“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
Have you ever hit a stumbling block when striving for something you believe in? A setback when you don’t meet your own personal values and goals? That is how I feel as the founder of Underwear for Humanity right now.
Many of you requested a lace range from us. Given that standard lace underwear is generally made in a way that is unsustainable and not helping the community or planet, we thought, let’s do it! The condition was that it all had to be made from recycled content, and the colours needed to match our broader range for longevity and maximum use.
We spent months sourcing a lace that was recycled to do a bralette and brief to go with our recycled elastic and silicon non-toxic branding. We also developed our own custom hook and eye clasp for the back that is made from recycled polyester (old water bottles). Every single detail was covered.
After a lot of back and forth we really love what we developed.
For a little business like ours to be able to dictate materials is hard! Very, very hard, particularly because we don’t meet minimum order quantities.
We found a lace supplier that was willing to work with recycled material. They had another order from the USA which we were able to tag onto to get around minimum order quantities, and we had to confirm within 2 days to meet the production cut off. We went for it and we loved the design.
Fast forward 10 months, we are excitedly preparing to launch and have been inspecting the certifications and testing for verification. We were shocked to discover that the lace used is made of only 30% recycled material!!
I am personally very disappointed in this. Integrity, innovation and deep care goes into every single item we sell, and we only exist to create good, with no financial benefit, so I was really sad.
I cannot tell you the lengths we go to upcycle waste material and make it beautiful. We were told that the product was made from 100% recycled content. I think the USA customer must have changed their design, and the mill just didn’t tell us because we were the small tag on order. This will be the first bit of nylon we have used that is virgin material, which to me it is failure for our brand promise, and I want you to know I take it very seriously.
The end product has 100% recycled elastic (nylon and elastane), 30% recycled lace and 30% recycled metal hardware.
I have to accept that whilst I have high, uncompromising ideals for Underwear for Humanity, sometimes it can fall over. And the best outcome now is maximum use for longevity and the love of wearing something beautiful.
If you can relate to this story, I hope you’ll consider purchasing this product, and as you wear it maybe think about your goals to make a positive impact on this world, and how sometimes we can get knocked down, but we will always get back up again.
I hope you love it and completely wear it out whilst conquering your dreams (then send back for recycling).
I would like to say something like this will never happen again, but unfortunately, I know that isn’t realistic. Even with the best intentions things still go wrong, and some of the things we are doing we are inventing completely new again. Our industry is far behind what it touts, and this is new material and new grounds for change.
I promise to keep pushing the industry to new standards for sustainable materials,
Kelly (Founder of UH)