Today let me share seven UK based Black-owned ethical fashion and accessory brands with you.
I know I’m speaking to the converted here when I say that fast fashion is built on an exploitative and racist business model. These fast fashion brands exploit people of colour by using a workforce of predominantly female garment workers in low-wage economies. These include places such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam.
Ethical fashion is a better choice. However, even in the ethical fashion sphere in 2021 there is a lack of representation. There’s a distinct lack of Black and minority brands. And not enough ethical brands are using Black models. It’s safe to say that in terms of diversity, fashion has a long way to go.
The UK Black-Owned Ethical Fashion Brands Guide
In order to celebrate diversity within the ethical fashion sphere, let’s shine a light on the UK based Black-owned ethical fashion and accessory brands.
AAKS was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. Akosua is a Ghanaian native who graduated from Kingston University London.
Akosua’s goal is to introduce the world to her favourite Ghanian weaving techniques. At the same time, she wants to create sustainable jobs within Africa.
Handcrafted in Ghana, AAKS beautiful woven bags are made using ecologically harvested raffia. Scraps are even reserved for smaller bags, in order to minimise waste as much as possible.
A newcomer to the scene, BMUSE Vintage launched on Earth Day 2020. Selling a beautifully curated selection of stylish vintage clothing, they are an antidote to fast fashion.
BMUSE says “by honouring vintage as preloved fashion that already exists, we are not causing any further harm to people and the environment.”
Glow And See
London based Glow and See produce ethically made reflective knitwear. This range has been created with a wide range of wearers in mind. Rather than just focusing on cyclists, their knitwear has a broader appeal. From the chic commuter to the dog walker, or the parent or child wanting to be safe on the streets, their pieces are for everyone.
What’s more, this wonderful range of headwear and neckwear does not compromise style over function. Effortlessly ready to wear in the day, they’re beautifully reflective at night. This helps you to stay safe yet stylish.
Kemi Telford design and sell beautifully bold Nigerian influenced clothing with a western twist.
Sustainability is at the heart of this Black-owned ethical fashion brand. Kemi Telford says “This brand was created to empower women. This means that our employees – and those of our manufacturers – are always treated with care and respect“.
What’s more, Kemi Telford is conscious of waste. Remnants from the clothing are made into colourful zero-waste hair bows and gift bags.
Kitty Ferreira makes stylish sustainable clothes. These are perfect for work or special occasions.
London made, all aspects of ethical production are considered. From the use of natural dyes. To the use of organic and cruelty-free silk. And, where possible, British-made upcycled fabrics are used. And in a very welcome move, the clothes go up to a size 26. This is great news for customers looking for plus size ethical clothing.
Maison Archives sells chic sustainable fashion accessories sourced from fairtrade co-ops. Think beautiful hair clips and headbands, as well as stylish bags and hats.
OlaOla is a Textile design studio, ran by Ola Olayinka. Here they create bold & unique patterned accessories such as bags, hair accessories, and jewellery. As such, it’s a great one-stop-shop for ethical accessories.
Each product is printed and hand-made in small batches in the UK. Making products to order in this manner allows for less fabric waste. What’s more, OlaOla uses all smaller off-cuts. Here they are upcycled into products, such as earrings, to further reduce fabric waste.
Yala is a female-founded modern jewellery brand. As the first jewellery brand in the UK to be designated a Certified B Corporation®, sustainability is key. As such, they pride themselves on their intricate design, sustainable materials, ethics, and transparency.
Their beautiful range of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings are handmade by Kenyan artisans. What’s more, Kenyan models, photographers, and stylists are used for all publicity shots.
Have you come across any more black-owned ethical fashion or accessory brands? Do let me know – I would love to see this guide grow and grow.
Looking for the best women’s ethical underwear for 2022? Read on, I’ve found over 20 sustainable and eco-friendly bra and knicker brands that might just fit the bill.
