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About Us

Pretty Polly is a British brand well known in the world of hosiery and legwear. Founded in 1919 in England, the brand has been manufacturing high-quality and fashionable legwear for over 100 years. Pretty Polly’s brand appeal is no doubt helped by its brand values to be fun, playful and accessible. The brand is committed to product innovation and were the first to market with hold ups a stocking held up without the use of a suspender belt! Along with a proven track record of producing stylish products of the highest quality supported by creative marketing campaigns and working with well know designers and celebrity models.

Pretty Polly offers a wide range of products from tights, stockings, leggings to lingerie, loungewear, socks and eco-wear. All Pretty Polly products are designed with the latest fashion trends in mind. Whether you're looking for sheer tights to complete a formal outfit or activewear legging to add a pop of colour to your gym outfit, Pretty Polly has something for everyone. The brand is committed to using eco-friendly materials where possible with all new product development, such as recycled and biodegradable yarns. Our Eco-wear and Active-wear collections are a sustainable range of hosiery, seam free underwear, tops and leggings made from the first biodegradable yarn in the world. We have also introduced period pants for a sustainable approach to menstruation.

Our Heritage

  • THE 1920s & 1930s

    The mid 1920’s saw women’s hemlines rise above the ankles for the first time during what were known as the ‘Roaring Twenties’ when being a Flapper girl was all the rage as peace and prosperity returned after the first world war and women gained a new sense of confidence. Stockings were visible for the first time and their colour and appearance became much more important. In the early thirties, however, the great depression saw hemlines fall again (although not to the floor), and clothing became more modest and tailored. Economic hardship saw the advent of cheaper, mass produced clothes. For the first time, it became acceptable in certain social occasions to wear trousers!

    •  

      1919

      In 1919 two technicians, Harry Hibbert and Oswald Buckland formed a hosiery company in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, to manufacture and sell ladies stockings, with a workforce of only 10 people and two machines.

    •  

      1924

      The first fully fashioned stockings appeared on the market traditionally made of silk and rayon.
      The brand Pretty Polly was established when Hibbert and Buckland acquired another company in lieu of outstanding debt.

    •  

      Pretty Polly was originally named after a highly successful race horse of the time.

    •  

      1937

      The first Nylon stockings were knitted in secret in the US

    •  

      1939

      Nylon stockings were shown to the public for the first time in the US

  • THE 1940s & 1950s

    The outbreak of war had a considerable effect on women’s wear with utility clothing being all that most women could afford. The end of the war, however, saw a move towards much more feminine clothing with pretty prints and lots of colour. The hosiery industry saw the start of the mass production of Nylon stockings after the war, first in the US, but quickly followed by the UK in the early fifties.

    • 1940

      Four million pairs of Nylon stockings went on sale in the US and sold out within four days!

    • 1943

    • 1944

      By 1944, half the UK hosiery factory space had been requisitioned for the war effort and the workforce reduced by 55%

    • 1945

      Nylons went back into production in the US after the war ended. Macy’s in New York sold their stock of 50,000 pairs in six hours!

    • 1946

      Demand for stockings soared and as the market became more competitive, packaging played a more important role.

    • 1952

    • 1953

      Hibbert and Buckland embraced the use of Nylon in their stockings and actively promoted it

    • 1955

    • 1957

      Pretty Polly became the number two brand in the UK market.

    • 1959

      Pretty Polly introduced the first non run seam free stocking.

  • THE 1960s

    The number of tights sold per year grew by 70% during the sixties, a decade which saw the most significant changes in hosiery. Hemlines rose dramatically and the arrival in 1968 of the mini skirt meant stockings weren’t suitable anymore. Pretty Polly adapted to the changes in fashion through the decade with innovations which moved the brand into the number one slot in the UK.

    • 1962

      With strong innovation and style, Pretty Polly needed a brand image which was instantly recognisable and so the unfeminine parrot logo was changed to the two floral P’s

    • 1967

      In 1967 Pretty Polly invented and launched hold ups, giving women freedom from suspender belts. These were an immediate success selling 240,000 pairs in one week!

      Success led to the need for more manufacturing capacity, in 1967 Pretty Polly opened a factory in Killarney in Ireland, probably the most advanced factory in Europe at the time.

