I don’t know about you, but finding the right eco-friendly underwear has been a journey for me. First, underwear is the one category of clothing that I wear and wash the most often. And no matter how sustainable I am, there is no way I’m going to buy secondhand underwear like I do with furniture, shoes, and clothing. Which means I have to regularly buy new underwear, and it’s surprisingly hard to find great eco-friendly options. Some years ago, I ordered a set of new underwear from PACT, the most well-marketed organic cotton underwear brand out there, and the experience left me with such bitter aftertaste. The underwear itself is well-made and comfortable, but the it came in poly bag after unnecessary poly bag. When I reached out to the brand to ask about reducing their plastic footprint, the rep very rudely told me that this was the only way they would ever ship their items from China. I was so disillusioned with this interaction that I vowed to never buy from the company again.
Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering an organic eco-friendly underwear company that exceeds my expectations about comfort and ethical practices. WAMA makes underwear out of organic hemp material, grown in small family-owned farms in China. It promotes good working conditions for their suppliers and workers, and is PETA-certified vegan. The textiles are dyed in Oeko-Tex Certified facilities that use non-toxic dyes.
Hemp has many advantages over cotton. Conventional cotton is famously water-intensive, using 20,000 L of freshwater to produce 1 kg of fiber. Organic cotton uses about half that much. Hemp uses just 500 L of freshwater—roughly 1/20 of the usage of organic cotton. It’s also naturally pest-resistant and high-yield. Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial. WAMA underwear is 53% hemp, 44% organic cotton, and 3% spandex, just FYI.
Now, the part that really wowed me. My underwear arrived in a simple recycled paper bag with no additional poly bags inside. (I’ve only seen such level of packaging sustainability from one other brand, boyish jeans, which also ships their clothing in recycled paper mailers and a little scented tissue paper.) There were NO hangtags or other unnecessary marketing accessories that you have to wade through for no reason. Just one clean, simple underwear, its composition and care printed on the inside as opposed to in a care label that you have to cut off before wearing, anyway. WAMA isn’t cheap—at $24 per pair, it costs as much as four or five Victoria’s Secret panties cost, if memory serves. But the fact is, products cost money to create conscientiously. The practices that allow us to have $5 panties incur shocking damage to the planet and to workers. Plus, WAMA ships for free to the U.S.
I got the women’s bikini in medium, and it’s comfortable and flattering—the ideal weekday underwear for getting stuff done. They also offer men’s underwear and women’s bras. Go ahead and do that underwear refresh you’ve been thinking about. You know you want to.
Have you found your ideal eco-friendly underwear?
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