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 ethical 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 in their bras,
Guide to Women’s Ethical Underwear Brands
Here’s where we are with women’s ethical underwear in 2022.
All Undone makes contemporary designer underwear, all of which are manufactured entirely in the UK. 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 makes stylish ethical underwear for women that are 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 Ethical Underwear
Ayten Gasson sells luxury underwear (including peace silk if you prefer vegan fabric), 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.
All Boody* garments are made from organically grown bamboo and produced adhering to the highest standards for both the planet and for their workers. They’re both certified as Ecocert and Peta-approved vegan.
Their underwire-free bras cover sizes 30B through to 40C, and their knickers cater for UK sizes 6 to 16. Take 10% off your first order when you sign up to their mailing list.
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 Women’s Ethical Underwear
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 specialises in pretty Liberty print knickers but also sells soft fabric yoga bras – in sizes 8 and 10 only.
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 ethical women’s underwear.
Heist Studios*, a company with a strong sustainability focus, sells a range of wide range of styles of more inclusive-sized knickers. Here, sizes range between size 6 and size 22. Their Eco Lace collection, in particular, uses recycled and recyclable materials to make their beautiful knickers. 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, and invisible slip shorts which are anti-chaffing.
Innermettle* knickers are made from surplus milk. It sounds unusual, but the protein casein can be separated from sour milk to make fabric and tackle milk waste at the same time. I was initially skeptical but I’ve tried Innermettle’s underwear out and it strangely works!
Their underwear is very smooth and soft (and I promise doesn’t smell of milk!) and feels similar to cashmere or silk on your skin. It can be chemical-intensive to make milk-based fabrics, however, Innermettle uses a technique that is free from harsh chemicals.
Use the exclusive discount code MORALFIBRES25 at the checkout, to get 25% off any product from Innermettle’s Milk Innerwear collection.
Luva Huva Women’s Ethical Underwear
Luva Huva sells stunning ethical underwear for women, 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.
Danish-based 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, their women’s ethical underwear range cover a range of shapes and sizes. The 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.
Pantee* is a new ethical underwear brand, that just launched in November 2020, catering for bra sizes 28A to 38F. What makes Pantee sustainable is that they upcycle unsold t-shirts that have been left unworn and are destined for landfill, into soft and supportive bras and briefs. All of their styles are underwire-free. In case you are worried about support, each bra is double-layered for extra comfort and support. Their bras are all £38, regardless of style.
Peau Ethique, available in the UK through ByNature, produces bras, pants, and nightwear made fairly from 100% organic cotton and other natural materials. 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 36D.
People Tree Ethical Women’s Underwear
People Tree* has recently launched a range of organic and ethical underwear for women. Here 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 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.
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 hemp underwear* makes soft and stretchy ethical 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. What’s more, hemp 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 Women’s Ethical Underwear
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 are offered in basic styles in 4 colourways, and look very comfortable.
Wuka’s knickers* range in size from 2XS to 6XL, making them much more inclusive. What’s more, they are made from Tencel modal, which is made from responsibly sourced wood pulp from carefully managed beech tree forests. This is FSC certified to ensure sustainability and ethical production and is certified carbon neutral. Choose from bikini briefs or midi briefs.
Wuka also sells a wire-free and unpadded bralette in sizes XS to 2XL, in the same Tencel modal.
Women’s Ethical Underwear Tips
That’s a bit of a whistlestop tour of the women’s ethical underwear landscape in 2022. It’s a bit more exciting than the 2013 landscape, I’m sure you’ll agree. However, there’s definitely 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!
I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, a UK based eco-blog. I'm a sustainability expert, and my aim is to make sustainability simple, by researching and writing on all things environmental - from product guides to breaking down big ideas - so you don't have to.
As well as the blog I've also written a book on natural cleaning - Fresh Clean Home is out now!
Want to know more? Check out the about page for more information or explore the archives using the category tabs above.