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Eco Ethical Underwear shopping

I’ve worked in Fashion and apparel companies building the ethical and eco programmes many years,..

So I generally know which brands I’d buy from and why. In recent years I’ve bought some beautiful fashion pieces from charity shops actually. The Vintage fashion can be stunning, barely worn, and sometimes I find pieces such as from the Oxfam online shop which come with the tag still on they are so brand new!

I am in need though of some new underwear to spend a little of my Sustainability advisory earnings on (I’ve worn what I have so long that I have genuinely made it “sustainable”,…for 10-15 years in many cases!). Interestingly, I’m slightly struggling with what to buy as I find underwear slightly more expensive than expected,..especially as I search for ethical. To be fair, now that I think about it, when I’ve spent a little more on more eco and ethical clothing over the years I’ve felt good about most of it for many years. In some cases even when it wasn’t quite right for me I was loath to get rid of it as it just felt special. And especially bamboo which can become so beautifully soft.

Anyway, I’ve been searching for affordable yet beautiful eco ethical underwear online, and this is what I’m mulling over for now:

The Fairtrade certified PACT brand: https://wearpact.com/women/underwear/undies/classic%20fit%20bikini/wa1-wbc-pcp

Or these from the famous PeopleTree looked nice. This is the first time I’ve found affordable designs of theirs that I like,…but it’s sold out! Right when I’m wishing I could spend on companies like Peopletree who keep women in Bangladesh (whose friends have lost so many jobs in big factories in the Coronavirus crisis) in work.

I admire that PeopleTree have gone to the effort of getting all the certifications necessary to show me that they have truly done a lot of work to make their apparel as Ethical and Eco as they might be able to be at this stage (although we can debate Bangladesh wage rates all day; hopefully they help women earn a little more than the low US$1-200 Bangladeshi women garment factory line workers generally earn for 60 hour weeks in the large factories making for the big brands).

Anyway, I might end up getting these by PeauEthic “simple and classic panties are made of 100% organic cotton. GOTS certified; low impact fiber reactive dyes certified for Oeko tex; Made in Turkey.”

And the pretty looking Matching fully lined bra 🙂

I’m heartened by the GOTS certification of organic (although whether it uses more water or energy or not depends on where in the world the cotton was grown, then spun, woven, dyed, etc;…I am assuming Turkey).

As for Turkey manufacturing,…that can be better or worser for workers depending on the factory (and as Syrians migrants are either supported with fair jobs or exploited). I’m quite disappointed that the website doesn’t tell me any more about the work to ensure the people who made these clothes (#WhoMadeMyClothes) were treated properly. In my experience managing assessments of garment factories in Turkey, probably the best programme a brand could use to show me they really work hard for workers is FairWear from the Netherlands (maybe I should check Fairwear site for more brands! Sigh!), or the Fair Labor Association. Ethical Trading Initiative membership is great but many members get away with not doing very deep monitoring and improvement influencing,..and I can say that even more for SEDEX, BSCI-Amfori, and WRAP.

https://www.bynature.co.uk/elegance-organic-panty-plum-peau-ethique/

Finally, these look pretty. AmmaElle founders efforts for workers and the environment I know come from the heart, and last I heard were producing in Portugal where it’s easier for women workers to unionise for their own welfare protection and decent work improvement. They make really pretty lingerie,..but due to a little over investment of my time in philanthropic work I’m in the market for lower cost like these for now.

On that note,…I’m going to have a look at H&M and see how I feel. My biggest concern is that they push prices down so much. But I am impressed that they are paying their suppliers unlike many buyer fashion brands in the Corona crisis, and I know their ethical trade team care and make good efforts,..even if it can be hard when buyer colleagues are pushing down prices! Their new CEO is the former head of their Sustainability work though. So,…fingers crossed that they really deliver on their plan. Part of that for me would be that they reduce payouts to their Billionaire owner and investors, and spend more on suppliers and the largely women who make their clothing in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc. They did make some big black life matters grants though, I think to NAACP, so that looked like a step in the right direction. Primark weren’t paying their suppliers so I won’t be buying from them given their owners are near billionaires and they are owned by a group with food companies that will have made money through the crisis.