    • 1967

      In 1967, Pretty Polly launched revolutionary new one size stockings called ‘Leprechaun’. The product was sold in a distinctive little tub.

    • 1968

      In 1968 Pretty Polly introduced the first ever one size, one piece seamless tight – it looked a little strange so some consumer education was required!

    • 1969

      In 1969 PP launched Leprechaun Sheer Heaven One Size sheer support stockings completing the range of Leprechaun tights, hold ups and stockings

  • THE 1970s

    The 1970s again saw significant changes in the hosiery industry – worldwide capacity, the growth of sales in supermarkets, the emergence of ‘own label’ and changes in acceptable clothing for women with jeans becoming a major fashion trend.

    • 1969/1970

      In 1969/70 Pretty Polly launched a range of Sheer Knee Highs called Mini Maxi

    • 1971

      The re-launch of a new softer Micromesh tight for 35p

      Pretty Polly launch a range of stretch nylon bras and briefs for 70p a set.

    • 1973

      Pretty Polly invented Stand Easies enabling women to have sheer support stockings instead of the thick ones normally available.

    • 1974

      In 1974 Pretty re-launched the one piece tight under the name Free ‘n Easy using softer yarns.

    • 1975

    • 1976

      In 1976 Pretty Polly launched Non Stop – the first one piece support tight. Pretty Polly also launched the first tight with a knitted, called Tight ‘n Brief

    • 1978

      In 1978 Pretty Polly launched the first control top tights combined with a support leg. Pretty Polly also introduced a lightweight control pants called ‘Under Control’ for less than £1. Galaxy by Pretty Polly was launched into the grocery market.

  • THE 1980s

    During the 1980’s women emerged as more confident consumers as a result of better education, better jobs and later marriage resulting in more spending power. Clothing , including hosiery, became more important as a means of self expression,. Hosiery was now not only a leg covering but an item of fashion clothing!

    •  

      1983

      In response to a demand for ever sheerer tights, Pretty Polly launched three new products – ‘7th Heaven’, ‘Crystal’ and ‘Soft and Smooth’

    •  

      1984

      Pretty Polly Galaxy luxury was launched as the demand for more choice and sheerer tights in grocery increased.

    •  

      1986

      In 1986 Classic Ribs were launched into grocery stores selling 1.5 million pairs in the first winter!
      Pretty Polly Creations was launched into clothing stores designed by Italian Emilio Cavallini.

      Coloured tights had become very popular and by 1986 Sheer Colour 15 denier tights had 45 different shades to choose from!

    •  

      1987

      In 1987 Pretty Polly Legworks was launched – a range of fashion tights for teenagers

    •  

      1988

      Pretty Polly Soft Opaques were added into grocery along with a more sophisticated range called Night Time

    •  

      1989

      The famous floral PP logo was replaced by a more sophisticated version with the two Ps made to look like ribbon

      Pretty Polly re-launched Sheer Colour as a luxury range which included the world first 5 denier ultra sheer tight

    •  

      1989

      In 1989, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of nylon, Pretty Polly launched Nylons, still its most popular range today.

      The beautiful pack image, shot by John Swannell, was unusual in not showing legs

  • THE 1990s

    During the nineties, Pretty Polly became the first hosiery brand to work with high profile celebrities, and continued with more major advertising campaign. This decade also saw Pretty Polly branch out into other areas.

    • 1991

      The Pretty Polly ‘Loveboat’ ad aired on TV and the Pretty Polly Velvet Sheers were launched using special yarns for innovative products that combined sheerness and softness.

    • 1992

      Legacy by Pretty Polly was launched with a prime time TV ad which was famously ‘mocked’ by Dawn French

    • 1994

      In 1994 Laura Bailey was announced as the new face of Pretty Polly, promoting a new range of opaques for the Autumn

    • 1996

      1996 saw glamour and fashion return to Pretty Polly with the introduction of Italia - offering Italian luxury, sophistication and styling

      Pretty Polly made the first ever vertical poster ad with the "Long Legs" ad. A huge poster was flown over London, making headlines on the 10 O'clock news.

    • 1997

      In Autumn 1997, Pretty Polly launched Secret Slimmer with the most traffic stopping advertising ever seen as the models dress disappeared to reveal the tummy shaping tights on billboards across the country.

