Challenge anyone to a game of hosiery word association, and you'll likely be met with ‘ladders’ and ‘shiny’ at best, and ‘saggy’ and ‘crotch digging’ at the worst. All are familiar predicaments, and ones that Heist Studios founder, Edzard van der Wyck, picked up on through his wife’s struggles with said garments. Seeing this very clear gap in the market, he – alongside co-founder Toby Darbyshire – set out to do something about it...

Ever since, Heist Studios has been well on the road to reshaping perceptions of how tights can look and feel – priding itself on an inclusive range of skin tones, and premium-comfort hand-sewn silhouettes that promise no annoying rolling, no irksome gusset, no visible seams and no painful digging. And the innovation doesn’t stop there.

Image courtesy of Heist Studios and Mafalda Silva.

Through its first bricks-and-mortar space, the brand continues to hunt down new and interesting ways of doing things; in what marks an all-time first for hosiery, it is inviting its customers to try a brand new pair of tights before they part with their money and buy them. Head of Retail, Joanna Bell, tells us more…

Heist Studios’ try-before-you-buy concept is a first in hosiery. Why were you compelled to test the waters with this approach?
We have so much confidence in our products! We truly believe that if a customer tries them on, they’ll be completely converted. There’s not a shadow of a doubt in our minds.

In the unlikely instance that someone does decide that they don’t like them, we’ll donate them to our partner charitySmart Works, who provides quality interview clothing to long-term unemployed women to help get them back into the workplace.

Image courtesy of Heist Studios and Mafalda Silva.

Why the shift to bricks-and-mortar?
We have such an engaged audience online and we really wanted to engage with them in store, too. As a direct-to-consumer brand, it’s not enough to just be online; we want to have various touch points with our customers, so we’re inviting them to come into store and take our tights for a ‘test-run’.

Tell us a bit more about the process of creating your ‘seven shades of nude’.
We like to be game-changers. We asked 85,000 women from across the world to submit pictures of their skin tones to us. From these, we worked out about 1000 unique shades, and then – working with data scientists – we were able to narrow these down to seven customised shades that covered the full gamut of 1000. 

Click here to discover Heist Studios for yourself, or visit the new space at 46 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9LE.

In case you missed it, Claire Miles (Buying Director and Head of The Shop at Bluebird), give us her insight into the growth of London's legendary boutique