Undies, underwear, gitch, knickers, drawers, or if you are in Victorian times, unmentionables. It goes by many names.
There is so much ethical underwear out there that at a certain point I just had to stop looking. Seriously. It’s everywhere. Don’t believe me? This collection is just a fraction of it. There’s everything from super sexy (one line has been featured in Playboy) to super comfy (a few lines are vying for that title).
It was a little harder to find practical (read: underwire) bras in the slow fashion world. Everyone and their grandmother it seems is making beautiful handmade skivvies, but adding support is a real challenge. Luckily for you, I found a range of undergarments that will take you from the office (with clothes overtop, please) to date night to a lazy Saturday at home.
Brighton Lace / I am completely smitten with their longline lace softcup bras, especially the ones with cap sleeves. Who’d have thought a bra with sleeves would be so beautiful? Brighton Lace bralettes and knickers are made by a small team of women in Brighton, England – and even the lace is made in England!
March & August Underthings / Handmade just up the street from me in Winnipeg, Canada! The bralettes and undies are made from bamboo spandex and mesh, and I can personally attest to the fact that they are oh so comfy. I also interviewed her here. She’s on hiatus right now, but follow her for updates on when the new collection will be out!
Colie Co / These super sexy undies are handmade in Leeds, England, mostly using reclaimed fabrics.
Mary Young / Canadian-made lingerie and loungewear. Though her pieces are gorgeous, the emphasis is comfort.
With Love Lingerie / Sexy, sheer lingerie handmade in Toronto, Canada. Maker Carrie Russell is also dedicated to supporting seamstresses and designers in war-torn regions through micro loans.
Married and Bright / Okay, so these are for the Itty Bitty Titty Club. Is that what it’s called? I don’t know. I’m not a member. Anyways, M & B undies are…uhhhh…”minimalist” and handmade-to-order in Los Angeles.
Hopeless Lingerie / Sexy enough to be featured in Playboy, yet ethical enough to make this list. 🙂 Handmade in Melbourne, Australia.
Ohhh Lulu / Have you ever fancied a velvet bralette? Or gold sequin knickers? I mean, haven’t we all? Perfectly pretty loungewear handmade in Orillia, Ontario.
Fortnight Lingerie / The first slow fashion brand I discovered that actually makes UNDERWIRE bras! Yay! Made by a team of craftswomen in Toronto, Canada, they source most of their fabrics from across Europe.
PACT / Super soft organic cotton and fair trade underpants. At around $10 a pair, you can hardly even get child-labour-and-toxins-undies for less!
Harlow and Fox / Get ready for this folks: slow fashion-approved underwire bras for fuller busts. WHAT?! Harlow and Fox is made in Great Britain with European fabrics and their bras come in 30-38 DD-G. Yes, that is the sound of the heavens opening up.
Me Undies / Their #1 selling feature is comfort (or maybe fun – they have a design of the month), but dig only a little deeper and you’ll see they’re also eco-friendly. As they say, their manufacturing involves “CO2 neutral processes in which up to 95% of production materials are recovered.”
THINX Period Panties / Yup, period as in “Aunt Flo.” If you haven’t heard of these, read up on how you – well, women – can wear THINX instead of pads and tampons. Not only does that prevent mountains of waste, but the company supports programs that educate and employ women and girls in Uganda. Instead of being a buy-one-give-one kind of company, they actually encourage the local economy. Yay!
Cosabella / A family-owned company that began by making bodysuits in the ’80s, Cosabella is now in its second generation and the manufacturing is still done in Italy. Extra great news: they have plus sizes and maternity undies/bras!
Hanky Panky / Made in the USA, and just like Cosabella, they do plus sizes and maternity! Whoot!
Pants to Poverty / Organic and fair trade “pants” (what the Brits call underwear). The undies are made in India in a factory that sets an example for the way garment manufacturing should be done. Not destroying the earth ASAP! Paying employees a living wage! Pizza delivered by unicorns!
Naja / Have you been watching Jane the Virgin? It’s star, Gina Rodriguez, is one half of the Naja founding duo. This company is passionate about improving the lives of the women they employ: single mothers and female heads of households who are paid above market wages and given health benefits, flexible work policies, and school supplies for their kids.
I am about to embark on my first bra-making adventure. I’m starting with the soft cup longline Watson bra (made with bra kits from Tailor Made that include all the fabric and notions, because sourcing all the stuff for bra-making was stressing me out). I’m sharing mostly bra patterns here because those are the interesting-est, but most of those companies also sell an undies pattern. (If you REALLY want, Jalie sells a men’s thong pattern…)
Florence bra / Seamwork
Lili Bra & Rose Panties / Ohhh Lulu Sews
Nutmeg lounge set / Colette Patterns
Watson Bra / Cloth Habit
Geneva undies / Seamwork
Marlborough Bra / Orange Lingerie
Women’s Shapewear / Jalie
Classic Bra / Pin-Up Girls
Underwear for Men, Women & Children / Jalie
Also, if you’re thinking “sure, Elise, bra-making sounds fun but where do I even get the supplies?” I have you covered: Bra Makers Supply, Mercer’s Fabrics (formerly Grey’s Fabrics), Blackbird Fabrics, Tailor Made Shop, and in the Netherlands, Merckwaerdigh.