Are you as proud of your knicker drawer as you are of your ethical wardrobe? If your pants are letting you down then check out Lori Smith’s guide to ethical lingerie.
Where did your underwear come from? No, I don’t want to know which high street store you got it from, I’m more interested in where they got it from.
Lots of people realise it’s now possible to buy fashionable ethical and eco-friendly clothing, but is it feasible to do the same with our undies? It’s not quite as tricky as you might think.
I was first alerted to the existence of ethical underwear by the marvellous Pants to Poverty. Not only do they make comfortable fairtrade organic cotton briefs and boxers, but their eco credentials are there for all to see on their website.
As well as transparency about sources and processes, eco fabrics are another thing to look out for. But what exactly is “eco”? Although sustainable natural fibres whose production involves minimal use of chemicals and pesticides is one route, reusing or recycling fabrics that would otherwise go to landfill is another option.
Using eco fabrics doesn’t necessarily lead to the production of boring basics. Companies like Ceil, LuvaHuva and Enamore produce pretty lingerie in comfortable styles using organic fabrics, and Life’s Not Fair But My Knickers Are use fairtrade cotton for their range.
I found some gorgeous luxury ethical brands too. Clare Bare produces modern lingerie using vintage and eco fabrics, Charini source fabric ethically from Sri Lanka, while UK brand Ayten Gasson use organic and peace silk for their eco range, along with vintage lace trims. Their website explains:
Unlike the traditional method of silk production where the cocoon is boiled alive, peace silk allows the silkworm to emerge from their cocoon and live.
Even though spandex may not make you think of saving the planet, using a fabric with high spandex content makes the garment last longer and wear better, keeping it in your drawer and out of the garbage.
As well as not completely discounting lingerie with a bit of lycra in it, you could consider buying vintage. Try online boutiques like Pixxi who have beautiful items still fresh in their original packaging!
For those of you who like brand new luxury, try buying from companies who make their lingerie in the UK. The ethical working conditions and lack of air miles only add to the appeal of brands like Gilda & Pearl, BunnySmalls and Buttress & Snatch.
If you arm yourself with a bit of information when you shop, it is possible to sort the good from the bad and make a purchase with a relatively clean conscience. There is more choice than you think!
Read more from Lori on her blog Rarely Wears Lipstick
Photo: Ayten Gasson