Though for several years, sustainable and ethical apparel labels like Zady and Everlane have been taking the fashion world by storm, lingerie lines that are ethical or eco-friendly remained few and far between. Fortunately, designers are recognizing the importance of creating comfortable, beautiful underwear that is good for wearers, makers, and the environment alike.
To help you find underwear you can feel good about wearing, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sustainable and ethical lingerie labels:
Knickey panties are made in Fair Trade certified factories out of certified GOTS organic cotton that’s free from toxins, carcinogens, and other harmful chemicals. Created by women for women, they have a subscription service, bundle packages, and a take-back and recycling program to properly dispose of your old pairs.
Anekdot is an upcycled brand. Don’t worry, you won’t be wearing someone else’s underwear. It means they source their materials from production leftovers, end of lines, off-cuts, deadstock and vintage trimmings, then design and handcraft these pretty underthings in Berlin.
This European brand caters to women with small breasts with gorgeous, flattering pieces made super-soft, Fair Trade-certified organic cotton, the yarn for which is spun, knitted, and dyed in Germany. The final sewing steps are done in a Fair Trade facility in Croatia. They use green electricity, and the shipping is taken care of by DHL GoGreen using second hand cardboard boxing and recyclable packaging. They also sell gorgeous mastectomy bras with prosthetic insert pockets.
Ayten Gasson carries classically-beautiful lingerie manufactured by small local production houses. The UK-based label takes its commitment to preserving the tradition of textile manufacturing seriously. For over a decade, the brand has sourced vintage lace trims from old lace mills in Nottingham and other laces from UK manufacturers. The company now also features a capsule collection of eco-friendly lingerie, which includes pieces made from organic silk and cruelty-free peace silk.
Best known for its bold yet elegant designs, Naja empowers marginalized women and supports the environment in numerous ways. Most of the employees in their garment factory are single mothers or female breadwinners. The women are provided with above-market wages, healthcare benefits, flexible work policies, and educational supplies for their children. Their Underwear for Hope program provides Colombian women with the opportunity to work from home and make lingerie wash bags, which are included in each Naja purchase. In addition, Naja has also demonstrated a commitment to protecting the environment. Their gorgeous eco-friendly bras are made from recycled water bottles, and they use digital printing to eliminate water waste.
WAMA Underwear for men and women is made from sustainable, GOTS Certified hemp and organic cotton. There are a lot of great things about hemp: it’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, odor-fighting, and super soft and breathable. And trust me: these undies are super comfortable! The WAMA team works transparently with certified factories in China and oversee production there in order to ensure ethical manufacturing is taking place.
This cult-favorite lingerie brand has been around since 1983, and is best known for comfortable, high-quality, and eye-catching pieces. For two generations, Cosabella has been a family business, and continues producing everything in Italy to this day. They take measures to ensure that their employees are treated well, and that the factories they work with adhere to Italy’s labor standards.
This ethical lingerie brand offers sleek, edgy intimates made by hand in NYC. They support local businesses by sourcing their materials from New York whenever possible. Their made-to-order laces come from small family-run mills in Italy and France. All garments are customizable and produced in house.
Founded in 1978, Only Hearts is a mainstay of New York’s sustainable fashion community. Owned and managed by a mother-daughter team, the label features a wide range of what its website calls “lifestyle lingerie,” including bras, bralettes, underwear, and loungewear. Most of their pieces are manufactured in the NYC Garment District. Since 2008, they’ve also offered a robust line of organic intimates using 100% organic Peruvian pima cotton, GOTS-approved pre-bleaches, and non-toxic dyes certified by the Ecological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers.
Founded in 2012, this Danish brand makes supremely comfortable yet subtly chic underthings. They focus on using high quality, organic fabrics in innovative ways that benefits both producer and consumer while minimizing environmental impact.
Lara Intimates has a triple bottom line, prioritizing people, profit, and planet. They use reclaimed fabrics, develop close relationships with their suppliers, and have a zero-fabric-waste studio factory in London. Lara Intimate’s goal is to make intimate apparel that fits and flatters women – and they are most certainly doing just that! I was gifted a bra and panty set and I honestly was not expecting them to be quite as flattering, since this particular style usually gives me prominent panty lines. But they skin my curves and make me feel sexy. They truly are well designed!
Canadian label Sokoloff Lingerie boasts feminine, contemporary designs that are ethically manufactured in Montreal. They source their materials locally or from NYC as often as possible. The company is committed to promoting healthy body image and celebrating diverse forms of beauty.
This Maine-based label offers consciously-made lingerie and clothing with a clean, understated, and not-too-girly aesthetic. According to their site, about half of the items on their site—including bralettes, underwear, clothing, and accessories—are made from organic cotton milled in South Carolina, and then garment-dyed in small batches. Other fabrics they use include organic wool and silk. Many of their pieces are cut and sewn locally in Maine, and all of their production is done in New England.
This brand mainly caters to men with a monthly shipment, but the women’s items look just as comfy and fun! The fabric is made in a carbon-neutral method that converts sustainably harvested beechwood pulp into MicroModal fibers. Then it’s woven in a GOTS certified facility, and sewn in Sri Lanka and Turkey.
Uye Surana uses innovative methods for sustainable manufacturing. For example, different styles are designed cohesively and later cut harmoniously from the same fabric, rather than separately, to reduce waste, and the designer, Monica, uses natural materials such as flower petals, or unique hand-dyed techniques that preserve resources. All materials are sourced from both trusted overseas suppliers and a growing list of more local suppliers, and are assembled in Brooklyn or hand-sewn with care in the designer’s NYC studio.
Based in downtown Los Angeles, Svala boasts several different sustainable initiatives. Their pieces are made from organic cotton, organic bamboo fibers, and remnant laces and trims leftover from other manufacturers. Though in recent years, there has been some controversy over the sustainability of bamboo, Svala works with a fabric supplier that uses a GOTS-approved processing chemical. All of the company’s tags, labels, and promotional materials are printed on 100% recycled paper.
All Boodywear items – including the shaper bras and thongs – are 95% rayon made from ECOCERT organic bamboo (and 5% spandex for stretch), which is processed in a closed-loop, non-toxic system. So unlike regular bamboo rayon clothing, which requires intense chemical processing, Boodywear manufacturing doesn’t discharge toxic chemicals into the environment. And bamboo is a highly renewable resource – it quickly regenerates after being cut.
Hara offers super soft bamboo fabric bralettes and undies, with natural dyes made from fruit trees, made by their in-house production team in Bali, Indonesia. They provide fair working conditions, fair living wages as well as many staff perks. To produce high-quality bamboo fabric, a non-toxic solvent is used in a close-loop system to break down the ‘woody’ bamboo pulp. They only source their bamboo fabrics from suppliers that can provide organic certifications for the growing of the raw bamboo and OEKO-TEX 100 certifications which proves that no harmful chemicals were used throughout the various stages of the process and no harmful chemicals are present at all on the final product.
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