Monsoon have also made lovely efforts for women workers in their mostly Indian supply chain but appear to no longer sell their pretty underwear!

And I’m not going near Boohoo, Misguided, or NEXT for ethical reasons, quite like M&S (and when I need to get fitted to buy the right bra from them) but feel like something different, and hmmm,..

ASOS make some good ethical efforts, but I feel like supporting one of these smaller eco ethical fashion brands!

Anyway, I found most of these on the ” Moral Fibres” website which came up in my EcoAsia search engine search. It was a wonderful review!

This review by The Good Trade was also wonderful. I didn’t manage to go to ALL the fashion brands they featured. And a few weren’t really up my street (I felt like some pretty lingerie but comfortable, slightly casual); high-end lingerie another day! (I’m single right now; save that for sexier times!)

Thinking about these two review sites made me realise I want one where I can search by certifications (I’d go for Fairwear or Fairtrade for social/decent work conditions; then GOTS or other organic cotton or dying or bamboo, or, as one brand did, fashion made from cutoff fabrics larger brands were going to send to landfill or burn!). So I checked GoodOnYou which reviews fashion brands for ethics and eco, but it doesn’t seem I can search “underwear” then choose certifications then get a page showing me all the underwear. Maybe the ASOS site has this (which is great) but I feel I’ve done enough searching for today.

Anyway, post your questions below,..and if of interest, I’ll let you know what I end up buying and how it feels!

(I’m quite picky about underwear fit; I hate wearing bras as it’s so hard for find a comfortable one!).

I look forward to our sharing on ethical trade and eco fashion and pretty underwear fit!

Feel well!

Tips for Eco Fashion brands

New eco-fashion websites and initiatives arise often (having been in this game many years), so this is a post I’ll endeavour to keep updated as I’m often asked how fashion brands can learn about and source more eco fabrics and sustainable materials.

Last week briefly answered how a Fashion brand could start to learn about Eco materials and how to source them, and thought it might be useful if I put if here. These are starter tips, but I’ll try to update over time.

  • Check out Common Objective (CO) “the global tech solution for sustainable fashion business”, who state that:
“Our technology simplifies and rewards best practice, turning sustainability from a cost into an opportunity”.
  • Check out The Sourcerywho state that their Direct-to-Grower™ platform (seemingly for medium to larger size brands rather than tiny micro fashion companies) “includes Strategise, Engage and Facilitate programmes. Each was developed through consultation and learning with our clients and their partners. Direct-to-Grower™ supports brands, retailers, suppliers and growers at any stage of their fibre journey and balances commercial priorities with sustainability goals. Our sole focus is on driving results that deliver commercial value, integrity and meaningful and measurable impact to all.https://www.thesourcery.io/whatwedo
  • Check out and read more about the challenges around “Organic Cotton” at https://apparelinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/organic-cotton-cover.pdf

Will endeavour to add more as things arise.

Fashion rental for Sustainable Beauty

Love the growth of the new Fashion rental market.

I’ve been on the email list for HURR, and they finally sent through pics of dresses I actually find quite pretty, and a dress I’d really love to wear.

For now, I’m living by the seaside in casual Cornwall so my casual pretty dresses from charity shops are enough, but if life normalises a little post-COVID, or I just get to some more glamorous events down here as I get to know more people and feel like going out a little (or if I go somewhere warm…gosh this place can be cold in summer!), then maybe a dress like this would be nice.

Renting is such a great way to lower our environmental impact, and live a more eco, sustainable lifestyle whilst enjoying the beauty of Fashion.

