Latest tweets from Heist Studios

Heist Studios

Rethinking what we wear

Sector: Futurefashion

Heist believes that underwear can be an instrument of progress. While many industries understand today's world’s desire for autonomy, choice and freedom, women’s underwear has lagged behind. Effectively, all women are living in underwear inadequate to their time.

“We believe that radical innovation in underwear design can ensure that every woman, every day, is living in underwear that allows her to progress in the way that she demands in every other area of her life. That’s why our designs are built on an understanding of how bodies move, not just how they look.
This approach led us to reimagine the most mundane wardrobe staple, a pair of tights, into a product that redefines superiority in comfort and fit for every female body. We’re now using polymer physics, computational engineering models and 3D knitwear to reinvent shapewear. Next, we’ll be taking our design ethos to make a bra that actually fits. (Finally!)”

So how do you feel about your tights? That’s pantyhose to our American friends. But Heist is an intriguing  British business, so we’ll go for tights. The category has seen limited innovation. Tights ladder, go baggy, slip down, develop holes in the toes and are pretty uncomfortable, I’m told. Thankfully, Heist is here to change the game.

Heist is on a mission to innovate in underwear. Launched in 2015, tights are its first port of call. The status quo of the industry has been to deliver products that are either practical or sexy. Practical tights meaning your underwear choice and quality of product remains as it did at primary school. Sexy tights (or we could say impractical) are those best saved for fancy dress.

Heist’s team are not fashion insiders and as such they don’t come to work with the pre-existing wisdom of the industry. Instead this start-up is purely concentrating on injecting science into underwear design.

Heist’s ‘intelligent’ tights took 12 months, 197 samples and 67 women to create. It has stolen with pride from the luxe sportswear category to create a waistband that doesn’t make you look like a stuffed sausage. By using a 3D manufacturing technique, Heist eradicates the need to utter the prudish word ‘gusset’ ever again.

So far, so good. Everybody from Vogue to the Huffington Post has given the resulting product the thumbs up. The numbers are looking good too, Heist has raised $2.6 million from Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massenet and top fashion venture capitalists.

One challenge Heist faces is that it’s not obvious what brand of tights somebody is wearing. So to get the word out there, the brand needed to achieve fame.

Heist’s first two above the line campaigns have been bold. The first caused controversy that a feminist brand like Heist can only dream of. Transport for London demanded that the woman’s naked back in their London Underground poster be covered up in post-production.

Heist subsequently complained to the press about blatant double standards (surely a male back wouldn’t be deemed too saucy for somebody commuting on the Piccadilly line?) and the story was picked up by multiple news agencies, catapulting Heist into the public eye.

Embracing the trend for body positivity, Heist’s latest campaign doesn’t feature bodies at all.

“Why do campaigns selling bodywear, lingerie or underwear to women treat them like objects?”, co-founder Edzard van der Wyck told The Drum, “worse than that – objects for men to ogle. We don’t want to sell bodies. We want to sell bodywear.”

Instead this campaign uses different shapes, sizes and the rich texture of fruit to flag that the brand is open to people of all sizes who want to wear tights. This is reflected in Heist’s range which runs inclusively from a UK 4 to 24.

“We may be only two years old, but it’s already been quite a ride. Our first range reinvented the humble pair of tights, delivering 30% month-on-month growth and propelling us into the pages of almost every major European publication. We’re backed by some of the biggest investors in fashion and technology, and on a busy day, we can sell a pair of tights every 15 seconds. Even our tube adverts caused a scandal. Most importantly, we have tens of thousands of customers who genuinely love Heist and the products we develop and ship around the world.”

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