A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear

A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear

Finding sustainable lingerie brands is difficult. When you do find an eco-friendly underwear, styles are mostly 'comfy-casual' basics and the size range is disappointingly limited. Outside of Europe, you may have more luck. For those of us in the UK, there are very few options to choose from and virtually none at all if you're beyond a D-cup. Even as a 36D, I struggle to find suitable options. Shockingly most brands stop at a size Large (cup size D) and far too many only offer bralettes. Where are the supportive yet sustainable options?

Underwear is an important part of our wardrobes. If we're uncomfortable in our underwear then its impossible to feel comfortable with our outfit. So I made it my mission to find sustainable lingerie brands making cute and comfortable underwear from sustainable fabrics in a great range of sizes. Price wise these brands are comparable to less sustainable high street brands, except you'll get a better service. As with my other sustainable shopping guides, I'm focusing on European brands.



What is 'sustainable lingerie'?

Since the term 'sustainable' isn't protected, brands are free to use the label however they want. This leads to heavy greenwashing, making it difficult for consumers to know where to shop and what products to buy. Coupled with the lack of availability both in terms of size and style of lingerie; shopping for sustainably-made underwear becomes a daunting task.

When compiling these sustainable shopping guides, I'm looking for brands who provide information on where their products were made, what materials were used to make them, and how their workers were treated. I also want to see inclusivity with a range of sizes and styles at varying price points. Sustainable fibres are a must with organic cotton or recycled materials being a focus.



Where to Buy Sustainable Lingerie

There are some things that are worth spending the money. Underwear is one of them. It's the foundation to feeling comfortable and looking confident in your clothes. So having well-fitting lingerie is important. Many people wear the wrong size bra so if you hate wearing them, chances you're wearing the wrong band, cup, or both. I highly recommend following this guide to find a better fit.

Most sustainable brands in this shopping guide provide classic everyday underwear basics. Although there are a few options if you're looking for something more fun. If you need to restock your underwear drawer, these are the best sustainable lingerie brands to shop with, along with my personal favourites.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


A-dam, Netherlands

A-dam makes fun basics in a range of colours and prints, created in Amsterdam and produced around the world. They use eco-friendly materials including GOTS cotton, regenerated nylon, and recycled polyester. They actively limit the amount of chemicals, water, and waterwaste used in production. However, there is no evidence they try to minimise textile waste. A-dam uses factories that are certified by Social Accountability International but doesn't disclose where the final stage of production is carried out. Workers are paid a living waste throughout most of their supply chain.



Ama Ella, UK

There is little to no information about Ama Ella's sustainability policy or ethical practices other than claiming it's something they prioritise. They do, however, use organic cotton (although not certified) for most of their range and offer a recycling scheme.



Beija, UK

There is a small yet concise sustainability policy on Beija's website. It covers where their products are manufactured and what materials are used to make them. Fabric is sourced from Europe and the Far East, manufacturing is carried out in China and Sri Lanka, and the final design, sample making, and fitting is completed in London. Factories undergo yearly social audits and work to the Ethical Trade Initiative base code. As a small brand, their sustainability goals are being developed. They are focused on streamlining their business model, reducing waste, avoiding plastic and re-using deadstock fabric whatever they can.

What I particularly like about Beija is their consideration to style and fit. They have an extensive bra fitting guide to help find your ideal size. I used the fit finder to pick the Stripes Y Bra with matching Stripes Briefs that Beija gifted me for review. The three designs (X, Y, Z) are specifically created to suit different cup sizes to provide the right structure and support. There are extensive notes on fit under each product with advice on what breast shape its best suited to. It's rare to find that much consideration given to such an important aspect of our wardrobe.

Beija make the perfect bras for when your outfit calls for extra structure. The Stripes Y Bra is non padded with an underwire designed to give larger busts support without compromising on comfort. The soft cups made from tricot fabric with a unique weave that allows it to be smooth and cool against the skin. The sturdy underwire provides extra support, improving posture and relieving stress from the shoulders and back.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


Brighton Lace, UK

Brighton Lace provides brief details on their sustainability policy. The brand focuses on 'earth-friendly and rescued fabrics' from 'environmentally and socially responsible suppliers'. Their range of underwear is made from oeko-tex certified lace, GOTAS certified organic cotton, hand-dyed linen, and vintage cashmere. Purchased in small batches to minimise waste, fabrics and packaging is sourced locally to reduced their environmental impact. The underwear is made to order, avoiding to risk of any surplus unsold stock. Every scrap is reused or recycled, and no plastic is used in their packaging.

You'll find a range of underwear from cotton basics to lace sets on their website. Sizing is generous for such a small brand, going up to a size 20-22 in briefs. They even have specific collections to cater to smaller busts (A-D) and fuller ones (DD-G) making it easier to shop for your needs. I was gifted the Organic Cotton Bralette and High Waisted Knicker Set. I sized up to a large and I'm glad I did. As a 36D, I fit comfortably into the bralette; any smaller and it wouldn't be as comfy.

