mainly derive from its lack of biodegradability, which was a focus for Hëdoīne. Their biodegradable nylon breaks down into organic matter thanks to the natural functioning of bacteria in anaerobic conditions. The process takes up to five years.
The founders agree that the future looks bright. “We're on a mission to innovate and create the best possible products for modern women,” they conclude. “We're always pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and we're never satisfied with the status quo. And we're just getting started!”
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her or listen to her podcast Catwalk Rebel. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
All images via Hëdoīne
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