Category

Life & Style

Fashion, Life & Style

Women’s Ethical Underwear for 2021

organic basics ethical underwear

I last wrote about women’s ethical underwear back in 2013, in the infancy of Moral Fibres.  Here I lamented the lack of brands, the lack of bras available that went beyond a C cup, and the lack of underwiring.  I felt that ethical bra makers seemed to think that anyone interested in ethical bras must be some kind of size 6 or 8 yoga nymph that needed nothing more than two lacy triangles for support.

Recently I revisited that post and sadly found that half of the brands featured had ceased trading.  It was long overdue for a look into the women’s ethical underwear realm, so here we are today.  I wanted to find out if there are more brands out there.  And crucially, I wanted to know if any of them had realised that people interested in ethical underwear might want a wider size range and some might want underwire.

Here’s where we are in 2021.

Whilst reading through this guide, you might want to have a look at this post on what to look for when shopping for ethical clothing.  It covers topics such as what fabrics to look for and explains what all the different eco labels mean.

womens ethical underwear guide

All Undone

All Undone make contemporary designer underwear, all of which are manufactured entirely in the UK using a blend of silk, mesh, and lace.  Their bras come in back sizes 28 through to 34, and cup sizes D through to GG, with matching knickers available for the matchy-matchy look.

Anekdot

anekdot ethical underwear for ladies

Anekdot makes stylish underwear designed and handmade in Berlin using materials sourced from production leftovers, end of lines, off-cuts, deadstock, and vintage trimmings. 

The team hunts down fabrics from factories that are closing down, makers surpluses, production errors, or miscalculations. This means the materials used have never been worn but make for truly zero-waste ethical underwear.  Underwire free, in sizes XS to XL, my only gripe is I can’t figure out how the sizing relates to UK sizes.

Ayten Gasson

Ayten Gasson sells luxury silk underwear (including peace silk), all designed and handmade in the UK.  The company is also dedicated to supporting as many UK companies as possible, from lace mills to printers.  Sizes go up to a 36D for a full cup or non-padded underwired bras, and matching knickers are available too.

Buttress & Snatch

Buttress and Snatch burlesque and bridal lingerie is custom made, to order, in their Hackney workshop.  They buy all of their materials from UK suppliers, and actively seek to minimise waste.  Buttress and Snatch have made underwear for famous ladies of all shapes and sizes – Madonna, Kate Moss, Beth Ditto, Neneh Cherry, Kate Upton, and even for Marilyn Monroe (in her waxwork form).

Bra sizes range from 28D to 42E and they seem to cater to the curvier lady.  As with anything custom made, prices aren’t cheap but if you are curvy and looking for something extra special then this is the place for you.

Ciel

Ciel only uses environmentally and ethically produced fabrics & production throughout the design and making process of their beautiful underwear.  Their fabrics include sustainable rapid growth textiles, such as lyocell and hemp, to recycled fabrics from post-production and post-consumer waste.  Organic natural fibres, certified by Control Union and GOTS, are also included.

Ciel specialise in pretty Liberty print knickers but also sell soft fabric yoga bras – in sizes 8 and 10 only.

ColieCo

womens ethical underwear uk

ColieCo sells very sexy lingerie, all made by hand in Portugal, using recycled, reused, and reclaimed fabrics, and using only biodegradable and recyclable packaging.  Sizes for their soft and underwired bras range from 30B to 36DD.  However, ColieCo does take requests for custom sizes, and prices are very reasonable for handmade underwear.

Heist Studios

Heist Studios, a company with a strong sustainability focus, sell a range of four different styles of more inclusive sized knickers.  Sizes range between size 6 and size 22.  Heist also sells a non-underwired bralette, again in sizes 6 – 22.  Whilst it is non-wired, they say it lifts, shapes, and supports in total comfort without the need for wire.  Also, look out for ethically made shapewear.

Lara Intimates

ethical underwear for women

Lara Intimates create beautiful underwear from their Soho factory.  Their underwear is made from reclaimed and luxury surplus fabric from large factories or brands.  Even the elastics and packaging are made in England with eco-friendly practices.  Sizes range from a 28A to a 36F, and I personally love that all of the models used aren’t all size 8.

Luva Huva

Luva Huva sells stunning ethical lingerie, handmade in the UK.  They use local suppliers and producers where possible, as well as using remnants, vintage fabrics, and end-of-line fabrics and trims.

Natural fabrics, such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, soy, and Tencel are prioritised.   And Luva Huva is always happy to create made to measure garments to fit any size, so custom sizing is always free of charge.

Martha Rose

fairtrade bras

Martha Rose sell very sweet British made lingerie. Their underwired bras go up to 36D and their knickers go up to size 14.  My one gripe is that a size 10-12 is classed as a medium and a size 12-14 is classed as large, which isn’t particularly body positive.

