A brief story
As ethical and sustainable fashion becomes a subject of notice between mass media and popular influencers, I believe that we should take this opportunity and not let the momentum die. Sustainability is not a fad nor should be treated as a trend, it’s a behaviour change that has become necessary for this staying age. The positive side effect coming from the knowledge of what a disaster the fashion industry has turned into is that independent, slow fashion brands, are starting to fall on the radar of normal folk. What was once labelled as a practice followed only by radical activists of some sort, buying ethically has finally been stripped off the label of being either unattainable or ‘unfashionable’. As this is a subject I would like to develop in detail on a future date, the aspect of ethical and sustainable fashion I would like to underline in this post is of the undergarment industry.
Being definitely one of the most essential clothing items in our wardrobe, we definitely don’t put enough thought into where we buy our underwear from. Neither of what materials they are made of.
The vast majority of our undergarment pieces are made of synthetic, unbreathable and not compostable materials. Most of them are also produced by factories that don't participate in any sustainable or ethical practices. You may wonder why does this matter so much? The reason being is that we go through our underwear, socks, etc, much quicker than we go through our other clothes. Once they have holes and are beyond repair, most of them become unsuitable for fabric recycling due to its composition, meaning that they will end up in a landfill and will stay there forever.
Although the landfill stays an issue even when buying items from fair trade brands (most will still have a mix with a manmade fibre of some sort), by purchasing from ethical companies, you can lower your production waste impact. While the most sustainable way to help planet earth is by going commando or buying second-hand underwear, I do understand these options aren’t for everyone, definitely not for me! Therefore, for the rest of us, buying from ethical brands is our second best option.
The last time I bought briefs it was a 5 pack from M&S and granted, they are really comfortable, but after 3 years of solid wear and tear, they started to develop very unattractive holes on my butt area (This is a graphic blog post, didn’t I mention it before? Sorry for that). When some of them became a little bit too destroyed and made me feel as frumpy as a potato sack, I finally bit the bullet and went lingerie (online) shopping.
Hara The Label is a company I discovered a few months ago and I loved everything about it: branding, ethos, fabric, styles. They are made of 90% organic bamboo and 10% spandex, ethically and locally produced in Australia. Their Instagram is beautiful, I love how many different body types are represented there! They are also a slightly cheaper option if you, like me, always loved Pansy from the USA.
I have bought 3 items from their website (pictured) and another rust brief from the UK online store Know The Origin. I recommend always looking for stockists in your country before committing to a purchase, as this helps you lower the CO2 footprint of your garment.
These pieces wash really well, though it is important to mention that they do bleed their colours in the first couple of washes. This happens because they are naturally dyed with plant pigments - nothing unkind for your skin and for the environment.
They are really flattering and I always feel a notch more confident every time I wear them! It's a mix of fit and comfort, but also knowing that my knickers choice aligns with my values, lame, but effective!
Once my other knickers bite the dust, I think I’ll try new ones from Organic Basics or Pico. I’m slowly replacing these items as I want my old ones to last as long as possible. I didn’t have the knowledge about how wasteful the garment industry is to our planet back when I bought my old panties, so the least I can do is try to prolong their life as much as I can and replace them with better options when the time comes.