Like a perfectly cut pair of black trousers, a pristine white shirt or a pair of black ballet pumps, knickers are an all-season essential that most women take for granted. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that despite the pernicious effect of cotton cultivation, the majority of knickers go straight from linen draw to landfill when the elastic starts to go. So what can you do about it? Buy organic? Make your own? Recycle the old ones? Well, all three actually.
Starting with organic, there’s a whole host of companies making fabulous organic lingerie, some more expensively than others. Top of the list is Pants to Poverty, which makes fair-trade, organic cotton knickers in western India. Making use of the tropical local conditions, Pants to Poverty’s underwear doesn’t put a strain on local water resources and as everything is pesticide-free, doesn’t pollute them either. Sporty underwear giant, Sloggi, has also started making organic cotton smalls, although don’t expect too much in the way of frills; Sloggi’s four-packs, £21, are seriously utilitarian. For something a little prettier, check out Emiliana.
Designer Emma Kidd previously worked at Collette Dinnigan, Pussy Glamore and Beach Bunny Swimwear but was never happy with the brands’ social, ethical and environmental standards. The result is Emiliana, a range made entirely from upcycled fabrics in a host of jewel bright, ultra-pretty colours. There’s even lace involved, and should you wish to try your hand at knicker making, Emiliana sells DIY pants kits, £13.95, which come complete with pre-cut fabric, lace, ribbon and thread. That’s organic and DIY covered, so recycled? You’ve got two options here. One is to use washed-out grundies for cleaning rags, the other is to put them somewhere no-one will see them and turn them into cotton insulation. Either way, it beats landfill hands down.
To find out more or to order Emiliana underwear, email: email@example.com
Good clean fun
It began as a student project: environmentally-friendly underwear with a message. But Green Knickers has taken off - to the delight of its founders. Matilda Lee reports
Pants exposed - know what's in your knickers?
More than pretty knickers has one aim: to change the textiles industry for the better!
Green to a Tee
Great quality basics plus an emphasis on Fairtrade and organic fabric have made eco-label Liv one to take note of
Top 10…Organic Denim
Cotton accounts for 25 percent of the world’s agrochemical use, so isn’t it time you switched to organic denim? Ruth Styles rounds up some of the best green jeans around
Ada Zanditon: London Fashion Week's greenest rising star
One of London Fashion Week’s hottest new talents, eco-designer Ada Zanditon is one to watch, says Ruth Styles