Design student Anna Herrmann has made a chair by weaving pairs of laddered tights onto a steel frame.
Herrman's brief while studying at the University of Applied Sciences Aachen was to create a new product out of an existing, familiar everyday object by modifying its characteristics and putting it into a new context.
Her personal ambition was to develop a long-lasting product out of a typically disposable commodity.
"Due to their high liability to ladder, sheer tights are only in short-term usage and therefore were ideal for my purposes," said the designer, who was inspired to use the material when she noticed how often her friends complained about the amount of tights they repeatedly had to buy.
By using traditional weaving techniques, Herrmann was able to repurpose the delicate material into something more robust, while maintaining its elasticity.
She intended to only use old tights, sourced from friends and friends of friends, but in the end had to buy about half the pairs required for the project.
The chair's frame consists of six- and 12-millimetre steel bars, while the seat and back are made from approximately 60 pairs of tights woven directly onto the frame. "It was very exiting to see how completely different the material looked after it had been woven," said Herrmann, who made the piece by hand.
Although the designer deliberately decided to use only traditional nude and black colours associated with sheer tights, she said that many people don't recognise the material at first glance. Few believe the seat will take their weight.
"They are only thinking of the fragility that normally is associated with tights," said the designer. "I found that very interesting, because the chair is actually really stable.
"The techniques of a traditional weaving loom are used to guarantee the solidity of the fabric – and the seat benefits from the textile’s elasticity, enabling it to adapt to every user," she added.
The chair is even made with smooth edges throughout to ensure it won't ladder any more hosiery. "I wanted to use old tights to create a chair that doesn't 'harm' more tights," she said.
Tights have previously been stretched across the walls of a pop-up store in Melbourne, while a conceptual pen that mends damaged clothes by "printing" over rips and tears could one day make laddered tights a thing of the past.