The shift towards making more eco-friendly choices is long overdue, but now more of us than ever are looking to do our bit on a daily basis – from zero-waste grocery shopping to ditching the car, all the way down to our underwear choices. According to research by up-and-coming lingerie market disruptors Cou Cou, currently only 2% of underwear is sustainably-sourced.
Sustainable lingerie doesn't have to mean knickers made out of hessian – and thank god it doesn't. Ouch. Rather, there are some really innovative brands out there making waves in the underwear market, offering comfort, quality and kindness to the planet.
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Hello! Fashion picks seven sustainable underwear brands that you need to know about:
Copenhagen-based label Underprotection was created in 2010 with the aim of making "conscious and ambitious choices" and allowing shoppers to more easily access sustainable underwear.
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Its collections of lingerie, hosiery, swimwear and sleepwear focus on simple lines and understated elegance, plus, it's a Certified B Corporation, which means that it is legally required to consider its impact on its workers, customers, suppliers, community and environment. "It is not only a business, it's a lifestyle and a belief that the future must and can be greener," says Underprotection's co-founder Stephan Rosenkilde.
A massive hit over on Instagram, Fruity Booty focuses on limited-edition collection drops in order to minimise waste. Over 80% of their garments are created from surplus fabrics which otherwise would end up in landfill. This brand is hugely fun, priding itself on jazzy, 60s-style prints and the sustainable lingerie brand is even a firm favourite of Ariana Grande. There's no question about it – underwear by Fruity Booty is made for showing off!
Stripe & Stare
Known for their insanely comfortable knickers, Stripe & Stare creates its pieces from Tencel Modal, a fabric derived from beechwood. The fibres are super soft, and their knickers are even 95% biodegradable, so when you're next updating your underwear drawer, you can stick them in the compost. Perfect for bright colours, ultra-wearable lace and cute ditsy prints.
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Another Danish brand on the list, Organic Basics handpicks each individual fabric based on its environmental footprint and durability. "Design everything to last," is its number one rule, and so, quality is deeply woven into the heart of this brand. Catering for both women and men, Organic Basics certainly has all bases covered when it comes to underwear, but they also have some chic loungewear styles that are well worth a look.
Newcomer Pantee is admirably transparent about both practices and progress. "We'd be the first to hold our hands up and say that our products aren't 100% sustainable," Pantee says. "But, what we can promise you is progress and honesty." The pandemic-induced lingerie brand has upcycled over 1,000kg of deadstock fabrics into its products – which according to Pantee is the equivalent weight of four grizzly bears…who knew?
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Based in Portugal, it's hard to believe that ColieCo started out as founder Nicole Neaber's part-time student project. Over the past ten years, the brand has expanded its product range, and they're especially known for their wire-free bras and bralettes, made in ColieCo's in-house studio, which prioritise style, comfort and adjustability.
Cou Cou make all their undies from 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, which means they're not only sustainably-sourced, but compostable, too. Once you're ready to part ways with your Cou Cou knickers, you can simply remove their trims and pop them in the compost to start them on the next stage of their renewable cycle.
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