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Lingerie Lament! Fashion Designers Fighting Unsustainable Clothing

When you are getting ready of a morning, have you ever stopped to think about the items you wear on the daily and the products you use? Just how they fit in the ‘bigger picture’ ie. are they contributing to making the world a better place, or are they linked to more wastage and/or pollution?

All hail the e-commerce eco warriors

It’s easy enough to overlook these factors as a consumer, but for fashion designers it’s a far different story. Here’s the tale of the ‘lingerie laments’. On one side you have the generally smaller, more ethically minded companies like this organic womens underwear supplier ‘Hara the Label’. They are pitted against the ‘fast fashion’ conglomerates in a battle reminiscent of David and Goliath.

And, while undergarments might seem like trivial matters in the grand scheme of things, they are most certainly of no lightweight concern. Here’s why your ‘smalls’ have a BIG impact on sustainability and fair trade practice on the global scale. And, when it comes to fashion designers, how an undercurrent of environmentally conscious retailers and ecommerce providers are fighting back.

Making choices of material consequence

Did you know that The World Bank estimates that the textile industry is responsible for around 20 percent of industrial pollution of the earth’s land and its water sources? Companies that show compassion and awareness in line with an aim for ‘a greener world’ should choose to implement materials that are recycled and/or naturally derived.

Materials and their composites, ie. the fibres that go into the structure of a particular fabric is what inevitably results in that piece of underwear for you to pick out of your skivvies drawer. The ‘big picture’ is all about sustainable vs traditional textile production methods and the results of this equation impart a HECK OF A LOT of consequence for the planet at large (considerations like carbon footprint, deforestation, water and oxygen conservation).

Examples of ecologically sound textiles include bamboo (grows incredibly fast and is 100 percent biodegradable) and hemp (naturally pest resistant and requiring very little water to grow). Alongside these, there are a host of lesser-known ‘wonder fibres’ available and already in use across the world, such as lotus and stinging nettle. And, other alternatives that make use of excess and recyclable materials, like banana stems and even apple waste left over from juice production!

Getting behind the underwear underdogs

It’s a fact that ‘sweatshop labour’ is still one of the most predominant issues in the world when it comes to fair rights and conditions for workers across the globe (incorporating factors such as outsourcing and labour laws). Companies that are innovating their production processes are leading the way in ‘turning the tide’. One international example is ethical and fair trade retailer ‘Everlane’. Based in America, this clothing company sells basics made with high quality ‘Supima’ cotton and has a radical approach to transparency in their supply chain.

Everlane is an example of a company that guards against unfair practice by enacting compliance audits at each of their factories. They scrutinise factors such as fair wages, reasonable hours and environmental conditions. They also use resistant textiles meaning their clothing lasts far longer (nothing like those cheap synthetic things you have to throw in the bin after just one wear) to close the gap on wastage.

Seeing the back of the lingerie laments

There’s no need to lament a lack of choice when it comes to GUILT-FREE choices in lingerie. An array of companies are providing viable alternatives to consumers, both in men’s and ladies’ underwear. Not only are these ethical designs fashion forward, they will allow you to exercise your rights to access humanitarian initiatives and ecological innovations into the bargain. Now, that sounds like some ‘feel good’ shopping!

J Junior
JJunior is a journalist, stylist and blogger. He is a aesthetician by heart who often writes about Art, Fashion, decorating and DIY ideas. He loves sparking creativity and giving them ideas for their own spaces.

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