Heist Studios, the reinventor of tights, raises £2m to disrupt underwear sector

One of the few modern luxury brands to be found outside New York, London-based Heist Studios, the reinventor of tights, has raised £2m from the leading venture investors in the online fashion space.

Investors including Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter; the New York fund, 14W; the founders of Innocent; and Pembroke VCT, the fund behind the eponymous fashion brand, ALEXACHUNG have backed the women underwear disrupter.

Heist launched in late 2015 on a mission to disrupt the women’s underwear market. The company started by innovating in hosiery, working with a group of 67 women over 12 months and making 196 samples to create a seamless, 3D knitted design that borrows from Italian sportswear.

Heist tights are invisible under clothes, with their only seam sewn at the base of the foot rather than at the tips of the toes. Heist tights have a 5000 thread count, compared to the standard 500.

Since launch, the business has sold over 100,000 pairs of tights from its UK base, and has been growing at 25% month on month. The company has received a number of accolades, with Vogue telling its readers that “Heist lives up to the hype,” and STYLE magazine naming them the “unequivocal winner” in their luxury tights test.

The new funds are to be used to expand the team and Heist’s already international footprint from 35 countries to become a truly global business. Heist’s CEO, Toby Darbyshire says, “In underwear, there are a number of items that need modernising. We have started with tights but will in time seek to address other garments that have been long overlooked for an upgrade.”

According to Statista, the global underwear market in 2016 was £54 billion, with research from Global Industry Analysts Inc. forecasting the global market for hosiery alone to exceed $27 billion.

Darbyshire adds, “Our long-term goal is to build an underwear brand for the modern woman and we’re really excited to bring the experience of industry icons like Natalie and the Innocent founders into the firm, alongside some of the best Venture Capitalists in the business.”