Neon Moon

Neon Moon sells a range of body-positive sexy knickers and unwired bras in sizes from XS through to XXL.  They say all their products are made sustainably by hand.  However, there are no further details on what being made sustainably means.  All of the products I clicked on do seem to be made predominantly from polyester.  The last time that I looked at their website (January 2021), they have plans to increase their sizing range and launch a new underwear line.  I’m marking this as one to watch!

Nui Ami

Nui Ami doesn’t do underwire, and instead, sell beautiful ‘sleep bralettes’, which is a cross between a bra and a vest.  The bralettes do go up to a more generous 38/40 E-F cup.  However, they are designed for sleeping in though so I don’t know how much support one would give you.  The plus point is that all their products are made in Britain using materials sourced from Europe.

Organic Basics

organic underwear

Organic Basics pride themselves on selling, well, sustainable basics fairly made in Europe from GOTS certified organic cotton.  They offer basic colours, timeless styles, and no seasonal collections to minimise wastage.  With a range of sizes from XS to XL, they cover a range of shapes and sizes.  Prices are also very reasonable – a pack of two knickers is £27 and a bra is a reasonable £30.  I own two pairs of knickers and love them – they are so soft and comfortable.  Use discount code WENDYOBC to take 10% off your order.

The caveat?  If you’re looking for underwire in your bra then perhaps Organic Basics isn’t the place for you.  Organic Basics call underwire “annoying” (although Organic Basics was created by four men…!).  Therefore I’m not too sure how much support their bras would offer anyone above a C cup.

Peau Ethique

Peau Ethique, available in the UK through ByNature, produces bras, pants, and nightwear made fairly from 100% organic cotton and silk.  It’s a good stop if you are looking for something lacy and glamorous, rather than some of the more basic styles that can be available ethically.

The best bit?  Peau Ethique does offer ethical underwired bras made from organic cotton, at competitive prices – all £25 or less.  The downside?  ByNature only offers very limited sizes, and I’ve seen nothing beyond a 32C.

People Tree

People Tree has recently launched a range of organic undewear, where you’ll find non-wired bras, briefs, vests, and slips.  All of their items are made with organic cotton.  What’s more, the collection is verified as fair trade by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).  Sizes range from size 8 -16, and prices range between £9 and £28.

Rossell

Rossell makes luxury underwear made from natural fibres.  All of which are made in Europe from European made materials.  Their knickers are beautiful, as are the bras.  On the downside,  all their bras are underwire-free and only go up to a 34D.

Thunderpants

The cheekily named Thunderpants promises the ultimate in comfortable pants that won’t go up your bum.  Made from 90% organic cotton, they offer two styles – original (BIG pants) and hipster.  These pants are big on comfort!

WAMA

WAMA hemp underwear makes soft and stretchy women’s hipsters, bikini pants, and boy shorts.  They also make non-underwired bralettes from hemp.  Hemp generally requires no pesticides and very little water, and renews the soil with each growth cycle so it is more sustainable than cotton. 

Inclusive sizes range from XS to 2XL, and prices are around $20 and upwards.

The downside is that WAMA ships their underwear from America.  Worldwide shipping is a flat fee of $20, regardless of the order value.  However, bear in mind you may have to pay a customs charge on your order if you are in the UK.

Woron

fairtrade bras

Woron* offers sustainable vegan underwear that is Oeko-Tex certified.  With a range of sizing from XS through to XL, again there’s no underwire here. Sadly, this means very few styles look supportive for ladies of the larger chest.  On the plus side, their knickers, offered in basic styles in 4 colourways, look very comfortable.

That’s a bit of a whistlestop tour of the women’s ethical underwear landscape in 2021.  It’s a bit more exciting than the 2013 landscape, I’m sure you’ll agree.  However, there’s still a long way to go in terms of inclusive sizing and affordability. 

As always, if you come across any other women’s ethical underwear makers/shops then do let me know.  I also aim to update this post regularly to do check-in next time you’re in the market for underwear, for new makers/shops that I’ve found!  

Fashion, Life & Style

Five Places to Shop for Secondhand Clothes Online

where to shop secondhand clothes online

Today I want to you show five places to shop for secondhand clothes online.

A common theme in any discussion about ethical shopping and ethical fashion is that it’s far too expensive for the average person to shop ethically.  I won’t lie, ethical clothing does tend to be more expensive than it’s fast fashion, mass-produced counterparts.

There is simply no getting around the fact that if you want to buy ethically produced and fairly made new clothing that respects the rights of the garment workers, then you do need to spend a little more.

However, if you want to shop ethically on a tiny budget then don’t forget that the single most ethical and sustainable way to buy clothes is to shop secondhand.

