Here at Suitcase Rummage HQ, we’re constantly trying to improve our eco footprint and consider the changes we can make in our daily life. Although we’re a small team, we do our best to make a difference and share our learnings with (almost) anyone we can! Lately, we’ve been having lots of conversations about underwear. Yep! Knickers, undies, socks, jocks. We’ve found it’s the hardest garment to find ethically, sustainably made and affordable – and, as much as we’re down with our wardrobes and homes filled with second hand and recycled items, it’s a little bit different when it comes to underwear. Or, is it?! Well, here are our thoughts on the matter!
Secondhand and Recycled.
It’s actually quite difficult to find second hand underwear for sale, due to obvious health and hygiene reasons. There are some op-shops who accept and sell second hand bra’s and some who have donated excess or unsold sale stock (so, brand new – likely from a factory outlet or overproduction). If the bra fits, wear it! Bra shopping isn’t the easiest when all sizes and shapes are available, let alone a random selection. So, we hear ya sisters. This ain’t an easy option! But, we can’t completely rule it out and it is one of the most eco options – to use and re use garments that are already in existence. Successful second hand finds from Suitcase Rummage have included lululemon sports bras and gorman socks – so it is worth digging around in those suitcases!
Ethical and Sustainable.
Brisbane based and made NICO underwear are definitely leaders in this space. They’ve been around for years, make good quality products with sustainably sourced fabrics and have transparent production lines. NICO provide a great basics range and also now make socks! We totally recommend their sock pack. We love that NICO started as a small business, with one pioneering woman wanting to make change.
Men and Women rejoice with Mighty Good Undies. This team pride themselves on providing basics, because they don’t change with style trends, making them (usually) stick around in your drawers for longer. Mighty Good Undies use organic and fair trade cotton and are incredibly transparent with their production process. Big thumbs up!
HARA the label have swoon worthy earthly coloured underwear. Using organic bamboo, cotton and natural dyes and photoshoots of luscious green grass, horses and empowered women! They also do a bunch of advocacy work, really showcase diversity and have an environmental justice program. They are based in the US though, so shipping costs (and travel time) make them a little less appealing. However, we have Vege Threads which is kind of our Australian equivalent, making them more local and cutting down on unsustainable shipping miles. Vege Threads are still growing into their intimates range, but they do a delightful range of eco and organic yoga wear, socks and swimwear as well.
What about keeping our toes cosy, you ask? Well, there’s a relatively new kid on the block – Conscious Step. These socks are fair trade and made in India, made with certified organic cotton and have transparent processes. It’s not easy getting these certifications and we believe any company or business taking the effort to do it, shows their commitment to the cause. For the rest of your legs, Swedish Stockings are leaders in the field. A forerunner in sustainably produced nylon stockings, Swedish Stockings produce beautiful pantyhose from recycled yarn! Their factories employ sustainable practises including the use of environmentally friendly dyes, post-dyeing water treatment and the use of solar power for much of the energy needed in the manufacturing process. While they are based overseas, there are a bunch of Australian stockists!
There are certainly other brands out there worth checking out. But, we do recommend spending the time to read through the companies values and about page. The amount of green washing that happens these days is outrageous! A lot of brands say loud and proud that their products are ‘eco’ and they have ‘eco values’, but they don’t back it up with any process. If you have other means of procuring ethical and sustainable underwear that we haven’t mentioned, please do let us know! We honestly would LOVE to learn about it!
Image credit: Love Lifestyle Blog, NICO Underwear