Guide to ethical undies and other bits.
Underthings are often last or non-existent on the ethical shopping list. If you’re like us, a Marks & Spencer five-pack of briefs does the job for far longer than it should. But out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. Take your eco outfit all the way by choosing to buy ethical, responsibly made and good quality underwear that will last.
For other intimate essentials, like tampons and condoms, we've found some innovative ethical alternatives.
Bras and undies
Australian made Nico underwear strikes the perfect balance between style and practicality. Their bra, undies and bodysuits are made of sustainably sourced materials like modal, bamboo and organic cotton. Most importantly Nico underwear is made to last. The first underwear brand to be accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, Nico also won the Lingerie and Swimwear category at the 2013 Source Awards - the global awards for sustainable fashion.
The TOM Organic message is simple: we can look after ourselves and the planet every (time of the) month. TOM Organic feminine hygiene and nursing products are made using pure organic cotton grown in Australia. The company is Australian-owned, Certified Organic, B Corporation and supports women specific charities.
Combine TOM Organic with Oxfam and you get something like Thinx: Underwear designed for wearing during periods, no other product (or landfill bound waste) necessary. And daggy period undies these are not. Thinx are super sexy black and lacy and come in four variations to suit your flow, including a G-string for light days. Thinx are made in a family-run factory in Sri Lanka that’s committed to providing supplementary education and training to its female employees. But it doesn’t stop there, the company’s partner organization AFRIpads, trains women in Uganda to sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads, helping them become entrepreneurs. In turn, girls are able to purchase an affordable and sustainable pack of pads, allowing them to attend school every day of the month.
Trying to resist using the phrase “making sustainable sexy”, but it’s so appropriate for Sustain condoms. These boys are Fair Trade, B Corporation, Vegan, Cruelty Free, Non GMO and nitrosamine free (try saying that in one go). Sustain condoms are made of latex from one of the most sustainable rubber tree plantations on the planet, located in southern India. As well providing 180 unionised rubber tappers and their families with a higher than average wage, the plantation provides education and healthcare to the entire community, including an AIDS awareness program. Sustain are also an FSC® certified company trying to address the number one cause of climate change: overpopulation. Over 200 million women globally lack access to contraception. The company supports Planned Parenthood and 10% of profits support women’s reproductive healthcare.