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ethical underwear

Best Ethical and Sustainable Underwear Brands [2021 Guide]

Sustainable underwear is underwear that is made using natural materials and organic fibres that biodegrade faster and use eco-friendly production processes. Brands often engage with social initiatives such as Fair Trade clothing, ethical workplaces, recycling, sharing, and donating.

When I went on a trip as a child, and still now as an adult, my mom always reminded me to pack an extra pair of underwear in my carry-on, just in case something happened to my luggage. Her advice has saved me multiple times from having to pull the, wear your underwear inside-out, trick. If you are a seasoned traveler or aspiring to be, then let me advise you to pack an extra pair of undies for the road, and make them a sustainable one! 


What Makes Your Underwear Sustainable?

Our undergarments can be easily overlooked and a lot of times we wear the same ones for years, which yes, technically is an eco-friendly option, but when it’s time to renew, keep ethical clothing brands in mind! Many of our daily garments can be donated to second-hand stores or re-sold when we are done using them, underwear though, that’s another story. When you purchase a pair of sustainable panties or boxers you can be sure that they are either made of natural fibers, meaning they will biodegrade faster, or you are purchasing from a brand that provides recycling services. This kind of recycling breaks down the fibers and turns them into something new. 

What Eco-Friendly Fabrics Make Sustainable Underwear?

Intimates are our first layer of clothing, they sit the closest to our skin and we wear them all day (and sometimes all night). Many of us never think about the chemical process and synthetic material that most underwear is made of, a process that can be extremely harmful to our bodies. So when looking at ethically made undergarments and sustainable fabrics, it’s all about who they are made by, what they are made of, and how they were made! You know it’s good stuff when the materials used are natural and organic fibers. Many brands are certified by OEKO-TEX, meaning there are no harmful chemicals used in the fabrics so they are safe to wear, especially so close to your most precious parts.

We all have different body shapes and personal preferences when it comes to the type of underwear we wear. Here are the best sustainable underwear brands that make ethical products for every body type. Read on to find the best brands offering quality, organic, eco-friendly, and sustainable undergarments, from bras to panties, and boxers to briefs.

Knickey

Best sustainable underwear brand for comfortable women's underwear

Best For: Comfortable every-day women’s underwear
Ethics: Uses organic cotton and recycled synthetic materials, OEKO-TEX certified production process, and supports workers’ rights as well as production transparency.
Size Range: XXS – XXXL
Materials: organic cotton, GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified non-toxic material processes, recycled nylon, elastane 

Knickey has a sweet and simple core collection of organic cotton-based sustainable underwear. With a wide range of sizes and nude colors, these lightweight and breathable pieces will fit just right, under anyone’s wardrobe. Knickey will also recycle your old underwear, so it doesn’t end up in the landfill. Just send them any of your old used undies (even other brands and/or men’s and children’s) and they use the fabric for things like housing insulation and carpet padding. Plus, you’ll get a free pair of panties in your next order. 

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Etiko

Best For: Men’s and women’s ethical underwear basics
Ethics: Transparency of production process (they even tell you the addresses of all their farms and factories on their website, so you can check them out yourself if you’d like), Fair Trade certified, organic materials, and farming processes.
Size Range: Women’s: 6 – 20 Men’s: S – XXL
Materials: organic cotton and elastane

If you are someone who prefers full coverage when it comes to your underwear then Etiko is the shop for you. They have a collection of classic cuts for men and women made from organic cotton. No harsh chemicals or dyes are used in their production processes making these pieces not only comfortable, but safe to wear. As a company Etiko works toward creating a mark in the sustainable fashion community by also producing an awesome sustainable shoe line!


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Made Trade

Best For: A marketplace with multiple sustainable underwear brands for both men and women
Ethics:
climate-neutral certified, Fair Trade and sustainable products, made in the USA, BIPOC + women-owned, vegan
Size Range:
XS – 2XL
Materials:
Organic cotton, bamboo-based rayon, elastane 

Made Trade is an online marketplace highlighting multiple brands that support an array of eco-conscious and ethical practices. Here you will find many options, from funky bold prints and patterns to classic bralette and boxers. Each brand features a different sustainable material such as organic cotton for lightweight breathability or bamboo-based rayon which gives that stretchy spandex feel and shape but without the synthetic base. 


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Girlfriend Collective

Best For: Inclusive sizing and nude colors as well as a great pair of work-out underwear and bras
Ethics: Women-owned and family-run, 100% carbon neutral, 1% of every purchase donated to environmental non-profit, recycled materials, Fair Trade certified, and extreme transparency. 

