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.
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!