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.
Hello! Fashion shares the sustainable lingerie brands to have on your radar:
Underprotection - best for lace
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.
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.
The main natural fabrics it uses are TENCEL™ Lyocell, responsible wool and organic cotton, and all of its synthetic materials are derived from recycled sources - whether that's polyester, nylon or elastane.
Fruit Booty - best for loud prints
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 - best for biodegradable basics
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.
Organic Basics - best for simplicity
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. Some of the fabrics it uses include recycled wools, nylons and cashmeres as well as TENCEL™ Lyocell.
Pantee - best for stylish basics
Newcomer Pantee is admirably transparent about both practices and progress. The deadstock t-shirt fabric that it uses is made up of 95% cotton for comfort and 5% elastane for stretch.
"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?
ColieCo - best for wire-free
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. All their fabrics are sustainable and sustainably sourced, consisting mainly of TENCEL™ Intimate, recycled polyester and bamboo silk.
Cou Cou - best for comfortable intimates
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.
Luva Huva - best for understated femininity
UK-based Luva Huva works to its own steady rhythm. In place of seasonal drops, the lingerie label creates new collections in direct response to existing ones selling out. We love its chic take on the visible lingerie trend (though the brand operates with a timeless mindset) and subtle touches of lace. Plus, once the pattern pieces have been cut, the surplus fabric is donated to local schools for craft projects.
Understatement - best for versatility
Understatement prides itself on constantly seeking "the most amazing, sustainable, and durable fabrics out there". Its swimwear range, created entirely from Econyl® (regenerated nylon), offers an excellent selection of vibrant, stylish swimwear separates, derived from fishing nets, fabric scraps, and pre-loved carpets.
Woron - best for everyday staples
With a focus on plant-based fibres, Woron is a vegan underwear brand that you seriously ought to incorporate into your top drawer. Spanning period underwear, loungewear and socks as well as bras and knickers, the label prioritises breathability, comfort and simplicity and is handily on the more affordable end of the spectrum.
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