From sexy lace to sensible cotton and the comfiest of organic PJs these brands offer gorgeous, sustainable intimates for every need. And most important: you can ditch the polyester forever.
Nothing is quite as intimate as our relationship with our intimates. They support us, make us feel sexy, and are the foundation of any killer outfit. It might come as a surprise to you though that the undergarments that we hold so dear are usually made out of polyester—a plastic byproduct. How could something that so closely touches our skin be so unsustainable and bad for the planet?
What’s wrong with polyester?
The problems with polyester run the gamut. They’re sourced from fossil fuels, contributing to climate change by the release of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases. This non-biodegradable material requires more than 70 billion barrels of oil every year to satisfy the global demand.
Compared to cotton, the poster fabric for natural and sustainable material (although cotton has many of its own issues, especially organic cotton) polyester production requires twice as much energy. And unlike cotton, which can be dyed with low-impact and natural dyes, polyester requires more toxic chemical dyes that have been linked to human health issues as well as damage to waterways. The fashion industry is a leading producer of wastewater.
Polyester’s problems are further amplified by its contributions to the microplastic problem afflicting the world’s oceans. Just one polyester garment can shed up to 2,000 microplastic fibers with each wash. These microplastics pollute the oceans, marine life, and water supply.
Like plastic, polyester also doesn’t break down easily, meaning most polyester garments will outlive their wearers and contribute to toxic leachate in landfills.
Luckily, with the emerging knowledge of the fashion industry’s flaws, there are a growing number of brands creating better garments, including lingerie. Here are some of our favorites.
11 sustainable lingerie and sleepwear brands
Cosabella is one of the premier luxury lingerie brands, making intimates in Italy since 1983. All pieces are handmade in family-run workshops by local artisans using Renaissance-era techniques for bralettes, boyshorts, and sleep sets, which are crafted from sustainable lace, mesh, and satins. Furthermore, the company only uses all-natural dyes and water sourced directly from the Alps.
Anekdot creates beautiful and delicate lingerie with deadstock materials and vintage trimmings. The Berlin-based brand uses local and ethical production across Germany and Poland, which means a shorter supply chain and increased transparency. Additionally, many of the items are made to order to avoid overproduction.
Looking for simple but gorgeous intimates? Look no further than Baserange. Made exclusively from natural textiles, like organic cotton and linen, never polyester, the brand is handcrafted in the company’s Turkey factory to ensure product quality and good working conditions for employees.
4. Botanica Workshop
U.S.-based luxury lingerie brand Botanica Workshop uses sustainably sourced textiles such as organic cotton and recycled nylon to craft beautiful pieces. All materials are naturally dyed and the domestic factory uses eco-friendly operation policies. We love the sporty yet sexy vibe of their separates and absolutely adore this organic cotton slip dress.
5. Brook There
Brook There is known for creating minimal and comfy bras and sleepwear. All of the brand’s pieces are crafted using soft organic cotton and they’ll surely become a new favorite. The delicate fabric is soft on the skin so you’ll barely remember it’s there.
6. Fruity Booty
The London-based brand makes the ultimate feel-good lingerie with ethical and sustainable practices across the board. Many of the textiles used are surplus materials saved from the landfill. The company also uses 100 percent recyclable packaging. We love their corset-esque tops that can be worn as both underwear and outerwear.
Made in the Garment District of NYC, Jonesy leads the way in transparency. Every step of production and supply chain is laid out on the brand’s website so consumers know exactly what they are buying. The Brooklyn studio/ fulfillment center is located just 6 miles away from the factory, which allows a reduction in shipment wastes and emissions. We love their bold colors, like their Sporty Bralette in Dragonfruit.
Looking for classic and comfy basics? Knickey has the organic cotton undergarments for you. Not only are the styles perfect for everyday life, from under t-shirts to dresses, but they are also so comfy you won’t dream of taking them off. As part of their quest for circularity, you can also send in your old pieces to be recycled.
If you are looking for a sustainable lacey option, head to Naja. The delicate lace intimates are gorgeous and sexy. On top of using recycled PET fabrics, the company also uses eco-friendly printing and dyeing processes to reduce its footprint. All items are made by hand and the product is equipped with a “Meet the Maker” section to highlight their team.
Parade makes something for everyone. Not only is this sustainable brand extremely size-inclusive, but it also offers its bras and panties in numerous cuts and colors. The separates are extremely comfy and most are from recycled materials.
SKIN has some of the softest and cutest loungewear around. The neutral colors and organic fabrics are perfect for a day in. Additionally, the company works with small-scale and family-owned factories in Peru where the utmost care is taken in creating products made with natural fabrics and ethical manufacturing.
Related: How to Go Braless: Plus the 3 Best Sustainable Bras When You Just Can’t