A London based brand Heist Studios is on its mission to transform the underwear industry with its innovative tights collection, designed to provide women with an ultimate solution for comfort and style. The company offers four different designs available in sizes UK 4-24, created using a variety of knitting machines.
The brand currently despatches a pair of Heist tights every 15 seconds and has other underwear product lines launching later this year.
Made using 5K spiral yarn, 10 times the typical number of nylon spirals per inch of elastane, Heist tights are crafted with a modern consumer in mind. The brand, which launched in 2015, worked with 67 women in a year-long quest to redefine ordinary tights by creating a product that would marry innovative design, soft feel and functionality.
“There were three main things that came out of these conversations,” explained Ellie Howard, Head of Community at Heist. “The first one was that these women wanted to stop their tights digging in at the waist.”
“So, we came up with a waistband inspired by a pair of yoga leggings, which is a separate component to the legs of our tights. We knit that using a dedicated circular knitting machine in a wavy line, then we fold the waistband over so it is doubled, which is incredibly adaptable and flexible, fitting neatly onto the waist,” she said. For the first tights design, the company completed 15 rounds of sampling to test yarn quality, waistband depth, waistband stretch, seam quality, length and fit, and wash.
“The second thing was that these women really wanted to stop their tights from itching the back of their thighs,” said Ms Howard. “So, we changed the yarn…we used 5,000 nylon spirals per inch of elastane, as opposed to 500. And then we slowed down our knitting machines to 400 rotations per minute. This way, we achieved a more even coverage and reduced the chances of missing a stitch.”
The company chose a specially texturised nylon wrapped around an inner core of stretchy elastane. A spool of this yarn takes three and a half weeks to make, adding more time to the production process, which, according to the company, is worth the final product made to meet women’s needs.
“And finally, women we spoke to wanted their tights to stop slipping down all day,” Ms Howard continued. The brand addrsessed this problem by getting rid of the seams. Instead of knitting, cutting and stitching together two legs, the company uses a 3D knitting technique, to produce a single, long tube. “We knit the tights as a toe-to-toe tube, and then we snip it in the middle and attach the waistband, so all we have is a seam just at the beginning and end of the tube, so that’s two toes.”
The toe seam is then tucked under the foot. The brand uses different types of stitching to hand-sew the waistband onto the legs of the tights, choosing between overlock and flatlock depending on size, to make sure it is appropriately stretchy