This is the kind of cute no-fuss basic set that every underwear drawer needs. It's well made from breathable stretch jersey. The fabric is thick giving the set a snug fit against the skin that makes you feel comfortable and supported. I like the longline style of the bralette that has a band of elastic for added support.



ColieCo, Portugal

If you're on the hunt for sexy lingerie that's also sustainable, your best option would be ColieCo. These pieces are handmade to order using eco-friendly materials as well as deadstock fabric. They have entire collections made from reclaimed prints, sustainable mesh, and recycled RPET. Manufacturing takes place locally to reduce their carbon footprint. Low-waste techniques help minimise textile waste while the use of eco-friendly materials limits the chemicals and water used in production. There is no Code of Conduct available but they do provide a formal statement on workers rights.

ColiCo have such a great range of underwear, from basics with a twist to sexy lingerie. It's rare to see such a wide variety of styles and sizes. I was sent a set of Araya Bra and Araya Pants made from organically-grown bamboo silk fabric and sheer mesh reclaimed from fast fashion line ends. While the bra is wire-free, it still offers support from the structured demi-cup style. It's a great bra to have if you want extra support and an improved shape under outfits.

The silky bamboo fabric, sheer mesh panels, and demi-cup style makes the Araya set luxurious to wear. Both the bra and knickers feel comfortable yet look sexy. If you're looking to stock your underwear drawer with cute basics, flirty prints, or racy sets, ColieCo have you covered.



Elliot Organics, UK

Underwear made by Elliot Organics is made in limited runs with quality and sustainability being a priority. Fabric is sourced from GOTS certified manufacturers with the entire manufacturing supply chain being certified to the highest Global Organic Textile Standard. Two cooperatives, one in Uganda and the other in Kyrgyzstan, supply the organic cotton at fair trade prices. Production takes place in a small factory near Barcelona.



Honest Basics, Germany

Honest Basics outlines its sustainability policy, highlighting how they manufacture and produce their basics in a way that minimise their impact on the environment. Only GOTS-certified organic cotton is used, reducing the chemicals and water used in production. Their 'partner-factories' are located in India and Bangladesh, chosen based on a sustainability criteria outlined here. There's no information on living wages or detailed workers rights. Honest Basics provides itself on being an inclusive and diverse team.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


Luva Huva, UK

Luva Huva is a UK-based brand focusing on using natural, eco-friendly materials to make their small range of underwear. These fabrics include organic cotton, bamboo, soy, and hemp. They take advantage of otherwise wasted materials, such as deadstock and off-cut fabrics, whenever possible to produce limited edition ranges. They support UK fabric manufacturing and production having worked with the last UK-based elastic manufacturers. Manufacturing of their underwear takes place locally with products being made to order in-house by a small team. Orders are sent in 100% plastic-free packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials.

If you're looking for underwear that looks sexy and feels comfy, Luva Huva blends the two perfectly. I was gifted the Emily Golden Bra and Emily Ivory Bra for review. Both are made from recycled fabric including oeko-tex certified bamboo jersey and lace. These two pull-on bras have all the comfort of a basic jersey bras with all the sexiness of lace. They're a great addition to my lingerie collection, providing a great option for when I want to look cute but feel comfy.

What makes Luva Huva special is their customisable service. Since their bras are made to order, you can choose between a range of standard band and cup sizes or opt for custom sizing. If you're unsure about fit, the Luva Huva team can help with a bra tailored specifically to you. The standard 34-36" band fit me perfectly being a 36D.



Magi, UK

Magi makes a small range of simple basics. They provide a brief FAQ detailing a few main sustainability queries. They state their fabrics are ethically sourced from reputable supplies, with everyone in the supply chain being paid and treated fairly. Their fabric supplier is in China from a factory using solar energy. The textiles are GOTS certified and audited by the Fair Wear Foundation.



Molke, UK

Super fun underwear made by a team of staff who are paid a Real Living Wage. Molke makes some of their products on their own premises in Perthshire, Scotland. Other items are made in European factories including one in Portugal that produces the fabric and finishes the products. Waste scraps are saved to be used as gussets in briefs or made into other products. There's very little solid information other than the promise that Molke works closely with their factories to ensure social and environmental standards.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


The Nude Label, Spain

Colourful basics for your underwear drawer. The entire range of The Nude Label is vegan-friendly. They use eco-friendly materials including Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton, manufacturing their products locally to reduce their carbon footprint and limit the amount of chemicals and water used in production. The Nude Label Code of Conduct covers the the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles, ensuring a living wage to some of its supply chain.



Olly, France

A range of romantic lace underwear in flirty styles. Olly use OEKO-TEX certified recycled lace, tencel, and GOTS cotton to make their range of lingerie. Using these fabrics helps to reduce the chemicals and water used in production. There are hints the brand keeps manufacturing local to limit their carbon footprint by using lace, tulles, clips, straps, and slides from France, Italy, Austria, and Germany. There is no information on their Code of Conduct, living wages, or workers rights.