Shopping secondhand isn’t always easy.  Maybe rummaging around a charity shop doesn’t sound appealing to you. Or perhaps you’re too time-poor to amble around your local charity shops. Maybe it’s impossible to find the sizes you want in your average charity shop.  The good news is that there are heaps of ways to shop for preloved secondhand clothes online.  Here are five to start you off:

shop secondhand online

* denotes affiliate link

eBay

Ahh, eBay*.  eBay is possibly one of my favorite places to shop for secondhand clothes online.

I’m sure everyone knows what eBay is and does, but perhaps you haven’t used it yet.  Well, eBay can be a veritable goldmine for secondhand clothes online.  I feel like anything you could ever want or need is on eBay.  To be honest, most of my online secondhand shopping, nay, most of my wardrobe has come from eBay.  It’s the first place I look when I’m in need of something.  A lot of the time I don’t need to look any further than eBay.  However, eBay can be a little overwhelming for beginners so see my top eBay buying tips here.

I do have a few eBay niggles.  Photography quality can vary, and item specifics can be scant, depending on the seller.  Many sellers don’t offer a returns service.  And you can only combine postage if you are buying multiple items from the same seller.  In the last few years, it also feels like eBay has become awash with brand new clothing direct from China.

You definitely do need to be on your toes with eBay.  That being said, you can pick up some great bargains if you’re prepared to search.  And particularly if you are prepared to come back when the auction is ending to bid.  The good news is that in the last few years, more and more sellers have started to offer Buy It Now options.  This allows you to bypass the auction format completely.

Oxfam Online

Want to shop secondhand but still support a charity?  Yes, you can shop Oxfam online*!  Here you’ll find women’s clothing and accessories, as well as mens, kids, and vintage clothes.  Essentially, everything that you can find in your local Oxfam shop is online.

Easy to navigate, you can filter by category, size, brand, price, colour, and condition.  So much so, I personally find things are easier to find on the Oxfam website rather than in-store!  I’ve also found women’s clothing going up to a size 28.

Unlike eBay, where the photography can be hit or miss depending on the seller, everything on Oxfam is photographed well.  Everything is shot from multiple angles, so you can get a clear view of your potential purchase.

Items are reasonably priced, although I feel a little more expensive than in-store.  It’s made up by the fact that delivery is just £3.95, no matter how many items you order.  For extra peace of mind, returns are free.  You also get the added bonus that your purchase is supporting a good cause.

Depop

Depop is new to me and I haven’t made a purchase yet.  Although I have spent a little while browsing the app.  I must say, I have been enjoying its Instagram-meets-eBay style format.

What I do like about Depop for buying secondhand clothes online is that if you find something you like you can buy it straight away.  None of this having to remember to come back at a specific time on a specific day to bid, like with eBay.  With Depop’s fixed-price format you also know how much something is, which can make it easier to budget.  That being said, I think you are more likely to get a bargain with the eBay auction-style format compared to Depop’s fixed price model.

I initially found it harder to find what I was looking for on Depop as the search function isn’t great.  Unlike eBay, sellers are allowed to use other brand names in their listing.  This meant that trying to find an item from a specific brand via the search function can be quite tricky.

I found I was having to wade through a load of items until I happened to find the specific brand I was looking for.  Then I found the filter (on the search screen).  This allows you to filter your search results based on category, size, brand, and price.  This makes for a much better Depop experience!

Depop doesn’t encourage sellers to list item specifics so there is very limited information available.  You will need to message sellers to find out what the item is made of, for example.

Vinted

Vinted is a new-ish site where you buy, sell, and swap clothes, shoes, and accessories online.  It’s broadly similar to Depop, in that’s it a fixed-price format.  However, unlike eBay and Depop, where sellers pay to sell, on Vinted, buyers pay to buy.

Buyers pay a service fee of 3% to 8% of the item’s price, plus a “fixed fee” of 3op to 80p on top of their purchase.  Why the “fixed fee” is variable is something I don’t understand!

Vinted say that all buyer fees are clearly visible at the checkout, so there are no nasty surprises.  They say this fee covers payment processing and protection for your order, in-app postage options and tracking, and support from the Vinted team in case anything goes wrong.

I’m not too sure I’m a fan of the pay to buy format.  I also dislike the sliding fee scale, which is only visible come checkout time (making it hard to budget as you are browsing) so I personally haven’t purchased from Vinted yet.

ASOS Vintage

If vintage is your bag then try ASOS Vintage* where you can browse thousands of quality vintage items for men and women.  You can filter by size, colour, style and material to hone down on a specific item.  Items are very well photographed, on actual models, which is something I always appreciate in order to anticipate how it might look on me!

When buying on ASOS vintage you do buy from individual sellers, so you will have to pay shipping on each individual item unless you buy from a single seller.

Have you shopped on any of these sites?  Would you recommend them?  Or have you shopped elsewhere for secondhand clothes online?  I’d love to hear!

where to shop secondhand clothes online