Size Range: XXS – 6XL
Materials: recycled plastic bottles (RPET), spandex


Smooth to the touch and seamless Girlfriend Collective has perfected the up-cycled panty. Using a similar production process to their amazing athletic wear (in which they make their spandex type material out of recycled plastic bottles) the wide range of cuts and sizes fill a gap in the underwear industry, making it accessible to all body types. They also have a recycling program where they break down old Girlfriend Collective items you are done with and create new ones!


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Kotn

Best For: Comfort underwear and men’s boxers
Ethics: OEKO-TEX certified fabrics, ethically produced, organic cotton, fair-wage, builds schools in Egypt, supports literacy programs, B-Corp
Size Range: XS – XXL
Materials: Egyptian cotton and spandex

You may know them from our list of Sustainable Clothing Brands, Kotn not only provides us with high-end outerwear, but has upped their game of underwear as well. Using lightweight and ultra-breathable Egyptian cotton, these boxers, panties, and bras give a seamless look while also feeling like loungewear and won’t break the bank. 

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Warp + Weft

Best For: Plus size undies and a seamless look
Ethics: Fair wage, eco-friendly factory, organic and sustainable materials, natural dyes
Size Range: Women’s: 1X – 3X Men’s: S – XL
Materials: Organic cotton, modal, spandex

Known for their inclusive sizing and sustainable denim, Warp + Weft has created a pair of full-coverage sustainable underwear made specifically to wear under jeans. They are breathable and seamless, as well as come in a wide range of skin tone colors. Their men’s boxer briefs are also made to fit comfortably under jeans.  Ideal staple underwear for a staple wardrobe item. 

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Armed Angels

Best For: Women’s bralettes and men’s boxers
Ethics: Circular production processes, supports political policies that work on climate impact, organic and eco-friendly materials, supporting worker’s rights and production transparency.
Size Range: XS – XL
Materials: TENCEL™ modal, elastane 


Have you ever worn underwear made from wood? Armed Angels has created an oh so soft to the touch and flexible line of bras, panties, and boxers with TENCEL, a sustainable material produced in a closed loop system using wood pulp! It is biodegradable and the process to make it has a low impact on the planet. Armed Angels’ basic and practical underwear options pair perfectly with their other sustainable clothing line. 


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Pact

Best For: Women’s and men’s sustainable underwear multi-packs
Ethics: Organic cotton, Fair Trade employment
Size Range: XS – 2XL
Materials: Organic cotton and elastane

If you are in need of a total underwear refresh, it’s time you take a look into Pact’s packs! Their organic cotton underwear comes in classic cuts and colors which you can purchase individually as well as in a pack of 4. These are a great staple piece for your every-day eco underwear needs. 


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Organic Basics

Best For: Women’s full coverage bras and men’s boxer briefs
Ethics: Fair-wage factories, sustainable materials, production transparency
Size Range: XS – XL
Materials:
Organic cotton, TENCEL™, elastane, SilverTech™

 Organic Basics has really hit the mark when it comes to sustainable underwear, for both women and men there are a wide range of options when it comes to coverage and color. They also have an amazing line of boxers, panties, and bras that use SilverTech™ which blends silver (an antimicrobial) with their organic cotton to create soft to the touch fabric that prevents odor and sweating. This technology makes your underwear last longer so it’s less likely to end up in the trash after just a few wears.  

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Honorable mention:
Although the material list on these brand’s underwear lines are not quite up to par with our most sustainable options (because of their use of synthetic materials), they are working hard to continually update their production methods and fibers to support eco-friendly fashion.


Stella McCartney

Best sustainable underwear brand for lacey lingerie


Best For: Lacy lingerie and sexy bodysuits
Ethics: Organic and recycled materials, invests in circular production processes, protects workers’ rights and fair wages, production transparency
Size Range: S – L
Materials: Polyamide, elastane 

Stella McCartney has been known for her bold fashion design and intense dedication to protecting our earth. If you are looking for sexy lingerie that you know has been made with socially ethical practices then check out their line of bralettes, panties, and bodysuits. They are bold pieces that could actually be worn as outerwear for an edgy look as well. 

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Araks

best ethical underwear brand for feminine lingerie

Best For: Sweet feminine and sustainable lingerie
Ethics: Strive towards zero-waste production, closed loop production processes, OEKO-TEX certified fabrics
Size Range: XS – XL
Materials: Polyamide, elastane, organic and recycled cotton

With fine details and delicate colors, Araks has created a new way for lingerie. Their Organic Cotton line has an ultra feminine touch while still serving comfort and wearability. Although not all of their lingerie is made from eco-friendly materials, they are all certified non-toxic making them safer for your body and the planet.

Hey reader! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using any of these links, we’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Hidden Lemur is committed to promoting sustainable travel, and we only partner with brands that we believe contribute positively to that cause.

Hillary Balmforth

Hillary Balmforth

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