The Mindful Materialist
Sustainable Swaps: Underwear
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Following on from the last post, I’ve decided to keep the sustainable swap suggestions coming, this week it’s all about underwear and lingerie.
When making the switch to sustainable clothes, underwear is often the easiest place to start—they’re usually the cheapest items in your wardrobes, you wear them the most, and they’re the closest thing to your skin (so having organic, soft and durable fabrics is important here).
It might seem a bit aggressive to be throwing unsustainable brands under the bus , but also, someone has to. Frankly, sustainable and ethical clothing should be the norm, so I find it quite upsetting that the brands dominating the high streets and shopping centres aren’t doing nearly enough to combat their own footprint. While I think it’s important to call out bad behaviour when you see it, it’s also important to shine a light on those doing good. So let’s get to it.
All the brands listed below are Australian and ethically made.
Photo by Bianca Castillo on Unsplash
Swap Out Bras N Things
According to Good On You, Bras N Things provides no information on their environmental, labour or animal rights policies or practices. They’re rated ‘we avoid’ on the website, and as someone who used to shop there, I also avoid them now. The brand engages in a fast fashion model of production and they’re not exactly winning on the inclusivity front either. Just a quick scroll through their Instagram will show you the narrow demographic they’re targeting — excuse the pun.
Swap in The Very Good Bra
Completely compostable and the world’s first zero-waste bra, the Very Good Bra doesn’t mislead you. Made from Lenzing fibre Tencel which is derived from eucalyptus, you can burry your bra in the garden when you’ve worn it out. But you won’t want to do that anytime soon because these bras are seriously soft and comfy.
Swap in Jackfruit the Label
I’ve written about this label before so I won’t go on too much here, other than to say they’re a small business that is incredibly inclusive. You can read more about Jackfruit the Label in the previous blog post here.
Image supplied by Jackfruit the Label
Swap in Nico
As one of my personal favourites in my wardrobe, Nico are one of the few sustainable underwear brands who make underwire bras in larger cup sizes. Their loungewear and briefs are super soft too and come in a range of basic tones or plant-based coloured dyes. Read more on the previous blog post here.
Swap in Bimby and Roy
From swim to sleep and everything in between, the Bimby and Roy range is designed for to be versatile. Made ethically in Fiji’s first solar-powered factory and boasting some beautiful, vintage-inspired prints, their underwear is designed by women for women.
Swap in Lela Lingerie
Bright colours in minimal designs sums up Lela Lingerie in a nutshell. They use GOTS certified organic cotton, they’re vegan and cruelty-free, and they make everything ethically in Sydney.
Swap in The Unseen
Stocking both men’s and women’s underwear, diversity and acceptance underpins everything at The Unseen Label. Their briefs and bras come in a range of nude tones to suit different skin tones, recognising that “nude is not one colour”.
Swap in Upparel
If you haven’t heard of Upparel yet, get ready to have your life changed. The certified B Corp are paving the way for textile recycling in Australia. They’ve already saved 1.7 million items from landfill and that waste to produce underwear and socks from recycled fibres. Just head to their website to see how easy it is to recycle your things — I did it last year and it was so easy, I’m also wearing their super comfy socks right now as I write this.
Swap in Sustainable Hosiery Australia
Hosiery is a tricky one when it comes to sustainability — most items are made from synthetics which don’t break down, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll know how easy it is to ruin your tights with a ladder on the first wear, which essentially reduces them to single use items. Sustainable Hosiery Australia is a family-owned small business in Sydney who are making it easier to shop sustainably in the hosiery department, from socks and knee-highs to stockings and pantyhose.
Swap in Mighty Good Basics
The name says it all, really. Catering to men and women, Mighty Good Basics make, well, mighty good basics. Designed in Sydney and made in an ethical factory in India, MGB use GOTS certified organic cotton, only deal with Fair Trade suppliers, and offer an inclusive size range.
Image supplied by Nico
Swap in Vee Underwear
Made from organic bamboo fabric, Vee underwear is designed to be breathable and avoid irritation ‘down there’, while still looking good and being comfortable. The underwear is designed in Melbourne by a bunch of kickass women and ethically made in China.
Swap in Hara
Hara hardly needs an introduction — the Aussie label has amassed quite the following since launching in 2016. Fast forward to 2021, they’ve branched out into activewear and loungewear to accompany their popular briefs and bras. They’re known for their bright colours, fiercely feminist attitude and earth-friendly products.
Swap Out Honey Birdette
Honey Birdette may stock some of the bougiest lingerie sets in Australia, but they’ve made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Claiming to empower women, the brand arguably objectifies both men and women in their campaigns, while normalising problematic sexual behaviour. Ethics aside, they share no information on their website about production, manufacturing or workers’ rights in their supply chain, so that doesn’t bode well as far as I’m concerned.
Swap in Iole Intimates
The Melbourne-based lingerie label Iole Intimates specialises in all things lace. From bras and briefs to bodysuits and bridal lingerie, they’re a luxury label that rivals the likes of Honey Birdette. Making everything by hand in Melbourne, Iole Intimates are an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited brand and they’re stunning.
Swap in Lazy Girl Lingerie
Handmade just south of Brisbane, Lazy Girl Lingerie is the sustainable alternative you’ve been waiting for when it comes to luxury and bridal lingerie. When you place an order, your item will be handmade by Cass in her home studio especially for you. She will personalise the piece to fit your measurements, and she also uses deadstock and vintage fabrics to reduce her impact.
Swap in Eco Intimates
Just from the name you can already tell what kind of brand this is — they’re intimates that are eco-friendly. Eco Intimates are designed by Madonna Bain in Byron Bay and made ethically in Bali, the brand follows a slow fashion model and uses natural and organic fibres. They’ve got a vintage look, with floral fabrics across the underwear, lounge and sleep ranges.
For more ethical and sustainable brands, check out my Brand Directory.