Meet the Changemakers - Imperfect Pointes

Driving sustainable change in the fashion and dancewear industry requires collaboration and innovation. For us at Swedish Stockings, partnership is the key to inspiring other brands to create sustainable products without compromising quality and design. In our Meet the Changemakers series, we highlight our friends and partners who share our vision and work for a more sustainable future.

Sustainable dancewear company Imperfect Pointes is one of those partners — we have been proudly partnering up with the brand as a supplier of ballet tights since 2022. Their journey began when founder Helen Banks started designing her own dance attire after becoming frustrated with the cheap, non-sustainable options on the market. Since their debut collection in 2020, they've achieved significant success, including collaborations with the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House in London, as well as our own partnership focusing on sustainable ballet tights.

We spoke to Helen Banks, founder of Imperfect Pointes, about their journey, sustainability goals and future ambitions.

Swedish Stockings and Imperfect Pointes
Tell us the story behind Imperfect Pointes

When my young daughter started ballet, I was shocked at the amount of cheap leotards & tights on the market, from brands based on a 'fast fashion' model. Frustrated with the lack of sustainable options out there,  I thought, “i can do this” and started designing my own. After getting laid off from my sportswear job, at start of Covid, l left the corporate world & decided to take on the dancewear industry. Imperfect Pointes was born. Our debut collection launched late 2020.It’s been a phenomenal 3 1/2  years for our start -up, including a year long brand collaboration with a Royal Ballet Principal dancer , followed by an activewear collection with the Royal Opera House in London and now our long term partnership with Swedish Stockings.  

How far has the dancewear industry come when it comes to sustainability? 

Unfortunately, not that far at all. There’s still very much a “fast fashion” approach and focusing on cheap, rather than high quality, particularly with tights. Imperfect Pointes is considered something of a pioneer in the industry and we’ve made it our mission to bring about change. In many ways, the industry is still very set in its ways but we are determined  to show that, even as a small brand, (a challenger brand, you could say) we can make a real difference and want other dancewear brands to do the same.

Swedish Stockings and Imperfect Pointes

What does sustainability mean to you at Imperfect Pointes? 

Sustainability means not destroying the planet in the name of consuming more stuff. Sustainability is the thread that runs through our whole business, it was one of the key considerations when founding the brand. It is built into the design of all our high end products which means they are made for longevity. We want dancers to love our dancewear and wear it for a long time. Everyone has to take responsibility for what we buy and change our habits by buying less but choosing better quality from ethical brands. We always consider every aspect, from the workers in our supply chain to using composable packaging and always know the details on where our products come from and where they end up. 

How did the partnership with Swedish Stockings begin? 

I’ve been a fan and customer of Swedish Stockings since Linn started the brand 10 years ago. I love the stylish designs and the ethos behind the brand and the concept of being able to recycle my old tights really appealed to me, so I joined as an ambassador. When I founded Imperfect Pointes, creating beautiful ballet leotards for dancers, I recognised a gap in the market for sustainably made ballet tights. Ballerinas go through so many pairs that end up in landfills, I decided to reach out to Swedish Stockings to collaborate on ballet tights. We chose the best selling Olivia tights model for its durability and unique deep waistband. Then we set about making a perfectly sized hole in the bottom of the foot that dancers use to transition to a footless tight in the studio. 

What are your ambitions for the future? 

I would like to see more examples of big ( and small) ballet companies globally switching to Imperfect Pointes x Swedish Stockings ballet tights. I want to see our tights becoming the go-to industry standard due to great design and longevity which benefits both dancers and the planet. 

Swedish Stockings and Imperfect Pointes

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