After moving all my things from one storage to another yesterday I’m really keen to downsize and Marie Kondo minimalist live a little more (although I’d caveat that with I don’t believe in getting rid of too much as you pretty soon find you need things again!).

I hope HURR comes to Cornwall , although this dress of course reminds me more of my Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai days. I have some nice Cheongsams from China, but they are long and formal and this being short is a bit more fun (this is reminding me of some short Cheongsams I enjoyed back in Beijing perhaps 1999 ish, which I guess I must have wornout as I no longer have them!).

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on renting fashion in the chat below.

I spoke on this and other Fashion Sustainability issues on a podcast recently for investors looking at ESG (Environmental, Social, governance) factors for your pensions, etc.

You can listen to it here (I found I have to choose UK and Investor to get in,..then scroll down):

Larsen speaks on the Federated Hermes Investment podcast on ESG of Sustainability in Fashion post COVID.

If Sustainability in Fashion interests you from an ESG or other professional perspective,

I’m on linkedin here,

and you join gain business insights from our experience working on Sustainability and worker/human rights in and with Fashion and apparel companies (in China, HK, Asia, the west, globall) from our enewsletters at www.SupplyESChange.com.

Or just follow on Instagram: KtSuaveEco or

Twitter: KatieAL (where I rant a little about all sorts of Sustainability and Human Rights things,…yes…I get a touch political at times as the policy, law, governance our political leaders in governments can create can deliver Environmental Sustainability Change!)

To end, here’s a recent sunset from casual, but stunning Cornwall!

Very grateful for the clean air and water after my time living in China and grateful to be able to help cause or protect for more of it globally again whilst enjoying it again.

How we cause Sustainability in Fashion

We’ve had a conversation today on linkedin about an article posted by Professor Rebecca Earley of a 2025 family sustainable fashion diary.

Professor Earley believes that consumer behaviour will drive sustainability in Fashion. I commented that I love her optimism but having worked on eco fashion 15 years odd I’ve well long given up on behaviour change and strongly believe (like 100+ NGOs) that policy is most likely to actually cause the scale of change we need (and incentivise the scaled innovation and behaviour changes).

I loved the Vision for collaborations but having worked in many, collaborations also are not enough. We’ve had them for decades and yet environmental impacts have worsened. Yet when law came in for safer seatbelts, toasters, and tech, the goal was achieved. Law drives change faster.

So to realise the Sustainability of Fashion Dream many of us have had for years….

How can we get laws passed to incentivise it?

  • How can we get past the recent UK govt refusal to even pass a penny tax on sale of garments which could have helped with the collection and recycling and supported and incentivised more of this sharing and mending/repair economy?
  • Why was Primark the only UK apparel company to sign the brands letter calling for mandatory biz human rights and for supply chains environmental impacts (when over 100 NGOs signed and investors representing US$4 trillion)?
  • We need law to incentivise this shift. It worked on plastic bags, and is how we got our safe seatbelts, toasters, and tech. Fashion should support calls for law to raise the playing field so everyone joins this same game for change, that yes, our Planet 🌍 needs.

Professor Rebecca Earley had a great vision for the future of someone coming by on her moped to pick up and go do mending, but I have a story of this from the past. I used to take my clothes in Beijing to tailors to get mended and tailored for a better fit. Again though, policy incentives to say, lower taxes on people who do mending and repair startups would drive the innovation we need there (government grants too, say for free co-work spaces for mending and sewing of upcycling with free high speed broadband, govt funded repair equipment workshops). I look forward to such workplaces. They would create the community we need after COVID too. The Innovation, the jobs.

The government has the most important role to play in helping us achieve these visions. Many people in the UK are willing to do (and teach) sewing for fashion upcycling and tailoring (or even eco dyeing so we can continue to wear a navy blue version of white clothing that got stained) , but it hasn’t been affordable (given our almost decent minimum wage now, and high housing costs) as they are undercut by mass fashion being cheaper. So either tax mass fashion or subsidise repair services. One most be undertaken to make repair price competitive. Basic economics.

