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Ethical undies: 8 brands that get it right

Living
Feature

Jesse Dodd

30 October 2016

It’s all pants. No one really loves underwear shopping, but what if your next purchase of socks, pants or bras could help others or the environment? Wouldn't that make spending money on basics feel a little better? While ethical and slow fashion grows in momentum there are a whole drawer full of new and boutique brands quietly making ethical undies that do more than keep you comfy. We’ve rounded up our favourites for guy, girls and anyone in between.

Conscious Step
Conscious Step literally lets you put your best foot forward. For every pair of colourful, work friendly ethical socks bought, the company donates a fixed amount to one of five causes including treating HIV and fighting global hunger, through globally recognised charities. And these aren’t any old socks, these are 168 thread count organic cotton socks with hand-linked toes that will keep your feet sweet. Manufactured in India, one of the best places in the world for socks, they’re made in an ethical supply chain that does no harm.

Allvar
Allvar takes the definition of wood in your pants to a whole new level. Super soft men’s boxers are made from sustainable Swedish trees by the recently launched brand. Inspired by the idea of bamboo fabric, they applied the same concept to their own native moody forests. Wood that would have been wastage is now spun into woven fabric and made into a trio of boxers that aim to capture the mystery and magic of a primeval forest. Manufactured in ethical conditions in Sri Lanka, Allvar is The Killing boxset of organic underwear.

Naja
There’s more to Naja’s bright coloured bras and digitally printed lingerie than meets the eye. Ethically and environmentally produced, the company wants to empower all women, from those that wear the products to those that make it. Under it’s Underwear for Hope pledge, it trains low income single mothers how to sew, pays them above average wages and provides books, school supplies, meals and uniforms for their kids. It also supports women in Colombia to become their own bosses. Finally, ethical lingerie that supports not just you, but a whole chain of women.

PACT
Proving it’s possible to rock at men’s and women’s underwear, PACT peddles both boxers and bikini briefs, tights and trunks. But it’s not just about selling quality organic cotton underwear. PACT’s on a mission to get the rest of the world to cotton on (sorry!) to why organic cotton rocks. Certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, PACT’s organic cotton undies use no toxic chemicals and 62% less energy than non-organic versions. Living wages and positive labour conditions are standard throughout its manufacturing chain.

Fazl Socks
Fazl Socks are what winters were made for. Beautifully hand knitted by Indian women to bring in a (fairly paid) extra income, each cosy patterned pair also works hard to help provide shelter and food for India’s orphaned kids. 50% of the company’s profits goes to loving children’s homes in some of the poorest areas of the country. Inspired by the handmade socks of local people in the Himalayas, these wooly wonders are perfect for keeping toes warm by the fire on a dark and stormy night.

Mighty Good Undies
Strong, soft and heavy on the eco-friendly front, new Aussie brand Mighty Good Undies make no nonsense smalls for guys and girls using organic and Fairtrade cotton. They’re manufactured by an ethical small-scale Indian factory who are well known for their environmental policy. While the company aims to be carbon neutral, it’s not yet so until that happens each pair of undies also comes with a 1kg carbon offset. If you’re after organic underwear that betters the earth then this is a great place to start.

Woron
Aiming for a bra you want to keep on rather than shrug off the moment you get home, Scandinavian sisters Anya and Arina Woron have focused on designing fab basic organic lingerie that you want to linger in. At Woron, making the whole process simple and ethical was never in dispute, so the pretty fabric is actually made from beech wood pulp, with the trees grown in sustainable forests. The fibre has a longer lifespan than cotton and it’s made into their gorgeous eco-friendly underwear in a small family owned factory in Europe.

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