Underwear shopping is not an enjoyable experience at the best of times.
Bra fittings are awkward, nice pants are hard to find, and standing naked under the fluorescent lighting of a changing room does very little for anyone’s self-esteem.
But we must persist, because everyone’s underwear drawer needs a bit of a restock every now and then.
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The thing is, this becomes a slightly harder task when a) you can only buy sustainable underwear, b) you can only buy it online and c) sustainable underwear is about as sexy as sand.
I mean it. Have you ever Googled “eco-friendly” underwear?
Everything is either beige, black or swampy green. The designs are dull. And the knickers are ginormous.
I want to stick to my pledge, but I’ll be damned if my underwear drawer becomes as boring as my life in lockdown.
The usual shops I’d go to in order to liven up my lingerie – Topshop, & Other Stories and H&M – are all major fast fashion culprits.
There must be some brands offering a sustainable equivalent that doesn’t compromise on design or style. And it turns out, there are. But you won’t find them on Google. In fact, I found most of the following labels on Instagram.
First up is Studio Pia, which markets itself as “luxury lingerie with a conscience”.
This British label produces gorgeous silk sets made from organic cruelty-free peace silk, which is ethically produced in Jharkhand, India.
Traditionally, silk is made by boiling the cocoons while the silkworm is still inside, killing roughly 6,600 silkworms each time to produce just 1 kilogram of silk.
Peace silk, however, is made by carefully piercing the cocoon which allows for the silkworm to stay unharmed, before the silk is reeled off and spun using solar-powered machinery.
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But judging from the way Studio Pia’s silk sets feel and fit, you’d never know they weren’t made from traditional silk.
And the designs are gorgeous. Think retro longline bralets with high-waisted pants and embroidered balconette bras covered in gold-plated floral patterns.
Most notably, though, is that brand uses models with a wide-range of body types (a rarity in lingerie marketing) and also shows their pubic hair unshaven in promotional material.
Elsewhere, there’s Fruity Booty, another UK-based brand putting diversity at the heart of its campaigns.
The label also prides itself on sustainable manufacturing, with the majority of its pieces crafted from surplus fabrics that would have otherwise gone to waste.
“For pieces that have not used surplus fabrics, we source local, high-quality fabric that’s both loving to the environment and to the skin,” the company’s website reads.
Fruity Booty is also committed to local manufacturing, with half of its collections made in London and the other half in Portugal.
As for the designs, you only need to browse through the brand’s Instagram page to see just how flattering and fun every set is.
The tiger print set was recently seen on Kendall Jenner in an Instagram post to promote her new makeup line.
Finally, I direct you to Oh Lydia Intimates, a London-based label that specialises in adorable and comfortable co-ords.
The brand’s signature design is simple – thick-strap tank tops and high-waisted knickers – but they work wonders for any figure and come in a wide-range of colours.
Crucially, they are committed to being as sustainable as possible, sourcing eco-friendly materials working with local businesses to manufacture its producs.
Why? “Because being kind to the Earth is also kinda sexy,” reads their website. Now that’s a motto I can get behind.
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