McWilliams sisters launch Scottish tights enterprise
Slide your pins into some hand-printed, quirked-up, made-in-Scotland hosiery, suggests Anna Burnside
For anyone who has stifled a yawn as they pulled on their winter opaques, or left John Lewis’s hoisery department bored and empty handed, help is here. The hoisery cavalry, in the shape of cousins Nikki and Danni McWilliams, are charging into the underwear drawers of the nation, bringing edgy colours, kooky prints and a judicious sprinkling of Swarovski to brighten up dreary legs.
Together the McWilliams are Tights for Sore Eyes, making magnificently bonkers hand-printed tights and pop socks for sale at the coolest craft sales and online at their Folksy shop. The pair messed about with sewing machines as little girls, grew up and went to Duncan of Jordanstone to study fine art (Nikki) and Heriot Watt to learn clothing design and manufacture (Danni). Nikki had already started making and selling wacky printed textiles and when Danni graduated it was only natural that they should get together and design hoisery featuring teapots, moustaches and custard creams.
‘The way we process them is not a commercial way of producing anything,’ she says. ‘They are for people who appreciate one-off things: hand made, hand screen printed. It’s all been done on a local level. Anybody can get tights from Primark. We wanted to make something that was unique and affordable at the same time,’
That is an understatement: nothing costs more than £15 and everything from the packaging to the pressing is done by either Danni or Nikki. The results are something you certainly don’t see on the high street. Foxy mink pop socks with twinkly crystals. Plum or bottle green tights with ankle-height cityscapes and tiny stars – also crystals – sprinkled up the leg. Violent yellow tights with a toxic factory on one knee and skull and crossbones on the other.
There is nothing the McWilliams like better than matching a customer’s legs with the perfect shade of violet and a whale spouting water thighwards. ‘The best bit is when you think, that’s the right pair of tights for that person, they’re going to love them.’