    • 1997

      Sheer Lights was launched in 1997 – the first product directly targeted at summer legs.

      NY Legs was also launched to be 'the one and only hosiery brand for young, style conscious consumers'.

    • 1998

      1998 saw Sarah Cox become the new face of Pretty Polly to accompany the launch of All Day Up – also advertised on TV with the famous space hopper film.

      Eva Herzigova became the face of PP for another campaign in 1998 and Miss Polly's was launched for 5-12 year olds

    • 1998

      In 1998 Pretty Polly expanded into the body wear market with a range of underwear called Nix

    • 1999

      In 1999 PP bras were launched with an £8 million marketing budget. Included in the campaign was a TV ad featuring Holly Willoughby.

      Pretty Polly also introduced a range of hosiery providing every girl in the UK with a shade to suit her skin tone. Perfectly Naturals was launched and the star of the campaign was Jemma Kidd.

  • THE 2000s

    The first decade of the millennium saw Pretty Polly move away from TV advertising to concentrate on developing new ranges and working with celebrities to promote the brand.

    • 2000

      The lingerie range enjoyed continued success with Rachael Stevens fronting the brand awareness campaign.

      Pretty Polly collaborated with Julien Macdonald to create a stunning catwalk collection of his designs.

    • 2004

      The launch of Link Up developed a stocking range that simply hooked into newly developed briefs – no more fiddling about with buckles or sitting on clips.

      Jamelia was signed to be the face of Pretty Polly supporting the launch of Link Up

    • 2005

      Pretty Polly extended the successful Nix range into Bodywear offering a contemporary range of products perfect for a young consumer.

      Jamelia joined Jemma Kidd to promote PP Naturals

    • 2005

      Autumn 2005 Pretty Polly was recognised and awarded superbrands status.

      The Pretty Polly Racing team was launched and PP sponsored Holly Bailey, racing driver and stunt woman.

    • 2005

      Autumn 2005 and the No 1 girl band teamed up with the No 1 legwear brand to create the perfect hit., generating fantastic media coverage.

    • 2006

      Stairway to Heaven The tallest billboard in the UK was booked at Chiswick Roundabout and a special build 3D image created.

      As a result of breakthrough technology in 2006, Pretty Polly launched Fresh, a range of socks & knee highs that contained a finish that stopped you getting smelly feet.

    • 2007

      The Joy of Legs campaign kick started with a living billboard, using live dancers and extending into outdoor poster sites,. Culminating with a film showcased at the “Take That” 2007 stadium tour, entitled the “Changing of the Tights”.

      Once again we featured on the tallest billboard in the UK with a campaign for Fresh.

    • 2008

      Pretty Polly, the leg expert brand stretches into leg cosmetics with the launch of Love Legs., offering products to pamper & “dress” bare legs

      Secret Slimmer, capitalised on the growing shaping market. The brand featured an unknown model discovered by television reality show “Coleen’s Real Women".

    • 2009

      PP launched the first of many ranges with fashion designer Henry Holland. The range was launched in Selfridges with limited edition coffee cup packaging, and went on to be a massive success with many celebrity fans.

  • THE 2010s

    • 2010

      2010 saw a new look logo for Pretty Polly and a UK wide advertising campaign marking the beginning of the brand repositioning, using just leg shots within packaging.

      70 years of Nylon stockings was celebrated by Pretty Polly with a new look Nylons pin up style pack.

    • 2011

      2011 saw a Pop up Shop in Knightsbridge to support the hunt for Legs Eleven, a national campaign searching for the new legs of Pretty Polly. The winner was Ciara O’Doherty

    • 2012

      2012 saw Jessie J featured in a campaign for PP fashion and House of Holland by PP.

      PP Secret Socks were launched and Pretty Polly won a Marketing Design Award For new pack design

    • 2013

      2013 was the year of many successful collaborations.

    • 2014

      Musician Sophie Ellis Bexter became an ambassador for PP launching her own range of designs under the brand

    • 2015

      Rosie Fortescue of Made in Chelsea fame became the face and legs of Pretty Polly Naturals

    • 2017

      A new range of premium opaques was launched using 3D technology.

    • 2018

      PP Naturals and Curves are re-launched with a more sophisticated look

    • 2019

      Centenary year with lots of exciting activities planned.

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