Organic Basics, Denmark

A super popular sustainable brand offering standard underwear basics. They use eco-friendly materials including organic cotton to help limit the amount of chemicals used and water wasted. Renewable energy is used in the supply chain to reduce its climate impact. They do not provide a Code of Conduct but do have a formal statement, which covers workers rights and ensures a living wage. Most of their supply chain is traced with audits of most of its suppliers being carried out.



People Tree, UK

People Tree make simple basics that are either certified by GOTS or Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations. They are also a member of the WFTO Guarantee System, which ensures payment of a living wage across most of its supply chain. A very limited range of underwear is available, although it is made to the best standards. Made using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton and non-toxic dyes, these eco-friendly materials limit the use of chemicals and water waste created in production.



Pico, UK

A very limited range of underwear is available from Pico. While there is no evidence they are taking steps to reduce energy use or greenhouse emissions; their use of eco-friendly materials, including GOTS cotton, helps reduce their climate impact. All Pico products are Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations certified, and their supply chain can be traced.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


Rozenbroek, UK

Unique underthings in bright colours and original designs. ROZENBROEK's products are made from eco-friendly materials, using renewable energy that reduces their climate impact. Offcuts are reused to minimise textile waste while the use of GOTS cotton helps reduce chemical and water water. Production takes place in the UK with factory checks happening regularly. Workers are paid a living wage at some points in the supply chain.



Semi/Romantic, Germany

Semi/Romantic offers a range of basics with a slight twist. Using Tencel Jersey and recycled lace, Semi/Romanic manfactures and produce their range of underwear in a Portugese factory. This factory uses sustainable materials, like Tencel and BCICotton, to produce undergarments. iT HAS 'efficient water usage' and solar energy to HELP reduce carbon emissions. Semi/Romantic provides limited information on materials used, workers rights, or even their environmental policies.



Stella McCartney, UK

A luxury range of lace underthings in original colours and patterns. Stella McCartney has policies in place to prevent deforestation, and uses eco-friendly materials to reduce their carbon footprint. They're also 'committed to circularity' by using renewable and recycled materials. The range of underwear does feature microfibers and the cotton items don't appear to be made using GOTS Organic Cotton.



Thought, UK

Thought have a range of fun, patterned basics. They use eco-friendly materials, including organic cotton, to produce its clothing range. Climate impact is reduced through their use of sea freight for shipping products. Offcuts are reused to minimise textile waste while sustainable fabrics limit the chemicals and water used in production. Thought have a Code of Conduct covering the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles. They are also a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative. Their supply chain can be traced and workers are paid a living wage across part of its supply chain.



Underprotection, Denmark

Underprotection have an extensive sustainability policy covering their materials, production, and code of conduct. They are B Corp certified focusing on sustainable development goals that have a direct impact on important issues such as climate action, gender equality, clean water, and responsible consumption. Underprotection offer a repair service that encourages you to fix your lingerie in exchange for 'first aid rewards' (credit). There's also a take-back program to deal with products that reach the end of their life.

Everyone deserves underwear that makes them feel amazing. For me, Underprotection's lingerie does exactly that. I was sent two sets for review, both made from 100% recycled materials. They come in a range of styles from simple basics to classic lingerie. I opted for Luna Bra and High-String Briefs in rose, along with the Emma Bra and High-Waist Briefs in green.

The size guide made it easy to get the right fit, and while I'd like to see Underprotection extend their size range, the XL fits me perfectly as a 36D. The fabric, although made from recycled polyester, is incredibly soft and comfortable against the skin. Varying degrees of support is offered depending on the style you choose, from the light balconette shape to the more supportive high apex designs. Both have removable padding, which is a useful addition when an outfit calls for it.

Underprotection proves sustainable underwear doesn't have to mean boring basics. You can have cute, flirtatious lingerie without overspending or compromising on comfort. These two sets look amazing on and make me feel phenomenal. Everyone needs that from their underwear.



A Shopping Guide To Sustainable Underwear


Vatter, Germany

Vatter makes triangle bras in limited sizes and styles. They trace their entire supply chain, using third party audits to check in with final stage of production suppliers. A living wage is provided throughout their entire supply chain. The products they create are certified byGlobal Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and packaged in recycled packaging.



Woron, Denmark

Soft bras in a small selection of designs are what Woron focuses on. They use a combination of eco-friendly materials and low impact non-toxic dyes to create their products. They do not have a Code of Conduct, and the final stage of production is carried on in countries with a high risk of labour abuse. Their supply chain is traceable, and provides a living wage to part of it.



Y.O.U., UK

Y.O.U make a range of simple basics in a selection of colours and patterns using GOTS cotton. Offcuts are recycled to minimise waste, and chemicals and water are limited to reduce climate impact. All Y.O.U. products are fully certified by Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organisations in a fully teaceable supply chain. Workers are paid a living wage throughout most of the supply chain.




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