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Best Sustainable Underwear Brands to Help Yourself and the Environment

Many underwear brands are unsustainably and unethically made, however these five are sure to be better for you and the planet alike.

Unfortunately, chances are your closet has more than a few unsustainable garments of clothing. With the prevalence of the fast fashion industry nowadays, along with our society’s propensity for overconsumption, many of us have partaken in some form of unsustainability regarding our clothing.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to commit to sustainability, and what better place to start than with sustainable underwear brands?!

Fast fashion not only impacts the overproduction of clothes, it also impacts the quality of said clothing. There are often dangerous chemicals involved in the making of unsustainable products, therefore harming both the producer and user of them.

Nowhere is this more concerning than with underwear. By nature, underwear is likely the most sensitive clothing item for most of us to buy. It is important for it to be comfortable and safe, however unsustainably renders these goals impossible.

Because of this, we have selected three of the best sustainable underwear brands we believe are an essential for every woman’s wardrobe. These brands provide you with safety, comfortability, and style all in a sustainable package. Wearing these, you can rest assured that you’ll be treating your body and the planet with the kindness they deserve.

Let’s Talk Fast Fashion

A woman wearing new clothing items and holding shopping bags while standing on a mountain of trash.
Fast fashion is disastrous for the environment due to the industry’s encouragement of overbuying, only for the consumer to throw away these new products in a few months’ time. Image courtesy of Tamborasi.

First and foremost we must talk about fast fashion, including:

  • Why it started
  • Its impact on the environment
  • How it promotes unethical labor
  • And its impact on human health

Why Did Fast Fashion Become a Mainstream Thing?

The rise of the industrial revolution in the early 1900s partially gave way to the rise of the fast fashion industry. The machines and practices developed during this time period made it simpler for clothes to be made, therefore allowing these clothes to sell for less money.

Present-day, this business model has been exploited to the max, with fast fashion brands churning out billions of items every single year. With the rise of trends, the rapid pace in which these trends change, and the rise of social media/influencer culture, the problem has only continued to worsen.

Additionally, these fast-fashion brands target those most likely to be swayed by low-prices and trendy styles, such as high school and college students.

What Type of Impact Does Fast Fashion Have on the Environment?

With the billions of items produced every year in fast fashion, only one percent of that is recycled towards new clothing. Therefore, the rest of that clothing is predominantly getting discarded in landfills.

Because of this overconsumption and lack of recyclization, fast fashion makes up 10 percent of our global CO2 emissions.

Another concerning fact is the fast fashion’s industry’s large contribution towards global wastewater and microplastics, both of which severely harms our waterways.

How Does Fast Fashion Promote Unethical Labor?

Similar to its negative impact on the environment, the fast fashion industry is absolutely devastating towards the effort for ethical labor.

Because of the inexpensive price the industry sells its clothes at, workers are often not paid a fair wage. In fact, studies show that fewer than two percent of all fast fashion factory employees make a livable wage.

Additionally, fast fashion is a huge contributor to child labor, evidenced this past summer by the popular brand Shein. Tik Tok users posted videos in which they showed their Shein packages and garments. On these items, workers wrote out pleas for help. Much of the handwriting and messages appeared to come from children working in their factories.

How Does Fast Fashion Harm Human Health?

Studies show that incredibly dangerous chemicals, such as PFAS and lead, have been found in fast fashion garments.

This is harmful for both the producer and wearer of these clothes, as exposure to these toxic chemicals are linked to health problems like skin, respiratory, and internal organ conditions.

Furthermore, especially for children, lead poisoning can be incredibly detrimental to developmental processes and health.

Three Essential, Sustainable Underwear Brands

Three women posing in sustainable undergarments.
Shopping sustainably for underwear is a great first step towards living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Image courtesy of Green Is The New Black.

Now we know some of the many risks of fast fashion, so let’s shift gears towards combating those risks. One of the best ways to do so is by shopping as sustainably as possible. As underwear is the best place to start, let’s look at three sustainable underwear brands that are an absolute must-have!

Pact

The first sustainable underwear brand we’ll be looking at is Pact. Pact creates organic underwear that is shipped in paper packaging rather than plastic. Additionally, the brand is one-hundred percent carbon neutral as well as reducing water and energy usage by eighty-one and sixty-two percent respectively.

On top of that, Pact works with Fair Trade USA in order to ensure safe/fair working and salary conditions for their employees.

They have a wide underwear selection featuring pastel and muted tones, along with some prints. Pact is the perfect brand for you if you are in search of elegant and dainty underwear.

Two underwear sets, one that is pastel pink, and another that is a mix of pink, dark, and patterned underwear.
Pact has underwear that is decorative and sustainable. Image courtesy of Pact.

Tentree

The next brand, Tentree, is one of the most sustainable brands out there. Like Pact, they are also carbon neutral. In addition, Tentree utilizes recycling and resale methods in order to limit waste of their clothing.

They even use recycled waste in their clothing fabric as well as organic materials such as cotton and polyester. Alongside these sustainable methods, Tentree also provides their workers with an ethical environment.

In order to show their commitment towards the environment even further, they also offer a tree planting program in which their customers can register for. This works by using a monthly fee to plant a certain number of trees in order to balance out customer CO2 use.

Their underwear features more basic pieces in gray, black, and rose-goldish hues, all great options for those looking to keep it simple.

One light gray and one rose-gold underwear set.
These basic selections from Tentree are cute and chic-looking. Image courtesy of Tentree.

Proclaim

The third brand we will be looking at is called Proclaim. In order to practice sustainability to the fullest-degree, the brand uses all recyclable material for their packaging along with sustainable fabric in their clothing.

This sustainable fabric includes elements such as cupro, organic cotton/hemp, and recycled polyester.

Furthermore, in order to promote ethical processing, all their products are produced in Los Angeles, California in which they strictly comply with the fair labor standards set by the city.

Proclaim focuses on producing nude underwear to match all different skin tones and is very basic and flattering. Someone looking for basic and complementary underwear is sure to love Proclaim.

Four different pairs of lighter and darker nude-colored underwear.
These basic nude-colored underwear options are a signature look of the brand Proclaim. Image courtesy of Proclaim.

What Else You Can Do to Improve Your Own Sustainability

Along with shopping underwear from this list, there are plenty of other sustainable brands out there for a wide variety of items. For some other ways to shop sustainably, look for:

Because shopping sustainably can be extremely expensive, it is important to recognize that you can only do the best you can do. If you can’t always shop sustainably because of price-reasons, that’s okay. Just do so when you are able.

Some other things you can do to improve your own sustainably include:

  • Donating clothes to reduce waste
  • Handing clothes down to younger siblings
  • Take advantage of clothing brands that offer to buy clothes back in order to recycle the fabric
  • Stay away from notoriously-bad fast fashion brands such as Shein

All in all, there are simple steps we can all take to live more sustainably - And, hopefully along the way, we can all make a positive difference in the planet.

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Elyse Endres

Elyse is a marketer, writer, and lover of dogs, dance, and reading. She resides in Columbus, Ohio.
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