Jul 16, 2018 | By Louise Squire
Intimate apparel has, thus far, lagged behind other categories in environmentally safe practices. Not only are many of the extensively researched and developed supportive features, from underwires to elastic straps, dependent on petroleum-based products, but the wide-range of materials in each piece makes lingerie hard to recycle post-consumer as well.
There is hope on the horizon, however, with the help of a few companies who are thinking outside the box and making concerted efforts to go green. Italian company Intimissimi recently launched a six-week recycling campaign that enticed customers to bring in used bras in exchange for a $4 credit on a new bra. In turn, the recycled bras were broken down into various projects like building insulated, soundproof panels for construction.
Arizona-based company Bra Recyclers have taken the concept in a charitable direction with its Bosom Buddy program, which supports women in more ways than one. People are encouraged to mail in or drop off gently used, freshly laundered bras that then go to women in communities around the world.
Designer label Stella McCartney sets an admirable example of how to implement ethical practices into everyday activities to make profound, sweeping changes on a larger scale. The company adheres to an active recycling program for paper and plastic, utilizes biodegradable bags in stores, and even uses hybrid car services. In addition, the company is certified carbon-neutral, offsetting over 3000 tons of CO2 annually to initiatives like the Uchindle-Mapanda reforestation project in Tanzania and the La Pradera landfill management project in Colombia. For more information on how to offset your carbon footprint, visit www.carbonneutral.com.
While integrating green practices into the supply chain is a difficult task for intimates, especially on a mass level, there are several notable companies that are making a difference one undergarment at a time with recycled or organic materials, ethical manufacturing processes, charitable donations and social outreach. Let’s celebrate Earth Day down to our skivvies with these companies that are setting the standard for style and sustainability.
UK retail giant Marks & Spencer leads the charge into environmentally conscious territory by launching the world’s first carbon-neutral lingerie. Ranging in price from £9.50 to £22, the recently released Autograph Leaves collection consists of on-trend broderie anglaise bras, panties and garter belts that embrace the green effort throughout every step of the fashion cycle, from fabric to delivery. Manufactured in a plant in Sri Lanka that produces 30% less carbon, the remaining footprint is offset by local reforestation projects.
Contemporary silhouettes, crafty design details and, of course, eco-friendly fabrics make up the DNA of French loungewear line Occidente. With a firm commitment to being a conscious purveyor of green fashion, Occidente continues to win us over with their carefully selected non-profit partners, eco-luxe fair trade fabrics and effortlessly chic designs.
Leave it to New York-based lingerie label Only Hearts to warm our hearts with their organic Pima cotton collection. Gentle on the skin as well as on the planet, the ultra-soft cotton jersey appears on favorite items like piped pajamas, hipsters and mannish robes. Slub textures and feather weights further the organic, vintage-y aesthetic of the line; while squirrel and owl prints continue the nature theme in a playful way on panties.
Berlin-based brand Wundervoll gets our Earth Day stamp of approval with its S/S 11 line, Sunset Mission. Inspired by “balmy summer nights” and “dry earth,” the 11-piece collection is crafted out of their signature Biophyl fabric, a “green polyester” derived from corn sucrose. In sleek, architectural shapes, harlequin jacquard patterns and a sophisticated color palette, Sunset Mission shows us how to go green in an ultra-hip, luxurious way.
With the insightful (and clever) philosophy that “change starts with your underwear,” PACT has caught our attention with their dual mission to produce premium organic underthings while simultaneously educating the masses about environmental causes. Not only are their eye-catching everyday knickers for men and women manufactured from sustainable fabrics and ethical practices, but 10% of all sales go directly to community causes like the Sierra Club.
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