Products of Change


Tue 12 Apr 2022 | by Rob Hutchins

Transport for London puts best foot forward with The London Sock Exchange

Transport for London is putting its best foot forward in a new partnership with the The London Sock Exchange, a specialist sock manufacturer that places environmental awareness and sustainability at the centre of its operation. Together, and in a partnership brokered by TSBA Group, the pair will launch a range of socks designed to celebrate London’s most iconic transport through six distinct designs each knitted using The London Sock Exchange’s signature 200-needle knitting process. The TfL Collection pays homage to the city’s public transport through a series spanning The Tube (inspired by the London Underground trains), The Routemaster (inspired by the iconic double-decker red bus), The Platform (taking inspiration from the platform safety graphics and Mind the Gap mantra), Tickets, Please (which is inspired by London’s Oyster cards, travelcards and railway tickets), and The Gingerline & The H&C (a designed based on Harry Beck’s iconic map of the London Underground).

All yarn partners used by The London Sock Exchange are active members of the Better Cotton Initiative, including those used in the new TfL Collection.
Jo Edwards, head of global licensing at TSBA Group, said: “TfL owns a unique, vibrant, and rich history, represented by iconic design such as the roundel tube map. At their British studio, The London Stock Exchange took these assets to create exclusive designs which feel playful, contemporary, and full of charm.” The London Sock Exchange prides itself on incorporating environmental and societal criteria into its everyday business operations, from sock recycling schemes to plastic-free packaging and yarn selection. Back in 2020, the firm was recognised as a future leading brand in fashion sustainability by the University of Cambridge. Since 2014, the team has been working to remove socks from the millions of tonnes of clothing and textile waste produced each year by the fashion industry. Over that time, The London Sock Exchange has managed to prevent over 100,000 socks from going to landfill through its recycling service. The system works by sending old socks that are still in good condition to charities across the country, while those beyond repair are washed, shredded, reconstructed and given a ‘second chance in life’ as an industrial textile. The system allows subscribers to refill their first box of socks with any old, unwanted socks and send them back to the team, free-of-charge. These socks are then recycled. Meanwhile, the team acts to only work with yarn partners that are active members of the Better Cotton Initiative, meaning that all of the cotton used in its socks comes from farms that are proactively regenerating the environment while meeting best-practice in their labour, community, and social standards. The London Sock Exchange’s packaging is all plastic-free while each of the paper or cardboard components used to package and deliver items is fully certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Each of these sustainability-centred credentials apply to the new TfL Collection of socks, a range that has been in development now for the best part of a year. Ellen Sankey, brand licensing manager at Transport for London, said: “This creative collaboration showcases the instantly recognisable and historic design of London’s transport network showcasing classic British heritage with a twist. “By using eye-catching designs such as the iconic Routemaster bus, as well as modern designs like the Oyster card in the range, these new products are a great way for people to take a little bit of London with them wherever they go.”