When it comes to creating a sustainable wardrobe, second-hand or vintage shopping is one of the best ways to reduce waste and lessen your impact on the planet. Pre-loved clothes, shoes and accessories are great, but one thing you still need to buy new is underwear.
Luckily making green choices for your lingerie is getting easier. There’s a growing breed of brands utilizing fabric innovation, eco-friendly manufacturing and ethical practices to create intimates that are good for people and the planet. Plus, these brands don’t scrimp on style on comfort either. Read on to learn about some of our favorites.
Aussie native Allie Cameron, Hara The Label’s founder, was awoken to environmental issues on a trip to India. After seeing first hand the problems caused by garment production, she decided to create a different type of clothing brand. The result? Colorful underwear sets, loungewear and active pieces made using one of the most sustainable raw materials in the world, bamboo fabric. Sourced from an certified supplier in China, it needs very little land, is significantly less water-intensive than cotton and is also soft, gentle and hypo-allergenic. Production takes place under one roof in Melbourne, Australia (saving on planet-damaging miles) and fabrics are colored using all-natural dyes (notably Turmeric, Indigo and Madder Roo).
It was Jonesy’s pretty triangle bralettes and flattering high-waisted undies that first caught our attention but their eco credentials are also top-notch. Rachel Jones, a former ad exec, has made sure that the brand hasn’t fallen down the greenwashing trap and is instead truly sustainable with pieces made fromfabrics and packaged plastic-free. Furthermore, their small-scale New York operation lends itself well to being low-footprint: their Brooklyn office is just six miles from their Garment District manufacturers.
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Just because you’re switching to eco underwear, needn’t mean you have to forgo lovely fabrics and covetable design details. Araks does both with its collection of everyday luxuries, underwear that is practical yet feels indulgent too. Using interesting colorways (think mustard and pastel pink) and stylish details (like scallop edges and sheer panels), the brand is also planet-friendly. Their collections are designed around core fabrics which means excess materials can be worked into future seasons instead of being discarded. They also donate unneeded materials to schools and other charitable organizations in both the US and further afield.
As their name suggests, Organic Basics make everyday essentials from organic or recycled fabrics. The Copenhagen-based company believes in investing in quality fabrics and they handpick every one based on its environmental footprint and lifetime durability. For example, the clever invisible bra is made from totally recycled material while the comfy briefs are crafted from lyocell TENCEL™, a sustainable fiber made from wood pulp. No stone has been left unturned: even their website is low impact. Their website uses 70% less data transfer than a normal website resulting in much less carbon emissions.
In 2012, shoe designers and friendsand came together to make a new kind of underwear brand. Found in California, the brand is truly Made in America and all about showcasing the best manufacturers and producers across the country. The organic cotton is grown in Texas and milled in North Carolina, the garments are dyed with non-toxic fiber-reactive dyes in a factory in Novato, CA and the pieces are sewn in a factory in San Leandro, CA (a twenty-minute drive from their Oakland studio). We love the high-rise panties, cross-back sports bras and high-waisted cycling shorts.
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Oddo Body founders Shira Wheeler and Abigail Gerow are on a mission to create ethically crafted intimates that don’t interfere with the body’s delicate natural system. They believe in the importance of quality underwear as a means of ensuring optimum vaginal health and breathable cotton is doctor-approved. Their super comfy briefs and tanks are all made from 100% organic Pima cotton imported from Peru. To up their eco-credentials, Oddo Body built its supply chain through a fair trade certified, family-run manufacturer.
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Established in 2014, LA-based Botanica Workshop is a lifestyle brand that epitomizes the concept of slow fashion. Partnering with local artisans and technicians from California, they create underwear and loungewear made of organic and sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled nylon and even vintage buttons. As opposed to continuously pushing new products, they only create a few small production runs each year. We particularly love the pretty trimmed cotton briefs, luxe silk bralettes and bold two pieces.
Valencia-based The Nude Label creates its underwear in a family-run factory using an organic cotton supplier in Portugal that’s a member of the Luckily for us, they ship worldwide.. The fabric is grown with no pesticides, herbicides or harmful chemicals and the brand also invests in eco projects, for example, a reforesting initiative in Peru. We’re fans of the stylish cut-out bras, versatile bodysuits and ribbed socks. Available in a range of nine hues — you’re spoilt for choice on what to choose.
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