To learn about how to work on Sustainable Fashion in supply chains join the www.SupplyESChange.com Responsible Sourcing enewsletter. We’ll share free insights, podcasts, and about upcoming online courses.

Lovely Eco Ethical Macbook cases

Got a refurbished Macbook last year. The last lasted 10 years, and a Dell laptop I bought didn’t work from the get go or properly (i.e. at a speed of my laptops 10 & 20 years earlier) EVER, so I’m a Mac fan for now, as owning our laptops longer helps environmental Sustainability.

So does looking after our Tech to help it last longer.

So I ordered a new sleeve,..as yes,..the other one was 10 years old! Actually, I realise now,..it’s about 12 years old. Oh my goodness I’m embarassed,..it has looked a bit dirty!

So,..for a fancy new one,..but not new!

I found this great site with recycled material and other eco sleeves, often made under working conditions they claim are more ethical for decent work.

https://www.uniguide.com/cool-recycled-vegan-eco-laptop-cases-sleeves/

The guide led me to Etsy, where I ended up finding these “Sobi.Eco” ones:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/sobieco?listing_id=697031607&ref=shop_overview_header#items

I’ve ordered, and it’s shipping!

So if you’d like to see a pic after I receive it, or my review, drop a link or comment below.

Thanks!

Good luck on your more Eco Ethical Fashion and Lifestyle Journey.

New Labor Law Targeting Underage Models Could Change Our Body Image Issues

Great to hear more steps towards healthier figures coming to fashion from modeling, and with more attention to education, more chances of these beautiful young people having their chance to learn to make a difference in the world in more ways than just being a skinny pretty face….

Sewing your own to avoid sweatshops?

Well, it’s a debate whether this means you might take work away from people who need the income for 3 meals a day, but at least you might seek out fairly traded clothes more if you understand the conditions. So I loved seeing these sewing classes for people interested in ethical fashion and sustainable fashion. At least you can mend or tailor clothes rather than throw away! 

Lovely new eco-fashion site

Nice to see this eco-fashion site http://thisiwear.com

Good to see others also promoting organic cotton sustainability benefits, and that you can feel good wearing it knowing you’ve helped make peoples lives better rather than worse given how many feel after the RanaPlaza Bangladesh garment factory collapse tragedy.

#BtheChange

My sisters wearing my wardrobe: Great eco-fashion!

Cute little post about My sisters wearing my wardrobe.

Sharing and Swapping for Eco-Fashion

Swapping and sharing is a great for of eco-fashion and sustainable fashion.

My sister (and Mum!) and I have shared wardrobes at times too. Gives you a much larger, much more fun wardrobe! Far more to mix and match.

And sharing feels far less wasteful. Keeps more chemical dyes out of waterways to detox, means less worries about whether your fashion buy was ethical trade, saves land from endless mainstream cotton cultivation to save biodiversity, means less carbon emissions as it wasn’t spun, knitted or woven, dyed, treated, ironed, packed, shipped, retailed…..

Swapping and sharing for eco-fashion

Why a living wage is needed from fashion industry for Cambodia garment workers?….

Why is CSR being asked to extend to a Living Wage?

The detail of why Cambodian Unions are fighting that CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) also means buyer brands increase prices and influence that workers are paid a living wage:

“They live four or five people in a room, where they wash, eat and sleep. Their living condition is in chaos. They suffer from diseases. If one person gets sick, the other 4 or 5 cannot get rest…..

Workers now have disease, for example typoid and heavy chough. The companies do not pay attention when they give the workers masks. When auditors and inspectors come, the workers are provided with the masks but one or two days after inspection, they stop distributing the mask. They can only get sick after working for the factory for 8-10 years and then they have to sell everything to afford treatment.”

Read more and support via Case #4: The general strike.

Cambodian garment worker calls for a living wage