Say goodbye to cheaply made, synthetic underwear and hello to lush, quality constructed intimates made from natural fibres. Hell. Yes.
These brands know the ins and outs of their supply chain intimately, from sourcing sustainably produced and organic cotton, to environmentally friendly packaging. And they’ve taken the care to ensure that the goods are benefiting both you and their makers.
These are the top brands for Australia’s best ethically made underwear.
1. Jackfruit the Label
Jackfruit the Label makes ethical underwear in minimal styles with comfort in mind. The Brisbane-based brand uses Lenzing’s Tencel™ Modal for its range of lush undergarments, making the fabric breathable and buttery soft. Jackfruit the Label’s underwear is available in an inclusive size range from size 6 -26 and is from made to order in small batches in Australia with care – certified by Ethical Clothing Australia. The range includes briefs in midi, high and super high waist, a g-string and a few styles of wire-free bralette that are surprisingly supportive! Oh, and they’re also 100% vegan and PETA-Approved.
2. Eco Intimates
This Aussie brand creates little pieces of luxury for your underwear drawer. Every piece is ethically handmade by skilled garment makers in Australia and Bali, Indonesia using the highest quality eco textiles. Eco Intimates aims to reduce its environmental impact by keeping production small and using other brands’ waste where they can – like their lace and fabric trims which are made from various brands’ offcuts sourced from remnant suppliers. The styles are flattering and comfortable – we call that a win!
3. LÉ BUNS
LÉ BUNS commitment to organic cotton and regenerated nylon is a win for the environment and a win for the wearer. That’s right, natural, organic fibres aren’t just friendly on the skin, but they break down easily when they’re returned to landfill. Organic cotton also eliminates the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms that are emitted by the conventional cotton trade. The collection includes high-waisted briefs and g strings, all edging on the cheeky side. That thong thong thong thong thong.
4. Nico Underwear
Brisbane-based brand Nico Underwear is committed to ethical production and environmental sustainability. The brand’s underwear, socks and bras are made from recycled and organic cotton and nylon, as well as Lenzing Model – a high-quality, botanic fibre made from sustainably sourced beechwood trees. The result is an incredibly soft and comfortable product that’s good for the environment. Nico values transparency and has extensive information about its manufacturing process and where its products are made on its website. Shop for midi, high waist and super high waist briefs, g-strings and other quality basics.
5. The Great Undressed
This Sydney-based brand makes its no-frills undergarments from ethically sourced and certified organic Japanese cotton. The Great Undressed says its garments are made with integrity and consideration that will stand the test of time. The sustainable underwear range includes bikini cut, cheeky, high g, high boy and euro undies plus bralettes. It’s all ethically designed and made in Sydney.
Also Sydney-based is the sustainable basics brand Boody – bringing super soft bamboo underwear to the mix. Their bamboo is grown sustainably with no pesticides, no insecticides, and no fertilisers, and without any artificial irrigation. Boody says it’s committed to maintaining a responsible and transparent process every step of its process – from the bamboo crops that yield the viscose yarn to the delivery of Boody into your hands. The brand is certified by a number of industry groups for ethical and sustainable production. If it’s good enough for Jane Goodall, it’s good enough for us.
7. The Very Good Bra
The world’s first zero-waste bra is so clean that you can bury it in the garden when you’re finished with it. It’s made using Lenzing’s Tencel (from sustainably farmed Eucalyptus trees) which takes minimal water to produce and manufacture and is extremely soft to touch. The final product is ethically made in a family-run factory in China and is without toxins and without underwire. It’s a no-frills undergarment but it’s a very, very good bra! There is now a ‘very good’ bra, ‘very good’ briefs, and sleepwear too.
8. Lela Lingerie
Sydney-based brand Lela Lingerie makes timeless classics for your underwear drawer. The brand focuses on creating functional and flattering underwear, aiming to be the first pieces you reach for in the morning. The sustainable underwear is a range of mid-rise and high-waisted underwear in feminine colours made from 95% GOTS certified organic cotton. Bonus: It’s all ethically made in Sydney.
9. Mighty Good Basics
Mighty Good Basics is an Australian brand with its pieces designed and shipped from its office in Sydney. These garments – men’s and women’s sustainable underwear in various cuts – are made by a small-scale, ethical factory in India. When choosing fabrics for the range, the brand looks for low impact, sustainable fibres – with the current range being made exclusively from GOTS certified organic cotton and a small amount of elastane. The brand’s ultimate mission? To create the world’s most ethical underwear.
Powerpants wants to create “the world’s most powerful undies,” and is working towards that mission by ensuring its garments are ethically made from environmentally sustainable fabrics and giving back to those in need. Every pair of Powerpants makes a difference with a $1 donation made to support female survivors of violence in PNG. The brand says its Powerpants empower the “sistas who make them, the sistas who wear them, and the sistas who benefit from the proceeds.”
If you’re looking for soft and comfy underwear that gives back, Underwear for Humanity has you covered. The brand’s underwear is made from Tencel – a eucalyptus-based fibre which is sustainably harvested and processed. The brand works with a number of manufacturers in China which are BSCI certified and SEDEX approved. They use OEKO-TEX certified safe dyes (safe to handle, safe to wear) and say that that their manufacturers pay workers above the living wage in those regions. Underwear for Humanity says it priorities people over profit, donating a pair of underwear to women in need every time a pair is sold. Shop for basics plus period undies and maternity bras.
12. Vege Threads
Creator of ethically made and environmentally friendly basics, Vege Threads has launched an ethical and sustainable underwear collection. The intimates range includes a bralette and underwear in a high waist, full cut brief, made from a modal/lycra blend that’s knitted in Melbourne. The undies are dyed with ACO (Australian Certifed Organic) dyes and made in South Australia, with production certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.
Photos by Tane Meiring.
Love comfy jocks that don’t get stuck up your butt? This is your brand. Thunderpants’ garments are ethically made in New Zealand from organic and Fairtrade cotton, in the brand’s classic full-brief style. But the prints are the fun part – with everything from the original flower power, to bananas, mushrooms, rockets and whales. The brand also makes a range of other undergarments for men, women and children.
EMREN THE LABEL is an Australian owned and made period underwear brand by two sisters in Melbourne. The brand seeks to use Australian materials and support local businesses to create reusable period products that are as Aussie as possible. Made in Melbourne with cotton that is grown, milled and dyed without leaving the East Coast helps EMREN to be a transparent and responsible business. EMREN works directly with its maker to produce small batches of its product to ensure that production is ethical, fair and sustainable.