In a new wave of sustainable fashion brands launching across the world, comes Billi London. Specialising in 100% biodegradable tights, leggings and socks, Billi London aims to revolutionise the hosiery industry giving women accessibility to sustainable clothing. The brands focus is on elegant hosiery with a sensual and contemporary feel, modernising traditional tights for the modern woman.
The idea for Billi London came when founder Sophie casually threw away a pair of tights in 2018. Sophie and co-founder Marie decided to create a brand that goes beyond recycling and looks at the wider issues surrounding the industry. Read on to discover more about Billi London, it’s founders and how the brand is shaking up the hosiery industry…
Q: What inspired you to launch Billi London?
Growing up in France in the 90’s, fashion has always been an important part of my life. One morning in November 2018, I once again casually threw away a pair of tights. It hit me then: what are the impacts of my actions on the planet? After some research I realised how damaging tights are for the environment.
So love [for fashion] and frustration [for unsustainable tights] got me thinking. I realised my overconsumption contributed to positioning an industry that I loved so much, as the second worst polluting industry on earth. I then had the most random encounter with Marie (my-cofounder) and we realised we were both equally passionate and frustrated about tights! We decided to join forces in 2019 and that’s how Billi London was born.
Q: What was your experience in fashion before launching the brand?
A: Marie studied at the London College of Fashion and specialised in sustainable fabrics. Sustainable fabric was already an existing and successful solution in fashion, but not yet in the tights industry.
For 18 months we worked with fiber experts to bring an innovative solution to the tights industry. Like any new innovation, it required a lot of trial and error, we went through multiple rounds of prototypes to get it right! We’ve worked hand in hand with our partner in Italy to ensure we could find the correct weaving technique offering premium, durable and comfortable biodegradable tights.
Q: Who is your collection for?
The sustainable, durable and comfortable fashion seekers
Q: What makes Billi London different to other hosiery brands?
A: We are shaping the future of legwear with revolutionary biodegradable tights. We are tackling the waste issue generated by tights at the source. Billi London tights biodegrade in a record time of 5 years, which is up to 20 times faster than traditional tights. They don’t leave microplastics behind during the biodegradation process and will turn into renewable energies, therefore participate in the transition towards a circular economy model.
And most importantly, they are ethically made in Italy with the most premium fibre, a 3D knitted technology and a seamless design to guarantee ultimate comfort and durability.
Q: Can you talk us through the measured taken to create your biodegradable products?
A: The process of manufacturing tights has not adapted to the modern day. As a brand, we reviewed the entire journey of tights, from the design, materials and packaging to how and where women buy and care for them. We wanted to create a manufacturing process which drastically reduces the amount of waste created by tights in landfills.
We are currently applying to get the B Corporation certificate and we’ve been using and applying their guidelines since day 1. Our production line in Italy leaves a beneficial footprint for the planet by minimising or avoiding the use of chemical products and focusing on low energy and water consumption best practices. These are all verified by the HIGG Index, Oeko Tex ® Detox to Zero, Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemical contribution and the SMETA – Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit.
Q: Why was it so important for you to launch tights that were biodegradable?
Each year, 8 billion pairs of tights are produced, worn a few times and discarded. The bigger problem is that it’s impossible to recycle old tights into new ones. It’s impossible to separate nylon and elastane once they have been combined. So tights made with recycled nylon will still not improve the landfill waste issues. The problem is that very few are aware of this and when consumers see ‘recycled tights’, most will assume they are made from old tights. But unfortunately, the industry is not yet a circular industry, meaning that we can’t produce a new pair of tights from old ones.
Of course, recycled nylon helps to reduce the use of raw materials by using post-industrial nylon waste and nylon coming from fishnets. It is a step towards a more sustainable environment but we feel it’s only postponing the waste issue in the tights industry. We want to tackle the problem at its core.
Q: What do you think the future of fashion will look like?
There is definitely a general increase in awareness of how unsustainable the fashion industry is and its impact on climate change. And there are hundreds of studies proving consumers are already operating from a sustainability mindset. Especially since the global pandemic, consumers want to make smarter choices and play their part. But this needs to be a global movement, we have to all fight against fast fashion. It’s not just the consumer’s responsibilities, brands and governments too needs to support and encourage better practices.
I believe blockchains will play a great role in the future of fashion. Our role since launching the brand has been to educate women and men on the impacts that tights specifically have on the planet, and change their rapport with tights from being a disposable afterthought to a sustainable and durable fashion essential. In the process, workers’ rights cannot be forgotten. It’s nonsense to produce with the least impact on the planet if the workers’ rights are not respected. We’re currently considering using blockchain technology to allow our customers to understand the entire lifecycle of our tights and provide full transparency, which is central to our values.
Ready to revolutionise your hosiery? Shop the Billi London collection at Luxury Legs now.