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New year, new undies: 9 underwear brands that care about your comfort and the environment

Photography By Kye Intimates, Araks, Renue The Label
Published 10.12.21

Hipster, brief, boxer, G-string, boyleg, high waisted. Everyone has a preference when it comes to the kind of underwear they like to don. But what about the environmental impact of your favourite style?

Undies are an essential part of everyday life (well, for most people). They’re the first things we put on in the morning and the last things we take off at night. We spend most of our lives in them, yet in the context of buying clothes that are better for the environment these garments are quickly forgotten.  

With that in mind, consider this a friendly reminder that sustainable and ethically made underwear does in fact exist and it’s probably time to give your smalls an environmentally responsible upgrade. Whether you’re dressing for comfort, practicality or to impress someone else (or even just yourself), these nine brands have you covered from top to bottom. 

Michael Comnius for RIISE

Michael Comnius for RIISE

NICO 

We don’t like to play favourites when it comes to our undergarments, but we’ll be honest – NICO sits at the top of our pile. Founded by Lis Harvey, NICO designs ethical, low-impact underwear and loungewear that elevate the everyday. Briefs and bras are made from GOTS-certified cotton, recycled cotton and TENCEL modal, and they are coloured with chemical-free, plant-based dyes. We’ve tried and tested just about every style so you can trust us when we say we love the subtle shaping of the Organic Mid Rise Brief and the superior comfort of the Organic Triangle Bra. The hardest part is choosing which colourway to add to cart.  

@nicounderwear 

Araks

Araks

Araks
 

Araks specialises in unique, consciously crafted lingerie and swimwear. While it’s already doing good for the environment, the brand has outlined plans to make its impact on the natural world an even bigger part of its values. In particular, Araks wants to shift all cotton fabrics to GOTS-certified organic cotton and regular nylon to recycled nylon. These materials can already be found in some of its collections, but the master plan is to adopt a circular approach and see them used across the board. We adore Araks’s custom palette option and layered colourways. Our favourite colour combos include the Aaron Panty Agate and the Yahvi Panty Bali. 

@araksofficial  

KYE Intimates 

KYE Intimates

KYE Intimates 

KYE creates considered intimates that feel deeply personal…but we doubt you’ll want to keep these beautiful briefs and bras solely to yourself. The garments are made from dead stock and renewable materials, which once again proves that sustainable fashion can still look and feel luxurious. All of KYE’s pieces are designed and handmade in Los Angeles in a close partnership with a local, family-owned factory. The brand also supports a range of social and environmental organisations by donating samples and a portion of its proceeds. Even if the planet isn’t front of your mind, the stylish designs will more than speak for themselves.  

@kye.intimates  

RENUE

RENUE

RENUE THE LABEL 

Just like KYE, RENUE has become an expert at combining sexy underwear and sustainability. In fact, the founders were a bit baffled as to why more brands weren’t doing this already. RENUE has taken the innovative road to lower its environmental impact, opting for fabrics that are infinitely recyclable and regenerative. These include TENCEL lyocell, made from FSC wood pulp, and TINTEX, made from recycled polyester and elastane using post-consumer waste. This is very cool to see, especially considering the limited options we have for discarding our old knickers! For those wondering how tree-derived knickers and recycled fabric briefs look, the answer is very good. We’re definitely putting ourselves down for the No. 3 – High Rise Tencel Thong and the No. 4 – High Rise Boy Brief 

@renuethelabel   

Parade

Parade

Parade

Unreal comfort, inclusive sizing and sustainable fabrics – these are just some of the things we love about Parade. Add in the fact it makes positive social and environmental contributions, and you have a brand that has well and truly won us over. Standout pieces from Parade’s range include undies made from certified recycled fabric and the world’s first edgeless carbon-neutral underwear collection. While we’re on the topic of carbon emissions, it’s also good to know Parade has set a goal to become a carbon positive business by 2025.  

@parade 

Boody

Boody

Boody 

If you haven’t experienced the superior comfort of clothing made from bamboo, then, please, do yourself a favour. Those familiar with how good this material feels to wear probably know about Boody already: a brand renowned for everyday basics crafted from organically grown bamboo. Underwear made from bamboo is super soft, comfortable and breathable – exactly what you want for these areas of the body. If you want to give your briefs drawer a more thorough eco-overhaul, then Boody has some excellent value-for-money options, like these packs of boxers and briefs.   

@boody 

Nisa

Nisa

Nisa 

Brands accounting for their environmental impact and doing social good? We love to see it. New Zealand brand Nisa was founded to give people from refugee and migrant backgrounds better access to employment opportunities. Alongside its positive working mission, Nisa makes its briefs from GOTS-certified organic cotton, and most styles are available up to size 4XL. We can see why the Quinn is its bestseller (can’t argue with that kind of practicality) and we’re liking the bright patterning of the Jules if you’re after a men’s brief.  

@nisa.workshop 

@le_petittrou

Le Petit Trou 

Le Petit Trou 

Our undergarments might remain out of sight the majority of the time, but there are occasions where we want them to be seen and appreciated. That’s where Le Petit Trou comes in. It specialises in the sexier side of sustainable lingerie, with pieces designed to complement the body and leave little to the imagination (think silk, sheer, ruffles and cuts with minimal coverage). The biggest environmental tick is that most Le Petit Trou pieces are made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. As firm believers in the timelessness of a matching black set, we recommend the Moucheron Underwire Bra and Moucheron Ruffled Briefs, both made from 100 per cent recycled polyester.  

@le_petittrou 

@pico.goods – credit to @the.edit_by.salsabil

Pico – credit to @albertobalazs

Pico 

Tracing the supply chain is one of the hardest things for a business to do. So when you find a brand that is transparent about its and forthcoming with information, you know you’re onto a legit organisation that cares. If you’ve ever wanted to learn a bit more about the supply chain behind your smalls, Pico can help. It gives people the opportunity to trace their everyday essentials right back to the source. You’ll find out where the products are made, what materials are used and what the brand is doing next to improve on its current initiatives. The soft and simple pieces are made from organic cotton and the fabric is dyed using OEKO-TEX- and GOTS-certified dyes.  

@pico.goods 

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