There may be many ways you are trying to become sustainable in your fashion choices, but have you considered the least obvious; your lingerie.
Fashion houses making lingerie rely primarily on organic fabrics, eschew dyes and chemicals whilst aiming to send zero textile waste to landfills. When you buy a product, you accept its whole life-cycle. Since all women and bra-wearers own lingerie, and everyone owns underwear, sustainable underwear/lingerie can significantly impact a greener world.
Organic farming is the greenest approach to producing high-quality organic fibre converted into sustainable fabric. This natural fabric is, naturally, organic fabric. Fibres are grown in controlled settings with no pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or toxic chemicals in organic farming.
Cotton is well known as an organic fabric and is widely available to make 100% eco-friendly clothing as it causes very low or no impact on the environment. Organic cotton is created with organic yarn spinners that have isolated processing in areas to segregate the organic cotton. Additionally, organic cotton fabric is made from organically grown cotton fibre. As well as organic cotton, there is also organic silk and wool on the market used to produce sustainable lingerie.
What are some benefits of organic fabrics?
1. No chemical pesticides, herbicides or chemicals are used when growing organic fabrics.
2. Produces less CO2 emissions
3. Organic fabrics use up to 60% less water than conventional fabrics
4. Humans and animals are not exposed to chemical pesticides or herbicides and are not returned to the earth in landfills when discarded or enter into the recycling process
5. Builds more jobs and income for local farmers
Sustainable Dyes and Chemicals
The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Synthetic dues contribute to this pollution, with nearly 20% of global water pollution being linked to the textile dyeing process. The main contributions to this problem are using toxic agents to fix colourants on textiles and release large portions of these colourants and fixation into the surrounding ecosystem.
In light of these polluting methods, the textile industry and designers use biodegradable methods such as bio-dyes to colour their fabrics. For example, botanical dyeing, digital printing and natural or engineered microorganisms have been utilised to change the nature of dyeing fabrics.
Eco dyeing and printing consist of direct contact printing methods, drawing out pigments from plants to make interesting and often surprising marks on fabrics. These fabrics are usually cotton, linen, silk or wool. Plants typically used in botanical dying includes Aronia berries (giving a blue/purple pigment), Alder leaves (producing orange/brown prints), wild indigo (offering fluorescent yellow prints), bloodroot (showing intense orange/red colours) and many more.
Natural or engineered microorganisms:
Some companies have employed a synthetical biological approach by using bacteria to colour the textiles, which can reduce water use by up to ten times. The innovative steps in this process are to fix the dye-producing bacteria directly onto the fabric using a carbon source solution. Then the deposition and fixation of the dye onto textiles with a single heating cycle by the lysis of the microorganisms. This new process removes the need for harsh chemicals to reduce indigo dye solubilisation, replacing it with an enzyme.
Digital printing introduces a new ‘waterless’ textile technology using BlackJet reactive pigment textile as inks (nano pigment ink) to provide colouration. Backjet textile inks use an insoluble pigment in the ink carrier rather than a dye. They contain resin binders that help the pigment particles adhere to the fabric. Then, heating the material for fixing the pigment onto the fabric, followed by a post-treatment process.
Zero Textile Waste
Zero waste garments are systematically designed to avoid and eliminate wasting materials so that no textiles need to be disposed of. For instance, knitted garments produce no textile waste as the exact amount required is used to create the attire. In this way, no scraps of fabrics need to be discarded into landfills. Ultimately, zero textile waste is the most influential sustainable fashion movement in reducing the waste that is generally produced when creating a ready-to-wear garment.
Fashion Brands Producing Sustainable Lingerie, ranked to affordable to luxury:
1. Knickey £
Knickey’s mission is to make organic lingerie for your daily default considering an earth-minded lifestyle. They manage their farms, factories and facilities responsibly. They proudly partner with manufacturers aligned with our values, relying on third-party certifications to verify our claims (GOTS and Fair Trade).
Maintaining their fair-trade values, Knickey ensures they partake in organic farming (organic cotton), ginner, spinning, factory and HQ.
Moreover, when you are done with your old lingerie, Knickey will recycle them by turning them into new materials like insulation, carpet padding and furniture batting. In return, they will send you a free pair of Knickeys for your next order. Nickey has recycled over 100,000 items and counting.
Search more at: https://knickey.com/
2. Project CeCe ££
Project Cece prides itself on having sustainability at the centre stage of its business. Hence, you can choose from five sustainability filters: environmentally friendly, fair trade, vegan, locally produced and a good cause. Through filtering on sustainability labels, you can shop the products to fit your values and filter certificates and materials.
Not only does Project Cece produce delicate and beautiful lingerie, but they also expand their cause to everyday clothes, swimwear, shoes, bags, jewellery and accessories for women, men and children.
Search more at: https://www.projectcece.co.uk/catalog/search/?query=lingerie
3. Slow Nature ££
The forward-looking Italian brand is working to change the industry’s harmful practices whilst bringing ethical, sustainable and environmentally conscious fashion to consumers. Slow nature also engages with its customers to ensure maximum transparency in the supply chain to its flirty and sexy lingerie. Additionally, the clothing line produces its designs from 100% cotton, made by Bergman Rivera. In this way, their line is recyclable and environmentally friendly.
The clothing production is made in Spain at OM Designs, where a touch of luxury and craftsmanship are added to the contrasting finishes. The products are created manually by folding the organic cotton fiber instead of the usual synthetic fiber. Slow fashion is sustainable insofar as the white elastic on the bralette can be considered ecological as it is OEKO-TEX 100 certified whilst holding its own certification.
Search more at: https://slownature.com/pages/fashion-sustainability
4. Lara Intimates ££
Lara Intimates believes it is made close to home in an eco-friendly underwear brand made in the UK. Their high-quality lingerie is made locally in London. The fabrics Lara Intimates utilise are zero waste dead-stock, recycled and British-made. When you order Lara underwear, it will be delivered in plastic-free recyclable packaging.
Their bras are designed with soft fabrics, with a minimalist aesthetic with functionality in mind. Therefore, they are not frilly or lace-y, keeping the designs as simple as possible in 100 different bra sizes from 26-40 A-J and briefs for sizes 6-22.
Search more at: https://laraintimates.com/
5. Bodywear Lab £££
At a more luxurious price, the Bodywear Lab incorporates sustainability from its design, sourcing, development and sampling, and grading to its swimwear production.
When sourcing its materials, the Bodywear Lab looks for sustainably made fabric through the collections from their entrusted European suppliers. The latter share their commitment to sustainability and ethical production locally in London.
The Bodywear Lab uses software to calculate how much fabric they will need for each design when grading their patterns. In this way, knowing how much of each material is required per garment and size, they can calculate how much fabric should be ordered for production, allowing them to minimise waste and excess fabric ending up in landfills.
Search more at: https://www.bodywearlab.com/pages/charlotte-de-carle