Heist: The hosiery rebel shooting straight from the hip
Heist Studios was born in an old Spitfire factory in London with a simple aim – to reimagine tights. Today, their tights are designed in the English capital and hand sewn in their factories in northern Italy before being lovingly sent all over the world. Style and fashion expert Jake Daniels takes a look at the brand’s incredible story.
Heist Studios was created with a simple yet profoundly simple aim – to rethink comfort in tights and create the first pair of tights one would want to wear, tights that offered nothing less than radical comfort.
The starting point in creating the perfect pair of tights, came from a group of 67 women – including artists, fashionistas, lawyers, film producers and surgeons. Heist asked them all what they didn’t like about their tights and spent eight months working ceaselessly with yarn mills, designers and small factories in Northern Italy until they fixed each and every issue they raised…
When Heist’s customers open up the beautiful box (no cellophane in sight), unwrap the tights and put them on – they will immediately understand the concept of the brand and the idea and aesthetic behind it.
To achieve radical comfort, Heist tights have three key design features. Firstly, Heist tights have a seamless architecture construction that fits you like a second skin. Secondly, (tackling the number one complaint that the waistband on tights cuts into the sides) Heist created an “Endless Loop Waistband” that comes in two heights and is made from seamless loop of incredibly soft satin touch material, hand-sewn onto the body of the tights. And finally, Heist tights use an Ultra High Spiral Count Yarn that banishes any irritations and soothes your skin. The yarn is sourced from mills in Northern Italy and has around 10 times the spiral count (equivalent to thread count in sheets) of your average high-street pair. Heist tights are designed in London and hand-sewn in Castel Goffredo, a small, medieval village in Italy.
Heist founder and CEO Edzard van der Wyck is a film producer who used to work with the iconic director Chris Cunningham. Heist came into existence after he couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a better quality of tights for his wife to buy. He also felt there could be a more intelligent articulation of feminine beauty than the lingerie space typically allows. So he set about to commission some of the most exciting young artists and film-makers to give their articulation of feminine beauty – and their #FramedbyHeist project forms the central part of the brand both on their @HeistStudios Instagram account and in the gallery on their website. Heist starts at £19 (with free worldwide delivery).
I spoke with Julia van der Wyck (Edzard’s wife), who told me: “When Edzard first asked me whether I enjoyed wearing my tights, I thought it was a bizarre question as tights were never something I’ve ever given much thought to. They’ve never been an item of clothing I cared much about and certainly not an item that brought me ‘joy’ in the way a new coat or dress would. They are more of a practicality, something you wear underneath a dress when it’s cold out, something you wear to work to when needing to look professional, something you quickly slink out of before revealing that lingerie set that you did think about. A lot.
“However, the more I thought about tights, the more I realised that there were many more things I hated about wearing tights than liked. The waistband cutting the belly in half, the surgical scar at the end of the day, the inevitable itchy behind at work making you want to rip them off right there and then even if you go for the most expensive ones (and I do). When Edzard asked me what I did like, I thought long and hard. They keep me warm and perhaps a bit more supported.”
She added: “I consulted my friend who all felt the same. It seemed like everybody had just grown to accept the dreaded practicality that is tights. But why couldn’t tights be more comfortable, sexy and enjoyable? We expect our bra to fit perfectly without pinching, our jeans to be comfortable and sexy so why are we putting up with tights?
“So Edzard set out to fix it. For all of us. And Heist tights are the result. No more cutting waistband, bye bye to surgical scars and they look great with (or without!) that lacy lingerie underneath. I’ve helped prototype them but after sending a pair to all of my friends, let’s just say they, like me, are unequivocal converts!”