Sustainability is taking over the entire fashion industry, and underwear brands are no exception – there’s nothing pretty about unethical or environmentally-unfriendly bralettes or briefs. So we’ve put together a list of our favourite underwear labels, who are not only ticking boxes for being ultra-cute, but are also taking the health of the planet and humans seriously.
For period underwear – yes, that means goodbye to wasteful single-use sanitary products – look no further than Reemi. Based in New Zealand, the registered nonprofit founded by Emily Au-Young and Ashleigh Howan offers reusable, non-toxic CottonX fibre undies that are self-disinfecting, absorbent and comfortable, and 100% of their profits go towards local projects in Bangladesh aimed at helping women access menstrual care and education.
San Francisco brand Naja makes ethical and socially conscious lingerie and undergarments. The brand’s collection of bras and underwear range from minimalist and nude shades (coming in seven different skin tones) to pretty floral patterns and lacey designs – all are made by female artisans based in Colombia using either recycled or upcycled materials.
Knickey is a New York City brand that puts women’s health first, making sure that there are absolutely no toxins in their breathable certified organic cotton undies so that fewer women have to suffer from yeast and vaginal infections each year due to synthetic fabrics. Committed to supply chain transparency, they source cotton from non-GMO farms, suppliers and work with a Fair Trade factory in India, and have recently launched a Recycling Program to divert your old intimates from the landfill. Plus, they’re inclusive too, with sizes running from XXS-XXXL.
Hara makes our list for their collection of sustainable underwear sets made from bamboo. The made-in-Australia label offers everything from simple bralettes to suave low-cut bras and trendy bandeaus, as well as flattering high-waisted underwear – so there is truly something for everyone. In addition to using only natural dyes and pesticide and fertiliser-free bamboo fabric, Hara has embraced diversity with their sizes running up to 5X.
Everything made at Pact is crafted with organic cotton crafted from Earth’s Favorite Fiber, which has been certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for its methods that require far fewer amounts of water and uses zero toxic chemicals. While not exclusively an underwear label, Pact does have a sizable collection of undies, briefs, thongs and bras, which have all been made by textile workers in Fair Trade certified factories. The Boulder, Colorado brand also offers shoppers the chance to carbon offset their purchases and donate their used clothing.
Boody is a “basic essentials” label offering staple pieces designed to last – and that includes underwear. From sports bras and racerbacks to seamless bikini briefs, all of Boody’s pieces are made from Ecocert certified bamboo yarn, which not only feels so breathable and soft, but is naturally hypoallergenic, free from toxins, sustainably made in WRAP-certified factories and come in recycled packaging printed only with vegetable-based inks. Plus, all of Boody’s underwear are also approved vegan-friendly by PETA.
7. Azura Bay
Azura Bay is a curated collection of conscious lingerie and loungewear pieces from a number of ethical brands (many of them women-owned!) who use environmentally-friendly fabrics like Tencel, GOTS-certified cotton, or materials derived from plants like eucalyptus. These brands are also committed to sustainable production processes by either local artisans or Fair Trade factories. Azura Bay then sends your order using compostable mailers, 100% recycled boxes and FSC-certified tissue paper and donates a portion of their proceeds to charities fighting gender inequality and working on conservation.
London-based label Pantee says they are the first underwear brand dedicated to making their entire collection from deadstock t-shirts that are unsold and unworn, which would otherwise be destined for landfills. By doing so, they can reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%. Right now, the company is recycling and upcycling these fabrics to make sustainable underwear, but they hope to be able to make their entire range of body-hugging briefs and comfy underwire-free bras and bralettes circular in the future.
Lead image courtesy of Reemi.